Results tagged ‘ MLB ’

Gary Vanden Berg Selected to MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame

The Major League Baseball groundskeepers are set to host their annual meeting in Los Angeles this weekend.  Prior to the meetings, the late Gary Vanden Berg was selected as the latest inductee into the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame.  He will join previous inductees Emil Bossard (Indians), George Toma (Royals), Joe Mooney (Red Sox), Dick Ericson (Twins), Harry Gill (Brewers), Pete Flynn (Mets) and Pat Santarone (Orioles). Vanden Berg will be inducted this Sunday, January 24, at the DoubleTree in downtown Los Angeles.

Vanden Berg was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization for more than 30 years.  Following a year-long battle with cancer, he passed away on October 10, 2011.  Gary was well respected for the work he did, but more importantly for the person that he was.  It was unanimous that, among his peers, the trophy for the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame was named in his honor upon its inception in 2011.

The late Gary Vanden Berg has been elected into the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame. Photo by Tom Lynn

The late Gary Vanden Berg has been elected into the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame.
Photo by Tom Lynn

“Gary set a standard that we all admire to this day, not just in his profession but in his personal relationships, and we are thrilled to hear that he is receiving such a high honor from his peers,” said Bob Quinn, Brewers Executive Vice President – Finance and Administration. “His care for the grounds at County Stadium and Miller Park in often challenging conditions was always at the top of the class. He was also a great friend to everyone in the organization, and a mentor to many who have now become established in the industry.”

Vanden Berg began his career in sports turf management when he joined the Milwaukee Brewers Grounds Department in 1981 as an assistant to the legendary Harry Gill, who is recognized as one of the founders and driving force behind the formation of the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). Vanden Berg served as Gill’s assistant until his passing in the fall of 1990, setting in motion his 21 years as the head groundskeeper for the Brewers.  Prior to his work in Milwaukee, Vanden Berg got his start in the turf grass industry by working on golf courses where he grew up in Oakfield, Wisconsin.

In his time as an assistant and head groundskeeper at County Stadium, Vanden Berg not only had to produce a quality field for the game of baseball, but also for football.  The Green Bay Packers played select home games at County Stadium through 1994.  In addition to Brewers and Packers games, the field endured other events including concerts, measurable snowfall during the season, and tractor pulls, to name a few.

Vanden Berg at County Stadium

Vanden Berg at County Stadium with Harry Gill.

When the Brewers moved from County Stadium to Miller Park, Vanden Berg made the move with the team, tackling the challenge of managing grass in a retractable roof stadium and its imposing shade patterns.  Vanden Berg prepared the Miller Park field for numerous events, most notably the 2002 All-Star Game and the Brewers’ playoff appearances in 2008.

Vanden Berg will forever be remembered for the internship program that he established in Milwaukee for college students aspiring to become sports turf managers.  Students from all over the nation sent their resumes in, hoping to get a spot on the Brewers Grounds Staff every year due to the great experience they were able to receive under Vanden Berg.  The national STMA recognized the importance of his internship program, and established the Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant for students seeking internships that may not have otherwise been able to afford it.

To be considered for induction to the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame, a person must have ceased employment in the profession for at least five years, and have made a significant contribution to groundskeeping and/or the sports turf industry at the Major League level. An individual’s impact on the community is also considered.  Nominees are submitted to the MLB Groundskeepers Association for a vote. Each team has one vote; a nominee must receive must receive 75% of the vote of all active association members.

Gary Vanden Berg (center) with Michael Boettcher (right) in 2010.

Gary Vanden Berg (center) with Michael Boettcher (right) in 2010.

Current Brewers Director of Grounds Michael Boettcher, along with David Mellor, Head Groundskeeper of the Boston Red Sox, recently took part in a Diamond Davincis podcast, a podcast dedicated to the artistry and science of sports field management, where they spoke about Vanden Berg’s induction into the Hall of Fame. You can take a listen, here.

 

MLB and USA Baseball Launch “Play Ball” Initiative Focusing on Youth Baseball

Last week, Major League Baseball and USA Baseball announced the launch of “PLAY BALL,” a significant new initiative that will encourage widespread participation in all forms of baseball activities among all age groups, especially youth.

