Results tagged ‘ Opening Day ’
Well, the day that we’ve all been waiting for is finally upon us–Opening Day! (Or #MillerParkOpener if you’re following along on Twitter!)
John and I look forward to another fun-filled season and hope you’ll follow along with us here on John and Cait…Plus 9.
Cheers to a great 2012….Now let’s PLAY BALL!
When I first saw the field at Miller Park after getting back from Spring Training, I thought I was looking at a field from Arizona! The field at Miller Park looks great and is more than ready for Opening Day on Friday. I can remember an Opening Day at Miller Park (I believe it was 2005) where giant propane heaters were on the field thawing out the frozen infield. That certainly won’t be the case on Friday.
Today, led by the new Brewers Director of Grounds, Justin Scott, the “Opening Weekend” logo was painted on the beautiful green Miller Park grass.
Scott talked about the mild winter and how that affected the field this afternoon with local media.
“The actual challenge of the mild winter was that the cover kept the field warmer all winter and the turf never went as dormant as we probably would have liked it to,” Scott said. ”Just like people, turf needs some time off to rest and that is what winter normally provides. We were partially dormant this winter and didn’t get the rest we needed, but certainly got the growth we needed. We have been exceptionally fortunate with the weather that Mother Nature has provided us.”
Scott will have a learning curve coming from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City–an open-air stadium–to Miller Park in Milwaukee.
“This being my first year, it is kind of like moving into a new house,” Scott said. ”There are always nooks and crannies that you learn. I’m learning the shade pattern, what it needs with water. My assistant, Michael Boettcher, and the crew, having been here before me, have been an invaluable resource and did a great job of putting things to bed in the fall.
Everyone will miss former Brewers Director of Grounds, Gary Vanden Berg who passed away last October. Scott knows Vanden Berg is irreplaceable, but will follow in his footsteps in providing great care to the Miller Park field.
“I knew Gary a little bit from our conferences and meetings, but I did not know him very well,” Scott said. ”I certainly knew what he meant to the Brewers and to the city with the long history he had. That is certainly something that you cannot replace. I’m just here to provide the Brewers with the best playing surface we can.”
Scott said he talked to Brewers manager Ron Roenicke about the field and the Brewers skipper talked of the importance of having a clean and even playing surface that players can rely on each game.
“His main concern is having a good, safe and highly playable field for the players,” Scott said. ”It’s my job to find the best way to provide that.”
Check out some photos from today’s logo painting below:
If you have been reading Brewers manager Ron Roenicke’s comments lately, he isn’t looking ahead; he’s just focusing on one game at a time. I normally like to stick to the skipper’s ideology there, but sometimes you have to work ahead. Although there is still plenty of work to do in 2011 for the Brewers, Major League Baseball today announced the 2012 schedule.
The Club’s 43rd season in Major League Baseball will open at home against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, April 6 at 3:10 p.m. The 3:10 p.m. start time is due to April 6th being Good Friday. It’s always exciting to host a “true” Opening Day at Miller Park. This will mark the fourth Opening Day at Miller Park (2-1) and the 14th overall time the Brewers have opened the season at home (8-5). The Brewers have played the Cardinals three times on Opening Day and are 2-1 in those games.
Opening Day marks the first of a three-game set versus the Brewers NL Central rival and is followed by a trip to Chicago to play the Cubs for four games (April 9 – 12) and to Atlanta for three more with the Braves (April 13 – 15).
One of the first questions every year with the schedule (after, “When is Opening Day?”) is always “Who do the Brewers play in Interleague play?” As always, the Brewers will have a home and home series with the Minnesota Twins, their “natural” rival at Miller Park May 18 – 20 and at Minneapolis June 15 – 17. The rest of the Interleague schedule calls for a run of three-game series at Kansas City against the Royals (June 12 – 14); at home against the Toronto Blue Jays (June 18 – 20) and in Chicago to play the White Sox June (22 – 24).
The Brewers will have two, nine-game homestands in 2012. During the first, the Brewers will face the Los Angeles Dodgers (April 17 – 19), Colorado Rockies (April 20 – 22) and Houston Astros (April 23 – 25). The second nine-game homestand will see the Brewers face the Pittsburgh Pirates (June 1 – 3), Chicago Cubs (June 5 – 7) and San Diego Padres (June 8 – 10).
