Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’
It was a busy day around Maryvale Baseball Park today with this morning’s Norichika Aoki press conference and more position players reporting before tomorrow’s official report day.
The sun is shining and temperatures are above average as today’s high will top off in the mid to upper 70s. Plenty of action on the field as pitchers and catchers continued their on field workouts while a growing group of position players participated in some informal hitting and fielding drills.
Tomorrow, all position players will report to camp before Saturday’s first official workout.
One of the newest Brewers, Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, reported to camp at Maryvale Baseball Park today and we held a press conference to welcome him. General Manager Doug Melvin, manager Ron Roenicke and interpreter Kosuke Inaji (who was with the Brewers last year serving as Takashi Saito’s interpreter) all took part in the press conference. It was attended by a number of Milwaukee media who are down here as well as international media.
The Brewers signed Aoki to a two-year contract on January 17. The Brewers were awarded the negotiating rights to Aoki on December 19 after the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League accepted the highest bid.
Aoki, who turned 30 on January 5, has played his entire eight-year professional career with Yakult, batting .329 with 84 HR, 385 RBI and 164 stolen bases in 985 games. He has batted over .300 in six of his seven full seasons and was Central League batting champion in 2005 (.344), 2007 (.346) and 2010 (.358). He was 2005 Central League Rookie of the Year and is a six-time Golden Glove Award winner.
Aoki has participated in both World Baseball Classic events (2006 and 2009), batting .310 with 8 RBI in 15 games, and competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics, batting .294 with 1 HR and 7 RBI in 9 games for Japan. Aoki worked out for the Brewers on January 8 here at Maryvale Baseball Park. He bats left and throws right and will wear #7 as a Brewer.
Aoki was scheduled to participate in an informal workout today at 11:30 a.m. Phoenix time. I will hopefully have pictures of that later in the day.
Action picked up at Maryvale Baseball Park this morning as Brewers pitchers and catchers took the field for their first official workout. After a morning meeting led by manager Ron Roenicke, the pitchers and catchers participated in about two and a half hours of drills, workouts and bullpen sessions.
In addition to the complement of pitchers and catchers who were involved in formal workouts, a number of position players took part in informal workouts. Included in that group were Nyjer Morgan, Mat Gamel, Logan Schafer, Taylor Green, Zelous Wheeler and Eric Farris.
Below are some photos from the action on the fields at the Brewers Maryvale complex.
This routine is scheduled for the rest of the week until Saturday when the position players take part in their first official full workout. I will continue to post photos and updates from Maryvale throughout Spring Training, so stay tuned!
Pitchers and catchers (and John!) reported to camp in Arizona this weekend, position players are scheduled to report on Friday, and this Saturday, it’s YOUR turn to report to Miller Park for the Brewers Arctic Tailgate as individual tickets go on sale at 9am!
This is the sixth year that the “Arctic Tailgate” party will mark the start of individual ticket sales and over the years, in spite of February usually being a cold, cruel month here, it’s become quite the Milwaukee tradition with some fans camping out days in advance (Note: For rules and guidelines, please see safety regulations below).
The Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages, Bernie Brewer and Brewers alumni players are always on hand to greet the fans and the first 2,000 fans in line receive a hot dog and soda, compliments of Klement’s, Pepsi and Sportservice, as well as an Arctic Tailgate t-shirt.
The hearty crowd, recalling past Opening Days that have been snowed out, or perhaps used to tailgating before Packers games at the Frozen Tundra, is not at all fazed by temperatures in single digits, snow, or swirling winds.
Indeed. Like the USPS quote, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays” these faithful fans from getting their hands on the hottest tickets before anyone else.
Many fans do it for the tradition and fun—it’s just like your typical pregame tailgate in the middle of July, with games of bags, brats on the grill, and cold beer (okay, maybe a little colder than normal)— but many also do it for the limited number of tickets for Opening Day that will be available at this event.
That’s right. The Miller Park Box Office will be the only place where fans will be able to purchase individual Opening Day tickets on February 25; no phone or online orders will be accepted. Each fan will be limited to a maximum of four tickets for Opening Day, based on availability.
Over the years, when I haven’t been down in Arizona during the event, I’ve been to Arctic Tailgate and I’ve talked with and interviewed fans, but I’ve always been there in the daytime, the day before the event; stopping by briefly the evening before; or working during the event on Saturday morning.
This year, I’ve decided to do something just a bit outside my comfort zone—I’m going to spend the night at Miller Park!