The new program highlights the many ways baseball can be played, including outside of the traditionally-organized baseball leagues and tournaments, ranging from playing catch, stickball and Wiffle ball to participating in skills competitions like “Pitch, Hit & Run.” The initiative also will provide players, parents and coaches with the information and resources to help with proper play and instruction.

PlayBall.org serves as the initiative’s online home and is accessible via MLB.com, USABaseball.com and other partner websites. Coaching tips and parent resources will be prominent components of the site. PlayBall.org also gives parents, coaches and kids information on how to participate in Play Ball activities, links to youth-related news and events, and searchable maps to help find local community leagues. Health and safety information, including on MLB’s Pitch Smart and Play Sun Smart programs, also will be available.

Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “Play Ball is our largest effort to grow baseball and softball at the grassroots level, particularly among kids.  The program will emphasize not only organized baseball and softball activity, but also the many variations of the game that do not require 18 players, umpires or a diamond.  We are looking forward to working with USA Baseball and our partner organizations to encourage participation in the many ways to enjoy the National Pastime and to strengthen our support of traditional styles of play.”

USA Baseball executive director/CEO Paul V. Seiler said: “The launch of Play Ball is a landmark occasion for our sport. With the support of Major League Baseball, we are thrilled to take a more active role in the proliferation of our game and offer innovative resources to our national member organizations and their constituents. While the launch of Play Ball is the culmination of a lot of hard work, today represents the beginning of our partnership with MLB to grow the game at the grassroots level.”

Additionally, MLB and USA Baseball are launching the Play Ball Mobile Coaching App, a free tool for coaches at every level that is currently available for download via Google Play and will be coming soon to the Apple App Store.  Coaches can access the App as guests, but by logging on with Play Ball credentials, users can create customized practice plans, organize team data, utilize Pitch Smart recommendations and more. The Play Ball Drills Library outlines information for hundreds of drills, along with important information such as difficulty level, recommended duration, diagrams and videos for each exercise.

One of the main features of PlayBall.org is “Baseball Near You,” a database of baseball playing opportunities, searchable by zip code. Inclusive of more than 10,000 leagues across the U.S., the feature identifies playing opportunities, as well provides contact information for player registration. Baseball Near You was made possible through the support of American Legion, Dixie Boys and Majors, Little League Baseball and Softball, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and the MLB Urban Youth Academies.

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MLB is partnering with its Clubs and various organizations to help grow the initiative’s awareness and accessibility through special events and promotional opportunities. USA Baseball, its national member organizations, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, will help promote Play Ball across their membership bases and within their communities.  MLB also is launching MLB.com/playball, in conjunction with PlayBall.org, as a social media destination for fans to share their experiences during Play Ball activities.

Since April, Major League Baseball and Little League Baseball and Softball have joined up with ESPN for an initiative to promote youth baseball by bringing kids from local Little Leagues to MLB ballparks for ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball,” allowing them to meet Major Leaguers and appear on air with ESPN broadcasters. This initiative will continue in support of Play Ball’s launch. Special youth events that showcase the different ways to play the game will be an important aspect of Play Ball.  During All-Star Week in July, MLB, the Cincinnati Reds and Chevrolet are joining together to attempt to set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the “largest game of catch” at the MLB Largest Game of Catch presented by Chevrolet.

In addition to Play Ball, Major League Baseball is committed to strengthening its existing relationships with youth-based organizations and growing its ongoing initiatives, such as Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) and the MLB Urban Youth Academy network, which gives America’s youth, especially those from underserved and inner-city communities, greater access to playing baseball and softball.

Brewers to Promote Sun Safety Through Support of the 2015 Play Sun Smart Initiative

The Brewers are joining Major League Baseball and all MLB Clubs in once again promoting sun safety this spring and summer through the Play Sun Smart initiative, which launches throughout the league this month and will be marked at Miller Park on Tuesday, May 12.  Additionally, players, coaches and staff from all 30 Clubs will serve as role models for fans by participating in skin cancer screenings and practicing sun-safe behaviors throughout the season.

Play Sun Smart is a joint effort by Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), with the goal of promoting sun safety, raising awareness of skin cancer and offering prevention and detection tips to the baseball community. Since 1999, Academy dermatologists have conducted nearly 37,000 skin cancer screenings through this program. More than 1,200 suspicious lesions have been detected, including 155 melanomas, through the Play Sun Smart club screenings.  Just like players and Brewers employees, fans are asked to practice safe sun behaviors and to find a free skin cancer screening in their area by visiting the Academy’s website at PlaySunSmart.org.

Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Early detection of skin cancer is essential as it is highly curable if detected early and treated promptly.  Fans can spot skin cancer early by regularly looking over their entire bodies, including the back, scalp, soles, between the toes and on the palms.  If there are any changes in the size, color, shape or texture of a mole, if a new mole develops or any other unusual changes in the skin occur, fans are encouraged to make an appointment to see their dermatologist immediately. For more information about sun safety and the Play Sun Smart program, please visit MLBCommunity.org.

The Play Sun Smart program is one of several cancer-related initiatives supported by Major League Baseball. Other initiatives include Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), whose mission is to support groundbreaking scientific research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients quickly; the Mother’s Day Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative, which is a program to help increase awareness of breast cancer and raise money towards the search for a cure; and the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s Home Run Challenge, which helps increase awareness of prostate cancer and raise money for the search for a cure as part of the MLB Father’s Day celebration. To learn more about sun safety and the Play Sun Smart program and also Major League Baseball’s various charitable initiatives, please visit MLBCommunity.org.

Johanna Kretschmer from Burlington Named Brewers Honorary Bat Girl Will Be Honored at Miller Park on Mother’s Day

Major League Baseball has announced the winners of the 2015 Honorary Bat Girl contest, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease.  The Honorary Bat Girl for the Milwaukee Brewers is Johanna Kretschmer from Burlington.  Kretschmer will be honored when the Brewers host the Chicago Cubs, on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10 in Milwaukee.

The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative celebrated on Mother’s Day. In seven years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and more than 2 million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by MLB charitable partners, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.

On Mother’s Day, players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards also will be pink. Games will feature a pink-stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game ball. Many MLB players also will use pink bats, and pink Louisville Slugger bats, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many authenticated, game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother’s Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit the fight against breast cancer.

MLB Launches “This” Campaign; First Brewers Spots Feature Gomez, Lohse

To kick off the 2015, Major League Baseball has launched a new marketing campaign, which is simply “THIS.”

THIS is shorthand for “This is baseball.” A THIS moment illuminates an aspect of the game in a fresh, insightful and authentic way. It draws attention to those moments that only happen in baseball, those moments that illustrate why baseball is the most entertaining game in the world.

THIS is a social prompt that tells people that there is something that they must see and moments for which there is nothing left to say but simply – look at “THIS”.

The campaign aims to highlight athletic performance of players, the culture of the game, the relationship between the players, the clubs and the fans, and all of the wonderful personalities around baseball.

While the Brew Crew was down in Arizona from Spring Training, a crew from Major League Baseball captured THIS moments with Carlos Gomez, Scooter Gennett, Will Smith and Kyle Lohse.

First, THIS: Carlos Gomez. Foul Pole.

And then, THIS: Kyle Lohse. Scooter!

This was a really fun TV shoot to be a part of. Here are some extra photos from that day:

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Also, as a footnote (and because I know he’d probably want me to mention it), each of the guys attempted to hit the foul pole with a baseball during the shoot and Kyle Lohse was actually the first one to do so, something you wouldn’t expect from a pitcher.

He then had fun trying it again…. this time with a golf ball and clubs. That didn’t take long:

-Cait

@CMoyer

MLB Annouces “Franchise Four” Campaign for 2015 All-Star Game

Major League Baseball today announced the launch of the “Franchise Four” campaign, which will allow fans to vote for the most impactful players who best represent each Major League franchise and several other significant categories in the sport’s history.  The winners of the month-long period of fan voting on MLB.com/FranchiseFour will be announced during pregame ceremonies before Baseball’s 86th All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on FOX.

Beginning today and running through Friday, May 8, fans can visit MLB.com/FranchiseFour to select the four most impactful players who best represent the history of each franchise out of eight choices from its lineage. 

The Brewers ballot includes: Ryan Braun, Cecil Cooper, Prince Fielder, Rollie Fingers, Jim Gantner, Paul Molitor, Gorman Thomas and Robin Yount.

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An additional write-in option will be available to fans on the ballot, which also can be accessed via mobile devices. The eight players were selected based on the recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel, in consultation with the 30 Clubs.  The panel was asked to identify “the most impactful players who best represent the history of each franchise (or special category)” for the ballot.