The team will have one 10-game road trip during the 2012 campaign that will take place in Pittsburgh (September 18 – 20), Washington (September 21 – 24) and Cincinnati (September 25 – 27). The Brewers will also have a nine-game road trip that will take them to St. Louis (April 27 – 29), San Diego (April 30 – May 2) and San Francisco (May 4 – 6).
The Brewers will play at home on several holidays including Easter Sunday (April 8, vs. St. Louis); Mother’s Day (May 13 vs. Chicago) and on the Fourth of July against the Miami Marlins (the “Florida” Marlins will become the “Miami” Marlins beginning next season as they open their new ballpark).
The Brewers will close out the 2012 regular season at Miller Park, October 1 – 3 against the San Diego Padres. This marks the first regular season games in October in Milwaukee since the 2001 season when the season went into October because of the break MLB took during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Another schedule note, the MLB All-Star Game will take place on Tuesday, July 10 in Kansas City.
Home start times for the 2012 season will again be 7:10 p.m. for night games Monday – Friday, 6:10 p.m. for most Saturday games (several are listed as TBD), 12:10 for weekday afternoon games in April and May (except Opening Day), and 1:10 p.m. for Sunday games and weekday afternoon games from June through September (except July 3 and 4, which are both 3:10 p.m., and Sept. 12 which is TBD). Road start times will be announced later in the winter. All game dates and times are subject to change. A complete 2012 Milwaukee Brewers schedule can be downloaded here: 2012 Brewers Schedule.
Sometimes you just happen to be at the right place at the right time. I was heading into the office for some last minute finishing touches before tomorrow’s Opening Day when the skies turned dark, the lightning flashed and it started hailing. Hard.
This was a pretty heavy hail! I have never seen anything like it. Luckily the roof was closed during the entire storm so everything on the field is good for tomorrow. I pulled out my iPhone and took this video, please pardon the shaky quality of the video!
As evident by the tweets and Facebook updates from people in the Milwaukee area, a lot of you had the same experiences. Can you imagine if this happened one day earlier!? We are all looking forward to a great day tomorrow. It was a tough weekend in Cincinnati, but that is nothing that a little home cooking can’t cure for the team. When you are tweeting about tomorrow’s activities at Miller Park, make sure to use the hashtag #MillerParkOpener so they can all be organized. Enjoy Opening Day in Milwaukee tomorrow!
Today was an exciting day at Miller Park as we debuted both our new video board and TV spots at a media event this afternoon.
The scoreboard was designed, manufactured and installed by Daktronics, Inc. The new video board features a single screen, true 1080 display and is the fourth-largest scoreboard in Major League Baseball at 5,940 square feet. The only larger boards are in Kansas City, Phoenix and Houston.
Let me tell you– it is AMAZING.
I didn’t want to spoil your first impression of the board by posting a video and these photos are cool, but they don’t do it justice, so I’m sorry, but you’re just going to have to come out to Miller Park and see it for yourself to really get the full effect!
Your first chance to see the board in person is this Saturday’s Rising Stars Minor League Game, set for 3:10pm. [Psst! All tickets are just $10!] And, of course, next week when Brewers Baseball returns to Milwaukee for the 2011 Season!
[To learn more about the scoreboard, check out my interview with Deron Anderson, Director of A/V Production, from December, here.]
During the event, we also showcased our new 2011 TV spots on the new board for the first time. There are seven new spots this season. The first three are fan-centric and relate to the Miller Park experience, while the remaining four are centered around the players and have a similar theme to last year’s spots.
The fan-centric spots were filmed locally last summer and the player spots were recently filmed at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix and also, at Miller Park. [Read my post about the shoot in Spring Training, here.]
You can view the new spots by clicking on the links below. Then, make sure you come back here and vote on your favorite! Plus…click here for outtakes from the shoot!
Fireworks: The baseball’s better at Miller Park. And, as one group of fans discovers, so are the fireworks.
Yard Work: Yes, we have to cut the grass at Miller Park. But, as these backyard fans discover, not during the game.
Remote: Your chances of capturing the Miller Park experience at home? Pretty “remote,” as these fans find out.
Radio Control: Pitcher Shaun Marcum is all about control. On the mound. And all around the stadium.
Batting Cage: Who wants to face Prince Fielder in the batter’s box? No man. And certainly no machine.