Now there have certainly been many late nights here at the office after games and I’ve camped out on the field before for our Field of Sweet Dreams event, but never in February. To be honest, I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to the cold, but I want to get the true experience that I’m helping promote to fans (plus it’s been the warmest February on record, so I figure now is the best time to do this!).
So, with that being said—if you’re at the event, look for me! I will be roaming around, taking photos, interviewing fans and live blogging from Arctic Tailgate. I might even have some surprises for fans as well!
Of course, if you don’t want to brave the cold, you can always live vicariously through me by following along here online and then get your tickets and parking at brewers.com or by phone at (414) 902-4000 beginning at 9am on Saturday.
The Miller Park Box Office will be open until 5 pm that day. Normal Box Office hours are 9 am – 7 pm Monday – Friday (beginning Monday, February 27), 9 am – 5 pm on Saturday and 11 am – 5 pm on Sunday.
For full details on the Arctic Tailgate event, click here.
Who should I look for on Friday night/Saturday morning?
Please note the following safety regulations for the Arctic Tailgate. Participants will not be permitted to set camp prior to noon on Thursday, February 23. No hand-made or hand-built shelters shall be permitted. No shelters made of cardboard or wood shall be permitted. Shelters with a footprint greater than 100 square feet are not permitted unless otherwise approved by the Brewers. Miller Park power sources are not available for public use and gas generators are not permitted on the property. Only State-Approved gas/propane heating/grilling units with fuel-valve turn-offs and self-contained charcoal/wood units are permitted; provided, however, that they must be a minimum distance of 25 feet from the building or shelters. Activity and items permitted on the premises are subject to the approval of the Brewers. The Brewers reserve the right to remove any shelter, items, or individuals from the property.
Late last week, I wrote about how MLB revealed the top 50 fans vying to be a contestant in the 2012 MLB Fan Cave–including two Brewers candidates (or FANdidates, as I like to call them), Kurt Peter and Stephen Sievwright.
Now through Wednesday, February 22, fans can view video submissions from all 50 applicants on MLBFanCave.com and vote for their favorites.
Based on fan voting, quality of the original submissions, and the ability of the contestants to generate buzz and interest in their campaigns, MLB will narrow the field to 30 finalists who will then earn a trip to Spring Training in Arizona at the end of February, where they will compete in a variety of challenges to determine the final group of contestants.
These winners will begin the season in the MLB Fan Cave in New York City with the goal of watching all 2,430 MLB games on a large wall of big screen Sony televisions while chronicling their experiences online through videos, blogs, and social media. Along the way, they will compete with one another over the course of the season in a series of challenges, with fans online helping decide who gets to stay in the Fan Cave and who gets eliminated with one eventual winner crowned before the end of the World Series.
All 50 finalists have been hard at work rocking the vote since the announcement was made and this morning, I had the chance to catch up with these gentlemen so I can give you a little background on why you should, as always–VOTE BREWERS!
Kurt Peter, a native of Elm Grove, Wisconsin, is a 23-year-old assistant athletic director at a local high school. He’s been a Brewers fan for as long as he can remember, even though his brother was a Braves fan growing up and he sometimes faced peer pressure to change allegiances.
Kurt believes fans should vote for him because, “I have a good personality, I love the game of baseball and I will ask the questions that some people might not,” he said, referring to the Fan Cave participants’ opportunities to interview players and celebrities throughout the season. Though he assures me he’s a Brewers fan, he’s most looking forward to the possibility of meeting Texas Rangers LHP Derek Holland.
Kurt has never been to Arizona to see the Brewers in Spring Training but was planning a trip to go out to Arizona for the first time this year; however, now he hopes that trip will be as one of the Top 30 contestants for the MLB Fan Cave. To get there, he’s got to campaign hard and so far, he’s been able to garner a good buzz, primarily through Twitter and YouTube (click here to watch some of Kurt’s mini videos). It also helps that he works at a high school; all of the students know about his quest and have been helping him get the word out.
If he’s lucky enough to make it to the actual Fan Cave in New York, he’s not scared of the city (though he’s been there only once) or the prospect of living with 5-7 others for the season. “I’d be fine with it,” Kurt said, “I mean, they’re hardly strangers at this point. We’ve all connected since the announcement and we’re helping each other.” Click here to vote for Kurt. Also, follow him on Twitter: @FalconKP.