The panelists were MLB’s Official Historian John Thorn and representatives from MLB’s official statistician, the Elias Sports Bureau; MLB.com; MLB Network; and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).  In addition to the 30 franchises, fans can vote for three special categories: the “Greatest Living Players”; the greatest Negro Leagues Players; and the sport’s greatest Pioneers, encompassing players whose careers began more than a century ago.

MLB Chief Operating Officer Tony Petitti said: “The All-Star Game is a celebration of the National Pastime, and Cincinnati’s rich baseball heritage makes it a perfect venue to highlight the great players who are synonymous with our Clubs and those who played pivotal roles in the game’s history.  We believe that the Franchise Four campaign will engage fans in a fun and meaningful way and will link the past and the present in the manner that Baseball does so uniquely.”

 

Movies with Matt: Film Aficionado Matt Clark Makes His Oscars Picks & Predictions

At Brewers On Deck, through his  Twitter & Instagram Q&A, we learned that Matt Clark loves the movies:

In fact, he is a self-professed “Film Aficionado” according to his Twitter bio:

CLARK TWITTER

So, we made Matt his own special Oscars Ballot where he could make his own picks (who he would give the awards to if he had his say) and his predictions (who he thinks the Academy will choose). His official picks and predictions for the top five categories were also placed in special sealed envelopes and he unveiled them on Twitter this afternoon, leading up to the Academy Awards.

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Matt, who made headlines earlier this year for his live tweeting of The Bachelor, tells me he’ll try to live tweet along with the broadcast tonight, so be sure to follow him @MattClark60 for his opinions and insight and to see how his picks and predictions hold up!

2/23 Update: True to his word, Matt Clark did indeed live tweet the entire Academy Awards ceremony last night and his predictions held up fairly well, going 16 for 24 and falling just one shy of former Brewers pitcher John Axford who, after pitching a perfect Oscars game last year, took over MLB’s Twitter account during the event.

If Matt had gone with his gut and used a couple more of his picks as predictions, he would have been 18 for 24–pretty darn impressive!

Here are some highlights:

-Cait

@CMoyer

 

 

 

Brewers to Honor Selig by Retiring Uniform #1 at Miller Park

Today, as he visits Miller Park on his farewell tour, we announced that the Club will honor retiring Major League Baseball Commissioner and former Brewers Owner Allan H. (Bud) Selig by retiring uniform #1 in a ceremony that will take place at Miller Park next season.

Selig Retired Number Miller Park

“We are proud to pay tribute to Commissioner Selig with this honor for all of his work on behalf of the Brewers as well as Major League Baseball,” said Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio. “The uniform number being retired in the Commissioner’s honor is significant, as the existence of the Milwaukee Brewers and Miller Park are a direct result of the Commissioner’s vision. Without his tireless efforts, neither would be a reality.”

Selig05 copy

This is the first in a series of initiatives that the Brewers have planned to honor Commissioner Selig, who will retire at the end of this year. Additional details will be announced later.

Commissioner Selig said: “I thank Mark Attanasio and his entire organization for this extraordinary honor.  The Brewers are a product of my hometown’s passion for Major League Baseball, and it was a privilege to play a part in restoring the spirit of community and kinship that the National Pastime inspires.  Knowing the great history of this franchise, I am truly humbled to look forward to a memorable day at Miller Park next season.”

Selig’s dedication to baseball has paralleled his love of his hometown of Milwaukee. His first significant move as an executive was to return Major League Baseball to Milwaukee in 1970, when he founded the Milwaukee Brewers. In its first decade, the Brewers featured some of the great teams of that era, which eventually led to an American League pennant and World Series appearance in 1982.

During his tenure as Brewers owner, Selig earned UPI’s 1978 Executive of the Year award, and the franchise was honored with seven “Organization of the Year” awards.

In the 1990s, Selig began his efforts to build a new ballpark in Milwaukee to replace the aging County Stadium, and Miller Park opened for its first season of play in 2001.

More recently, Selig was honored with a statue at Miller Park, which was unveiled on August 24, 2010.

He became the ninth Commissioner of Major League Baseball, and during his tenure the sport has thrived.  As Commissioner, Selig has implemented important changes throughout Major League Baseball. He made popular structural changes in the game, including the Wild Card, the three-division format, Interleague Play and Instant Replay. He put in place the toughest drug-testing program in American professional sports. He also profoundly affected baseball’s economic landscape by instituting meaningful revenue sharing among the clubs as well as successful ventures, such as MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network, and the World Baseball Classic. MLB truly has thrived under Selig’s stewardship: It has enjoyed its longest period of labor peace with its Players Association and has consistently posted records levels of attendance and revenues.