Setting the Table: Rickie Weeks does a beautiful job setting the table for his teammates. On the field. And off.
Not Open: Reliever John Axford loves closing things. And it’s a lot more than just baseball games.
The new spots will air in game broadcasts beginning with Opening Day in Cincinnati, this Thursday (gosh it feels good to type that), March 31.
Greetings from my desk in cold, snowy Milwaukee!
As I noted in an earlier post, I was down in Arizona last week for the filming of our 2011 TV commercials. We wrapped up our shoot on Thursday evening and I left warm and sunny Phoenix, Arizona yesterday, getting home just in time for our Brewers Arctic Tailgate event.
Hearty Brewers fans were camping out when I swung by the ballpark on my way home from the airport last night, waiting anxiously to purchase individual game tickets, which went on sale at 9am this morning.
[The first 2,000 fans received a free t-shirt, Klement's hot dog and a Pepsi. Plus, they also received special one-day only ticket offers that weren't available anywhere else. If you missed out on the event, you can still purchase tickets and guarantee your place in the crowd to the best games this season, by calling our Box Office at (414) 902-4000, or logging on to brewers.com.]
So, yeah! Individual tickets are on sale now, Spring Training games start on Monday… Brewers Baseball will be back in Milwaukee before you know it!
Look for our spots to debut during the first games of the season, beginning with Opening Day in Cincinnati on Thursday, March 31.
And, while I can’t give away what this year’s spots are going to be about, I can tell you that they will have the same type of theme as last year’s spots and we’re bringing some new guys into the mix, including closer John Axford.
On Thursday, John showed up on set to star in one of the spots, but he could have just as easily been directing them if life had taken him down a different path.
That’s because John graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Film in 2005 and even began attending Canisius College to start working on his Master’s of Science in Sports Administration before he signed with the New York Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2006 and began his career in professional baseball.
What’s John doing? You will have to wait until our spots air this season to find out!
As we waited for the crew from Icarus Films and the representatives from our agency, 2-Story Creative, to set up between shots, John told me all about his film classes at Notre Dame.
“I did a 16-milimeter black-and-white film my junior year,” he said. “I still have the hard copy with all of the edits and cuts and everything, because the way we cut it was actually the old-school way. We actually cut the film and taped it together. We didn’t do it digitally. That came later. It was only 12 minutes long, maybe a little less. We got 400 feet of film, which is about 11 minutes and you had a partner, so each person had their own roll.”
“It was pretty cool, the old Steenbeck machine, you had to get the rolls on there and line them up and press play and then fast forward it through and stop it on a certain part where you wanted it. You go frame-by-frame and then cut it and bring in the other roll, hold it down flat and tape it. I really I liked it,” he continued.
When I asked what the film was about, John said, “It’s rather depressing. That’s what I found out about myself while doing film classes. I like the depressing, dark movies. Mine was essentially about spousal neglect and suicide.”
And it is true, he does gravitate toward the darker films–most of John’s favorite movies in recent years have been heavier foreign films and films such as Children of Men and the Oscar-nominated Black Swan.
“I really like open-ended movies,” he said. “Black Swan, I absolutely loved. I would like for that to win Best Picture, but I know it won’t. Just because it is artistic and dark, that is what I would want to win I guess.”
When it comes to music, John also gravitates toward the dark, heavier side of the spectrum.
“I listen to almost anything, but mostly hard rock, something a little heavier. I really got into hard rock by listening to Brazilian metal, John said. “Now, I have branched out a lot further. It used to be just metal, but now it is pretty much everything,” John said.
Speaking of music, one of the only Brewers players who is active in social media, John is currently letting his fans select his entrance song for 2011 on his Facebook Page.
“There are 15 songs for fans to vote on,” John said.
“There are eight newer songs because everyone uses older rock–songs by AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, and stuff like that–so I wanted to add some new stuff and try something different. There are also a lot of older songs on there, like Rush and Led Zeppelin. I also included Omen, a metal band– everyone kept telling me I needed to have them because they have a song called ‘The Axeman’.”
“Then I have a couple of theme songs…I have the Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme song, which I thought would be fun. There is also a song people will recognize from Kill Bill, but it is actually from a western from the ’60s. I also added some fun ones and some songs that were used last year for me, just to see what people think.”