Stephen Sievwright is a 28-year-old student from Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He’s been a Brewers fan since he was nine years old and took his first trip to County Stadium. It’s a memory that is still very vivid to him as he remembers getting to meet pitcher Jaime Navarro.
Stephen has a self-proclaimed dry sense of humor, which really comes through in his video essay. He feels he is best suited to represent the Brewers fan base in the Fan Cave because he takes it so passionately. “I will be watching every game whether it’s in Stevens Point or New York,” he told me. He also told me that he wants fans to know that he’s just a “normal guy from a really small town.”
Indeed, this process has given Stephen a new perspective on some things. “I was reading an article recently that said that Stevens Point has the best tasting tap water in all of the United States. It pointed out how the water came from a ‘tiny town of 25,000′,” he said. “I hadn’t really thought of it that way before, but when you compare it to a place like New York, it would certainly be interesting for me to be transplanted into a place of over 8 million people!”
Stephen has never been to New York before, nor has he been to see the Brewers in Spring Training, but he’s hoping that he’ll get to do both things this year if he remains in the running for the Fan Cave. He’s also hoping that Brewers closer John Axford will pay another visit to the Cave as that is the person he’s most looking forward to meeting.
When I asked him about his campaign strategy, he answered in his typical dry sense of humor style by saying, “Well, I just concluded an interview with the local paper. So we know that goes out to 25,000 people…oh, and I’ve got my sister locked away in a closet, voting and hitting refresh all day.” Click here to vote for Stephen. Also, follow him on Twitter: @Siev27.
So there you have it! The two Brewers Fandidates for the 2012 MLB Fan Cave.
Are you still here? Stop reading and go vote for Kurt and Stephen!
Earlier this month, John gave you a glimpse into his offseason life and now it’s my turn to give you one into mine.
First of all, I would argue that the offseason is actually a busier time than during the season in my world.
Yes, that’s right—offseason, schmoffseason!
In my role as Senior Manager of Advertising & Marketing, my job responsibilities include: leading and initiating all general market advertising and marketing projects; serving as the internal lead for social media strategy sessions; initiating brainstorming sessions to discuss concepts for upcoming and current Consumer Marketing projects; evaluating and researching new Club opportunities, promotions and marketing initiatives; preparing proposals, drafting contracts and writing sales, marketing and evaluation reports; and of, course, co-authoring this blog!
Our Consumer Marketing Department, headed up by Vice President of Consumer Marketing, Jim Bathey, is comprised of Ticket Sales (Season Tickets, Group Tickets, Suite Sales, and Ticket Operations) and Marketing/Advertising. Under that umbrella, we have an internal creative team, led by my boss, Kathy Schwab, Senior Director of Marketing, that works to produce all of the advertisements and collateral. In sum, the easiest way to tell you what we do is to say that basically anything that you, the consumer, sees has most likely passed our desks in some way, shape, or form.
While I don’t physically design the look (we’ve got Sr. Graphic Designer Jeff Harding and Graphic Designer Molly Arndt to thank for that!), I have a hand in most projects from a creative concepting and copywriting standpoint to scheduling the workflow and making sure our deadlines are met.
Here are just a few of the things that help keep us out of trouble from November through March:
DEPARTMENTAL MEETINGS: Our internal creative team operates like its own creative agency, serving our “clients,” or the other departments within our organization. At the end of the season, we like to sit down with each department individually to discuss their creative needs for the upcoming year so we can begin to think about new ideas, get their projects on a calendar and budget our time accordingly. We meet with everyone from Brewers Enterprises and Community Relations to Accounting and Stadium Operations to make sure that we are ready to help them produce any materials that they might need.
SEASON SEAT HOLDER RENEWAL PACKET: Our first big offseason project is always the Season Seat Holder Renewal Packet. After the season ends, our Season Seat Holders have the first priority to renew their seats for the following season. Putting this packet together means reflecting on the previous season, gathering the new schedule and pricing charts for the upcoming season and updating any new benefit information. Coming off of such a special 2011 Season, we wanted to do something extra special for our Season Seat Holders, so they each received this commemorative 8×10 collage as part of their packet this year:
HOLIDAY 4-PACKS: When the baseball season lasts until nearly Halloween, it’s easy for the rest of the holiday season to sneak up on you. That’s why we have to work ahead in order to be ready to launch our campaign for our ever-popular Holiday 4-Packs. Typically, these packages go on sale about two weeks before Thanksgiving. This year they are available until December 20. Our marketing team works hard to develop a fully-integrated campaign that includes direct mail and print, online, outdoor, radio and TV advertising.