9/11: We Shall Not Forget

To commemorate 13 years since the tragedies of September 11, 2001, Major League Baseball, its Clubs and players have joined in the spirit of Baseball’s unified commitment to vow that “We Shall Not Forget” and observe September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

This remembrance is part of Baseball’s ongoing and league-wide effort to honor those whose lives were lost and affected on that tragic day.

At Miller Park tonight:

  • On-field personnel, including players, coaches and umpires, will wear an American flag patch embroidered on the side of their caps. MLB proceeds of sales of caps will be donated to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum; the Pentagon Memorial and the Flight 93 Memorial.

Flag Cap

  • Special line-up cards and base jewels will be used for tonight’s game.
  • We will mark the anniversary with a moment of silence and recognition of First Responders and Military in attendance.
  • The national anthem will be performed by Oak Creek Battalion Chief Joseph Pulvermacher and the Color Guard will be the Milwaukee Firefighters’ Honor Guard.
  • Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing will throw the Ceremonial First Pitch
  • We will sing “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch, led by Bob Kozlowski, Ret. USAF and Miller Park Guest Services staff.
  • The “We Shall Not Forget” MLB silhouetted batter logo will be displayed in the park.

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You’ll also want to set your DVR. Tonight, MLB Network will re-air the “Nine Innings from Ground Zero” special developed by MLB Productions, and will also feature coverage of the day’s events throughout the League in its studio programming.

 

Brewers 2015 Schedule Released; Opening Day Set for Monday, April 6 vs. Rockies at Miller Park

Today we announced the schedule for 2015 – the 45th Anniversary season of the Brewers. The team will open 2015 at home against the Colorado Rockies on Monday, April 6 in the start of a six-game homestand over seven days.

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Following the opening series against the Rockies, the Brewers will play each of their next 22 games against National League Central Division opponents. After a three-game, weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the opening homestand, the Brewers travel to St. Louis and Pittsburgh for the first road trip of the season from April 13-19.

The Interleague schedule will feature games against each team in the American League Central Division, beginning against the Chicago White Sox at Miller Park from May 11-13. A week later, the team faces the Detroit Tigers on the road from May 18-20. The border battle with the Minnesota Twins includes a three-game weekend series at Target Field from June 5-7 and a home weekend series from June 26-28. The Brewers will play back-to-back two-game series with the Kansas City Royals – June 15-16 at Miller Park and June 17-18 at Kauffman Stadium. The team also plays a pair of two-game series against the Cleveland Indians – July 21-22 at home and August 25-26 at Progressive Field.

The longest homestand in 2015 will be 11 games from July 30 – August 9 against Chicago-NL (4g), San Diego (4g) and St. Louis (3g). Milwaukee will also host a 10-game homestand from May 4-13 versus Los Angeles-NL (4g), Chicago-NL (3g) and Chicago-AL (3g).

The team will make four, three-city road trips including three 10-game trips. The first 10-game road trip will take place at New York-NL (May 15-17), Detroit (May 18-20) and Atlanta (May 21-24). The final two road trips of the season are also 10-game trips. The first of the final two trips will take place in Cincinnati (September 4-6), Miami (September 7-9) and Pittsburgh (September 10-13), and the second will take place in Chicago-NL (September 21-23), St. Louis (September 24-27) and San Diego (September 29 – October 1).

The Brewers will play at home on Mother’s Day, May 10 vs. Chicago-NL and Memorial Day, May 25 vs. San Francisco.

Most weekday night games at Miller Park will start at 7:10 p.m. (April 20, May 4, May 11 and September 3 will start at 6:20 p.m.). Weekday day games in April and May will start at 12:40 p.m. (except for Opening Day, which will start at 1:10 p.m.). Sunday games and weekday day games from June through September will start at 1:10 p.m. Most Saturday home games will begin at 6:10 p.m. (note – several Saturday game times will be announced at a later date).

All game dates and times are subject to change and road game times will be announced at a later date. Download a printable copy of the 2015 Milwaukee Brewers schedule here.

 

-Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

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