For the complete list, and/or to vote, click here.
John was a good sport during our shoot and interview, as I donned a prop from our spot that may or may not make the final cut…
The tall, mustached right-hander was extremely easy-going and fun to talk to on the set and, although his movie and film choices may be dark, he was nice as can be and his future only looks bright.
This will be a big season for John, on and off the field. Not only will John star in one of our spots this year, but he and his wife, Nicole, are also expecting a baby boy this June.
“We’re very excited.” John said.
John also has his own bobble head, sponsored by Palermo’s Pizza/ Piggly Wiggly on Sunday, April 24 when the Brewers take on the Houston Astros at 1:10pm.
“I just saw pictures of it and it looks really, really cool,” John said.
This is one bobble you’ll want to make sure you add to your ‘stache! Individual tickets went on sale today, so you can get tickets for John Axford Bobble Head Day now!
I enjoyed talking to John and I just know that the spot he’s in will turn out great, as will the other spots we shot this week. Stay tuned, boys and girls–we’re “closing” in on baseball season!
With just under three weeks left in the 2010 season, the Brewers and MLB announced the 2011 season schedule just a few minutes ago.
Mark your calendars for the Monday, April 4 for the Brewers home opener vs. Atlanta at 1:10 p.m. The home opener is always the unofficial start of spring in Milwaukee. Hopefully we will be able to have the roof open for the home opener again next year!
Here are some other notes and highlights on the 2011 schedule:
- The team will open in Cincinnati on Thursday, March 31.
- The home opener on April 4 will kick off a seven-game homestand against the Braves (April 4 – 7) and the Chicago Cubs (April 8 – 10).
- The Brewers Interleague schedule will feature 15 straight games against American League opponents beginning with a three-game series in Boston (June 17 – 19). The Brewers will also face Tampa Bay (June 20 – 22) and Minnesota (June 24 – 26) at Miller Park. The Brewers will then travel to New York City for a three-game set against the Yankees (June 28 – 30) and a rematch with the Twins in Minneapolis (July 1 – 3). If the season ended today, the Yankees, Rays and Twins would all make the Playoffs, meaning the Interleague schedule will be quite challenging for the Brewers.
- This will be the first time the Brewers play the Yankees in New York as a National League franchise, they last played in New York in 1997, their last year in the American League.
- Tampa Bay has yet to play at Miller Park and following the series with the Rays, the only Major League Baseball team not to play at Miller Park since it opened will be the Oakland A’s
- The Brewers will host two nine-game homestands during the 2011 season. The Brewers will face Colorado (May 20 – 22), Washington (May 23 – 25) and San Francisco (May 27 – 29) in their first nine-gamer and Chicago-NL (July 26 – 28), Houston (July 29 – 31) and St. Louis (August 1 – 3) in their second.
- Following the All-Star Break–July 11 – 13–the Brewers will embark on the longest road trip of the season totaling 11 games. The trip will start with four games in Colorado (July 14 – 17), continue with four-games in Arizona (July 18 – 21) and conclude with three games in San Francisco (July 22 – 24). The 11-game road trip marks the longest Brewers trip since July 15 – 25, 2004 when the Brewers had an 11-game trip to Chicago-NL, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Houston.
- The team will also have a 10-game trip that will take place in Houston (April 29 – May 1), Atlanta (May 2 – 5) and St. Louis (May 6 – 8).
- The Brewers will play two home games on holidays in 2011–Easter Sunday, April 24 vs. Houston at 1:10 p.m., and on the Fourth of July against Arizona at 3:10 p.m.
- Home game times for the 2011 season will again be 7:10 p.m. for night games Monday – Friday; 6:10 p.m. for Saturday games; 1:10 p.m. for most day games (except weekday, day games in April and May which will start at 12:10 or 12:40 p.m., and July 4 and September 1 which will start at 3:10 p.m.). All game dates and times are subject to change.
The Brewers will hand out 2011 magnetic schedules to all fans in attendance at Miller Park during Fan Appreciation Weekend, September 24 – 26. Road game times will be announced at a later date. Also, the 2011 Spring Training schedule will be announced at a later date. Stay tuned to brewers.com for details on that news.
The complete 2011 Brewers schedule can be found here.
March: 31 — at Cincinnati.