CLUBHOUSE SALE: We’re also charged with advertising our Brewers Clubhouse Sale, which, coincidentally, takes place this Friday and Saturday in the Visitors’ Clubhouse here at Miller Park. You’ll definitely want to check back on Thursday, as John and I are planning on posting our annual Clubhouse Sale Preview!
NEW SEASON TICKET PACKAGES: After renewals and the holiday season, we shift our focus to selling our new season ticket packages. Again, we create advertising campaigns and sales collateral to support these efforts.
BREWERS ON DECK: In January, we’ve got our annual winter fan fest, Brewers On Deck to look forward to. This year, Brewers On Deck takes place on Sunday, January 29 from 10am to 5pm at the Frontier Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Typically, our department will work on the advertising for this event and our outside agency, 2-Story Creative, steps in to assist with all of the banners, signage and decor for the event itself.
SPRING TRAINING & TV COMMERCIALS: Just when the weather in Wisconsin is at its nastiest, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to hop on a plane to Arizona where we work with the players to gather most of what we’ll need for our 2012 in-season advertising efforts. We try to limit our asks of the players once the season begins so that they can focus their efforts on the field; that means that we capture a lot of images—and shoot our TV commercials (with the help of 2-Story Creative)—before our Spring Training games even begin.
INDIVIDUAL ON-SALE (ARCTIC TAILGATE): We return from sunny Arizona to the Arctic…Tailgate, that is. As you know, the Arctic Tailgate, the date our individual tickets go on sale to the public, usually takes place in February. What does that mean for marketing? We have to produce the advertising around the event and create collateral pieces—the most important being the much-anticipated pocket schedule. Usually by that time of year, we’ll have most of our promotions set in place and then we can print our pocket schedules and get them in the hands, wallets and purses of eagerly-awaiting Brewers fans. For the next six months, that pocket schedule will also inadvertently serve as my day planner.
YOUR TICKETS, PARKING PASSES, ETC.: If you’re a Season Seat Holder, you know that the day your tickets arrive in the mail is a very special day. [I always think of this scene in the movie Fever Pitch and imagine many of our Brewers fans react the same way.] Well, did you ever think of the people behind those tickets? The ones who design them, print them, and make sure that your precise number of tickets with your exact seat location get delivered to you—along with your parking books and/or NYCE Club membership? All of those items in your packet have to be produced and that’s what we spend a lot of time on in February and March, making sure everyone is set for Opening Day.
Which brings us to… the start of the new season!
Eek! We’ve got a ton to accomplish in just 129 days! I better wrap this up.
Is it time for Spring Training yet? It might not seem like it if you are living in Milwaukee and looking out the window this morning, but today the Brewers brought us one step closer to Spring and announced the schedule for 2012 Spring Training in Phoenix, Arizona. The Brewers will play their 15th season at Maryvale Baseball Park in 2012. The Spring Training schedule will open on Sunday, March 4 at Maryvale Baseball Park against the San Francisco Giants. The Brewers will play a total of 34 Spring Training games including 16 at Maryvale.
The Brewers will play games at Maryvale Baseball Park against their NL Central Rivals Cincinnati on Thursday, March 8 and Thursday March 29 and Chicago-NL on Saturday, March 10. The Brewers will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a game against Los Angeles of Anaheim in Tempe.
On Tuesday, April 2, the Brewers will play at Chicago-NL in Mesa at 12:00 p.m. and then play against Arizona at Chase Field at 6:40 p.m. The Brewers will again play the Diamondbacks at Chase Field to close out the 2012 Spring Training schedule on Wednesday, April 4 at 12:40 p.m.
Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training on Saturday, February 18 2012 while Position Players report on Friday, February 24.
Tickets for the Milwaukee Brewers home Spring Training games will go on sale at 10 am CT on Monday, December 5 via the internet at brewers.com and by phone at 1-800-933-7890. Normal business hours are from 9am – 5pm CST. Sales at the Maryvale Baseball Park Box Office will begin on Monday, February 6, 2012. Tickets are available in four seating areas: Field Box ($22), Infield Reserved ($16), Outfield Reserved ($13) and Lawn Seating ($8). Information on Spring Training Season Tickets can be obtained by calling the Milwaukee Brewers Ticket Office at 414-902-4000.