April: 2-3 — at Cincinnati; 4-7 — vs. Atlanta; 8-10 — vs. Chicago Cubs; 12-14 — at Pittsburgh; 15-17 — at Washington; 18-20 — at Philadelphia; 22-24 — vs. Houston; 25-27 — vs Cincinnati; 29-30 — at Houston.
May: 1 — at Houston; 2-4 — at Atlanta; 6-8 — at St. Louis; 9-11 — vs. San Diego; 13-15 — vs. Pittsburgh; 16-19 — at San Diego; 20-22 — vs. Colorado; 23-25 — vs. Washington; 27-29 — vs. San Francisco; 30-31 — at Cincinnati.
June: 1 — at Cincinnati; 3-5 — at Florida; 7-9 — vs. New York Mets; 10-12 — vs. St. Louis; 13-16 — at Chicago Cubs; 17-19 — at Boston; 20-22 — vs. Tampa Bay; 24-26 — vs. Minnesota; 28-30 — at New York Yankees.
July: 1-3 — at Minnesota; 4-6 — vs. Arizona; 7-10 — vs. Cincinnati; 12 — All-Star Game (at Arizona); 14-17 — at Colorado; 18-21 — at Arizona; 22-24 — at San Francisco; 26-28 — vs. Chicago Cubs; 29-31 — vs. Houston.
August: 1-3 — vs. St. Louis; 5-7 — at Houston; 9-11 — at St. Louis; 12-14 — at Pittsburgh; 15-18 — vs. Los Angeles Dodgers; 19-21 — at New York Mets; 22-24 — at Pittsburgh; 26-28 — vs. Chicago Cubs; 30-31 — vs. St. Louis.
September: 1 — vs. St. Louis; 2-4 — at Houston; 5-7 — at St. Louis; 8-11 — vs. Philadelphia; 13-14 — vs. Colorado; 16-18 — at Cincinnati; 19-21 — at Chicago Cubs; 23-25 — vs. Florida; 26-28 — vs. Pittsburgh.
I love shopping.
In fact, my third favorite day of the year isn’t a holiday, a birthday or anniversary.
It’s Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday shopping season. For years, my best friend and I have established a routine.
On the morning of Thanksgiving Day, we peruse all of the ads in the paper and create our lists: gifts we have to buy for others, things we want for ourselves, the best deals… There is a tremendous amount of planning and our tactical skills really get put into play.
After Thanksgiving dinner, we go to bed early, only to wake up in the middle of the night in order to be at the stores before 3am to ensure that we score the best deals.
What does this have to do with baseball?
Well, in less than 48 hours, individual tickets for the 2010 Brewers season will go on sale to the general public. Although here at Miller Park, we officially call this day “Arctic Tailgate,” in my mind, it’s Blue Saturday. Sure, fans have had the opportunity to purchase Season Tickets, Holiday 4-Packs, 9-Packs, etc., but many have been waiting since the 2010 Schedule came out last September to cherry-pick the games of their choice.
Much like me going through the ads for the best deals on Thanksgiving Day, fans all across Wisconsin are circling and highlighting their Brewers schedules, looking for the best match-ups, the date nights, the group outings, the tailgates, the bobble head games… all the games they HAVE. TO. HAVE.
And much like me getting up at 3am to get the best deals on Black Friday, the fans are savvy. Even savvier than me; so savvy in fact, that they’re already camped out, eagerly awaiting Saturday morning when the Ticket Windows spring to life at 9am.
What’s it like at Miller Park right now? To really gauge the mood, I decided to take a trip over to our Ticket Operations Department, where I sat down briefly with Chad Olson, the Manager of Ticket Operations; Tom Carter, the Manager of Ticket Fulfillment and Distribution; and Jessica Brown, the Manager of Ticket Services and Technology.
If the fans are the shoppers on Black Friday, they’re the harried retailers, preparing for the big day. Although, I do have to say, Chad, Tom and Jess were holding up pretty well for being so close to chaos.
“My main responsibility is to make sure the staff is trained and up-to-date with all of the new promotions and changes at Miller Park for the 2010 Season. Once we have the orientation and get the staff up to speed, then we just have to make sure we staff the windows and phone center for the big day. We’ll have about 40 people on hand,” Chad said.
The Ticket Operations Staff will be there before 8am on Saturday and Chad will focus on being available to help them with any questions they may have or issues that may arise.
“We are very creative with how we sell tickets and with the marketing side of things,” Chad said.
“It is a fun challenge. There aren’t too many teams in baseball that do things the way we do to get to where we get attendance-wise. There is a lot of communication, a lot of everyone being on the same page and knowing about all of the information that is out there. My main focus is the staff being up to speed and giving them the tools to succeed.”
Chad Olson (left) and Tom Carter stand inside the quiet ticket windows, which will be bustling come Saturday.
Tom will also be focused on assisting staff, answering questions and solving problems on the big day, at which point his most difficult responsibilities will be behind him.
Since last December, Tom has been making sure that Season Ticket orders and packages have been filled and processed in advance of the on sale.
“We need to make sure all of our orders are fulfilled in the systems so that on Saturday, we have our best remaining inventory available for the public,” Tom said.
“This is a fast-paced area, a fast-paced time of the year. We need to stay on top of things. Every day there is something new coming at us and it is fun to be there and face that.”
For fans, it will be a party-like atmosphere at Miller Park on Saturday. To reward those who brave the cold, the first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Klement’s hot dog, Pepsi, chips and a t-shirt come Saturday morning. Anyone who comes out to the ballpark will also receive a special ticket offer for half off the Marquee prices for the Minnesota Twins series in June.
As I mentioned before, there are already quite a few tents set up outside of Friday’s Front Row, so the party’s already started.
Just like on Black Friday, if you don’t want to stand in lines or brave the crowds (or cold), you can choose to stay home and shop online in your jammies.
Jessica Brown will be focused on web sales.
“Right now, we are just making sure that everything is going to go smoothly for the web, that the phone center and windows have everything that they need to fulfill orders and that all the inventory is ready to go on sale,” she said.
“On Saturday, I will definitely be watching the web sales and I’ll probably be pulling reports for upper management every 15 minutes to see how we’re doing. I’ll also be walking around making sure everything is going well.”
Jess Brown makes sure everything is ready for Saturday.
There will also be a limited number of tickets for Opening Day, Monday, April 5 vs. the Colorado Rockies, at the Arctic Tailgate. Each fan will be limited to a maximum of four tickets for Opening Day, based on availability.
Jess, Tom and Chad predicted that in addition to the allure of the Opening Day tickets, some of the most popular games for Saturday’s on sale will be during Spring Madness (April 26-28 vs. the Pirates) and the 5-County, 5-Day Celebration (May 10-12 vs. the Braves and May 14-15 vs. the Phillies), in addition to the six bobble head dates and all weekends during the summer.
I decided to put their theories to the test and talk to some of the fans who are currently camped out (literally) outside the ballpark.
Tents wrap around the ballpark as fans eagerly await Arctic Tailgate ’10.
My first encounter was with Matt, A.J. and Chris, a trio from Milwaukee who arrived last night. They all have 20-Game Plans already and they’re hoping to score some Opening Day tickets, too, but they said they’re hanging out in the 25-degree weather just for fun. This is the third year that they’ve been doing this, so they must know what they’re talking about.
Matt, A.J. and Chris play bags outside Miller Park to keep warm.
While most campers brought your typical tent, one housing project caught my eye:
Kyle and Kory from Lake Geneva and Milwaukee are also 20-Game Plan holders and have been doing this for three years. This year, they decided to build their own shack out of cardboard and wood. Like Matt, AJ and Chris, they’re hoping to score Opening Day tickets, but above all, they’re in it for the camaraderie and fun.
And that’s really what being a Brewers fan is all about. Coming out to Miller Park and having a good time. Socializing with other Brewers fans. Tailgating, even in sub-freezing temperatures. Getting ramped up for the 2010 Season and scoring the best seats for the best games.
I hope to see you all out at Miller Park on Saturday, February 27 when tickets go on sale at 9am. If you can’t make it out, or don’t want to brave the cold, just log on to brewers.com and get a head start on your “shopping.”
So if Black Friday is my third favorite day of the year and Arctic Tailgate is the second, what is my first?
Opening Day, of course! The good news is that it’s just 38 days away.
When most people think of Miller Park, they automatically conjure up thoughts of the fun they’ve had on game day. Jason Hartlund and his staff are trying to change that.
Jason is the Vice President of Brewers Enterprises, a relatively new division of the Milwaukee Brewers (2006) that oversees all non-baseball events and revenue for Miller Park.