Also, fans can take part in the Official Brewers Road Crew Spring Training trip. More information on that trip can be found here: Brewers Road Crew Spring Training trip.
Click the following link for Brewers Spring Training Online headquarters.
Click the following link for a .PDF of the 2012 Spring Training Schedule.
Since the season ended, I get asked probably every other day, “So now what do you do?”
People ask me if I get the winter off, or do I work three hours a day, or if I come in four days a week—I have probably heard it all in seven years. Truth is, yes, things slow down a bit when compared to the regular season, but no, I do not get the entire winter off. I am able to take some more time off here and there, but by no means does that mean we have the winter off.
Cait started this series two before the 2010 season to give inside look at what goes on in the Brewers Front Office during the offseason. We realized that in interviewing others to see what their offseason is like; we never really talked about how we spend our offseason. Cait will tell you about her offseason later, I will fill you in on what goes on in Media Relations now. There is much truth to Cait’s title of “There’s No Offseason For…”
There are a number of important projects that the Media Relations Department works on during the offseason. The most important thing that the Media Relations Department does is make sure that the Brewers stay on the minds of fans throughout the year–no matter if we are on the field or off the field. There are obviously not games going on so baseball might not be on the minds of all of our fans, but our goal is to have people talking and thinking about Brewers baseball as much as possible.
So, after catching my breath following an enjoyable Postseason run, here are some of the main projects that I work on during the offseason:
“The” Media Guide – This is probably our biggest project and the one that takes the most time. At around 350 pages, the Brewers Media Guide is full with Brewers history, facts, news and other information. Myself, Mike Vassallo and Ken Spindler chip away at the project throughout the winter. I love the stats and especially the historical information contained in Media Guides, I grew up reading them and still love reading them.
We would like to have the completed books in hand by the first Spring Training game, so we work with a set of dates that allows us to reach that goal (proud to say that we are early every year, even with some snowstorm shipping delays!). It is a pretty big project as the media guide contains a lot of numbers and statistical information that must be 100% correct. It is quite the process, organizing, resizing and configuring photos; sorting, crunching and updating numbers and most importantly, designing the cover.
The Arizona Fall League – Last year I went down to the Arizona Fall League to write about some of our prospects for the blog. I will be going again this year next week to do the same. Stay tuned for some reports from the last week of the Arizona Fall League in Phoenix.
Brewers On Deck – Perhaps our biggest offseason event, Brewers On Deck—scheduled for Sunday, January 29 2012 at the Frontier Airlines Center in Downtown Milwaukee—is another huge offseason project that involves pretty much every department of the front office. The event requires a lot of planning and I work on a couple of different areas. I put together the Brewers Museum exhibit and work on promotion of the event through social media and traditional media. We also schedule press conferences and other media availability during the event. It is an event that fans look forward to every year and we are all excited to get going on the 2012 event.
The Winter Meetings – The Winter Meetings are an annual MLB event that encompasses a number of things. For one, it is where the Baseball Operations departments from all 30 MLB teams gather to strategize what they need for the upcoming season. Team representatives talk with other team representatives on trades and free agents meet with prospective teams.
As a PR staff, we are there to help the media with any player moves that might involve the Brewers. MLB also hosts a series of PR meetings that include sessions on what is going on in the industry. The Winter Meetings are held during the first week of December and this year will be in Dallas.
Spring Training – Spring Training signifies the end of the “offseason,” but is still part of the preparation process for the upcoming season. We bring our entire operation to Phoenix for about eight weeks where we prepare for the upcoming season with photo shoots, preview interviews, commercial shoots and, well yes, some baseball.
While there are other things that come up during the offseason, those are some of the main projects that I work on during the months without baseball. The games are one of my favorite things about my job, but the anticipation of the upcoming season is something I enjoy as well. Looking at this list, I think I have to get back to work. Until next time…
Tony Migliaccio sure knows his way around the clubhouse.
And he should. He’s the Director of Clubhouse Operations and the
Equipment Manager for the Club and he’s played an integral role in the
clubhouse since Opening Day of 1978, when he started as a batboy and
clubhouse attendant for the visiting side of things.
“It was Paul Molitor‘s first game for the Brewers. I always look back
and kind of laugh that at the time, Molitor made the team and started
the season as shortstop, nobody had really heard of him. Robin [Yount] had some
health issues so he didn’t start on Opening Day, but Molitor did. There
was a picture in the paper back then of Molitor making a play and there
I was, the ball boy down the left-field line, just sitting there, you
know? His first day and mine,” Tony recalls.
third from the left in the bottom row. Paul Molitor is second from the
right in the fourth row.