We are fortunate to have a venue that provides a myriad of entertainment options–rain or shine–suitable for anything from 40,000 persons down to small groups and in his role, Jason oversees the operations and develops sales and marketing strategies to attract a broad mix of events in and around Miller Park, from conventions and concerts to corporate retreats, parties and so much more.
Jason climbed on board to steer the Brewers Enterprises ship in May of 2008 after beginning his Brewers career in the Corporate Marketing Department. Prior to joining the Brewers, he had served three seasons as Manager of Corporate Sales for the Green Bay Packers.
With just five people, the Brewers Enterprises staff may be on the small side, but as you’ll see, they accomplish a great deal, working year-round to enhance your ballpark experience.
There’s Sarah Chmiel, Manager of Brewers Enterprises. Her job is to think of creative uses for the ballpark.
“Sarah’s role has been developing many of the non-baseball events that have taken place here, such as the Field of Sweet Dreams, Baseball Boot Camp, the Brewers Road Crew, Miller Park Movies and the Border Battle, the minor league game that we hosted here last year, ” Jason explained. We’ll talk more about those events later.
Then there’s Tai Chamness, Manager of Special Events. She’s who you go to if you want to book your wedding, party or special event at Miller Park.
“We have really focused on becoming more customer-service oriented with function spaces. That’s Tai’s specialty,” Jason said.
“We’ve been successful with holiday parties, tours, Helfaer Field, meeting room rentals and parking lot events this year,” Jason said. “But weddings have really taken off.”
As someone who had her own wedding reception at Miller Park and took her wedding photos on the field and in the Visitor’s Clubhouse back in 2007, I can certainly understand the allure. Baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike can appreciate the beautiful backdrop of the field looking out from the Metavante Club.
The Brewers Enterprises staff will help you customize your Big Day every step of the way; they’ve seen it all–from a total baseball wedding complete with uniforms and ballpark fare to the most elegant affairs where the location takes a backseat to everything else. You can have your ceremony at the park, or your reception, or both.
Throw in Cory Congemi, Coordinator of Helfaer Field and Miller Park Tours and Katie Wettstein, Special Events Coordinator, whose primary focus is on the Brewers Conference Center, and you have one busy crew.
That’s why I found it amazing that Sarah and Jason were able to find enough time to sit down with me for this interview.
Let’s take a look at what Brewers Enterprises is doing in the offseason and what’s on tap for 2010.
Right now, Sarah is in full travel agent mode, working on the Brewers Road Crew trip to Spring Training in Phoenix, March 10-14 (referenced in a previous post, found here).
“This is something we have never done before. In speaking with the Ticket Department, we know that they get numerous calls asking about Spring Training trips each year. This is something fans have been waiting for and we hope it’s successful,” Sarah said.
“We are going to take a group of people down to Arizona and we’re going to provide them with airfare, hotel accommodations and transportation while they’re there. They’ll get to see three Spring Training games,” Sarah explained. She began to get animated as she started to list the additional perks of joining the Brewers Road Crew for this one-of-a-kind opportunity.
“They will have the chance to meet some of the higher-ups from the Front Office. We’ll have a tailgate party that the current players will come to at Maryvale Baseball Park. Some former players will hang out with them….oh and our broadcasters, Bill Schroeder and Brian Anderson, will be there, too,” she went on.
I found out that participants will also have a chance to win behind-the-scenes experiences while they’re there, like throwing out the First Pitch, running in the Sausage Race or sitting in with Bill and Brian during webcasts of the Spring Training games. Plus, they’ll get gifts like a t-shirt, a ball for autographs and a player-issued tech fleece. Finally, every guest will receive a ticket to see the team when they come back to Milwaukee for Opening Day at Miller Park on April 5 vs. the Colorado Rockies.
By the time she’s finished her spiel, I’m practically reaching for my credit card. With more benefits than even I knew about and at $3695 for a couple, minus all of the stress of planning a trip for myself, it also sounds like more than a great deal.
“We’d like to use this Road Crew concept to take fans on the road during the season even, for bigger trips with the team. The first of many, we hope,” Sarah said.
Along with the Road Crew event, Brewers Enterprises is busy making plans for all of the other special non-game day events here at Miller Park.
Last year, they introduced several new events to Brewers fans, like the Border Battle, Brewers Baseball Boot Camp, Miller Park Movies and the Field of Sweet Dreams.
First, the Border Battle. Last April, Miller Park hosted a Midwest League matchup between the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and the Peoria Chiefs.
The Timber Rattlers became the Brewers’ Class A Midwest League affiliate at the beginning of last season and through our partnership with them, the Border Battle served as a great opportunity for fans to see some of the organization’s younger prospects play in a Major League environment. The Chiefs are the Chicago Cubs’ affiliate, so it also gave us the chance to showcase the players who will play key roles in the future of the Cubs-Brewers rivalry.
Bernie Brewer and Timber Rattlers mascot, Fang, before the Border Battle in April 2009.
“We had over 17,000 fans attend,” Jason said. “We kept it extremely affordable. The focus was on making it easy for fans to come out and enjoy the ballpark. All seats were $10 and they were sold on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you got your tickets early, you could be sitting in the best seats in the house, behind home plate or the dugouts, for just $10.”
Brewers Enterprises plans on hosting a similar event this year; they’re just finalizing details, so be sure and stay tuned!
Brewers Enterprises also hopes to bring back Brewers Baseball Boot Camp.
Baseball Boot Camp is an intense one-day affair where fans get to experience a day in the life of an actual ballplayer.
“We have about 50 people who attend and we divide into four teams. The coaches are alumni players. Last year, they were Jerry Augustine, Jim Gantner, Gorman Thomas and Paul Wagner. The participants come in early in the morning and have access to the Visiting Clubhouse; they use the lockers and it’s staffed the same way it would be for the pros. Then, the participants get a half-day of coaching and review of fundamentals. In the afternoon, they play games until one of the teams is crowned Champion,” Sarah explained.
“The Championship team is then brought back for a pre-game ceremony that includes a trophy presentation.”
All of the participants also receive an authentic, personalized jersey. In its inaugural year, the event was promoted around Father’s Day as a gift idea and the actual event took place in July.
Sarah said they have already gotten calls from the 2009 participants, wanting to sign up for 2010.
Another successful inaugural event last year was the Field of Sweet Dreams. Last September, fans of all ages had the chance to take part in a giant sleepover on the field at Miller Park.
“It went really well,” Sarah said. “It was a nice, affordable option for families.”
With space for 300 people and a portion of the proceeds benefitting Brewers Charities, Inc., the event sold out in less than a week.
Upon entering the ballpark, participants received a special gift. They then headed down to the field, where they were able to pitch their tents and enjoy a meal.
For entertainment, the Associated Bank Kids Zone was open, folks could take tours of the park, there were raffle prizes given out and fans could send in scoreboard messages that rotated all night.
The attendees watched the Brewers road game on the videoboard, followed by a movie. Before lights out, fans were treated to a bedtime story, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, read by Dave Bush and Corey Hart via the scoreboard.
In the morning, everyone was awakened by the sound of the boom cannons (fireworks) and Uecker’s home run call piped through the sound system. All attendees also got a keepsake of a personal, professional photo taken at home plate.
“I personally had a blast. It was a lot of fun,” Sarah recounted. “That was my favorite event from last year.”
Along with these events, Brewers Enterprises also hosted Miller Park Movies in 2009, bringing the nostalgia of the classic American drive-in movie theater to the parking lots of Miller Park.
Another memorable Brewers Enterprises production took place in August of 2008 for the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary Celebration, when H.O.G. members were treated to a special event that took place on the Miller Park grounds featuring concerts by artists like Sugarland and Kid Rock.
“These kind of events really show people that you can use the footprint of Miller Park in different ways,” Jason said.
In addition to planning and executing all of these events, Brewers Enterprises has also been retained by IMG to sell advertising in the game day program for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship this year. Rounds 1 and 2 will be at the Bradley Center.
“It’s an example of how we have diversified and come up with different sources of revenue,” Jason noted.
Diversified indeed. From ballpark tours and meetings to Little League games and weddings; from concerts and sleepovers to boot camps and road trips, Brewers Enterprises does it all, proving that Miller Park is about more than just baseball.
It also proves, once again, that there is no offseason.
For more information on any of the events mentioned in this article, or to book your event at Miller Park in 2010, call Brewers Enterprises at (414) 902-4452.
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