The next season, Tony switched over to the home clubhouse, where he was a
batboy and a clubhouse attendant three more years before he became the
clubhouse assistant to then Equipment Manager, Bob Sullivan for
approximately four years. When Bob passed away, Tony was given the head
job as Director of Clubhouse Operations and Equipment Manager and he’s
had that ever since.
Tony describes his role as having dual responsibilities:
“You work as the Equipment Manager and in that role, you order all the
equipment the players need to play the game–bats, balls, shoes, clothes, etc. On the
other side of it, we manage and operate the clubhouse, running the
day-to-day operations of that.That part of the job entails clothing
them and providing another service by feeding them breakfast, lunch and
dinner. We do what we can to get them on the field. Everyone has a role.
The trainers’ role is to keep them healthy on the field, the coaches’
job is to teach. Here, we keep a nice house, clothe them, feed them and
make sure they’re happy, play the game and have a good time.” he
“I think everyday is unique. That’s kind of the neat part of it. You can
come in here and every day there is a different challenge or need. Our
role is to make the guys as comfortable as possible. They have enough
hurdles in the game, on the field, and so many other things going on
around them in their lives that we try to make it as comfortable for
them as we can and to create an enjoyable environment.”
Tony and I talked about the change in the uniforms over the years. As
time has progressed, the uniform specifications have gotten a little
more complicated, keeping Tony and his staff on their toes.
“You look at the guys on the field now and compare it to the late 1980s,
where it was all just cookie cutter- you know, 34″ waist pants and a
44″ jersey. Now we’ve got many options, for example, pants can be open
bottom, or more tapered. Some players may wear things bigger,
looser…The marketing of the game has changed as such that there is a
lot more variety–a couple of different jackets, a couple different
Tony told me that the team never had BP tops in the 80s, they just wore
game jerseys. Now in essence, there are six different jerseys and each
player has to have more than one as a backup in case something happens.
When you multiply that times a 25-man roster, plus a few guys that Tony
knows will move up and down in the organization due to injuries,
pitching, etc. that he’ll also need to carry uniforms and equipment for,
you can see he has quite a bit to handle and monitor for inventory.
And, when it comes to Spring Training when a team has such a large roster, you can imagine that Tony is a very busy man.
“In Spring Training you are doing a lot of the same things as you would
during the regular season, but you have twice as many players. We have
53 players here now and we’ll leave here with 25. So that’s the
difference with Spring Training, the magnitude, more people to take care
of, more to feed, more to clothe, more equipment to provide,” Tony
Tony remembers years ago when it seemed like Spring Training was looked
upon as the time that players would use to get in shape. They’d come
down to camp, play 20 games and then go back ready to start the season.
It was much lower key and the days were shorter.
“Now,” Tony said, “Players come down in shape, we play 30 games and
there are more services required. Sometimes, there are two games a day.
It is a little more intense than it used to be.”
“I have been fortunate that I’ve worked in all three facilities that
we’ve been in: Sun City, Chandler and here in Maryvale.You look at the
progression, even just in our area, at the space we’ve had and what
we’ve provided. In Sun City, we had a very tiny equipment room, but you
made it work, you adjusted things. We didn’t provide as much stuff for
the guys. Then we moved to Chandler and it was a little bigger, but now
we have this space, which is twice as big and we’ve already outgrown it
into renting storage facilities to house a lot of the equipment,” Tony
Just like the rest of us, there is no offseason for Tony Migliaccio and
Starting in January, trucks will leave Milwaukee bringing
everything down to set up for camp. Tony and his staff will arrive, help
take part in the Brewers Fantasy Camp, work through Spring Training and
then travel back to Milwaukee for Opening Day and play through the
summer. Then when all the games are done, while their hours are a little
more regular and they have weekends free, they still have to prepare
for the following year, taking inventory, working on the budget, and
Tony also travels with the team.
“I do 90% of the travel. I made every trip for probably about 15 or 16
years and then, 10 to12 years ago, we started breaking up the trips a
little bit so Visiting Clubhouse Manager Phil Rozewicz or Home Clubhouse
Assistant Jason Shawger will make a trip or two. Out of Spring
Training, I will pretty much stay with the team throughout the first
month of April and wait until the middle or end of May to take a trip
off to stay at home, catch up in the office and at home,” Tony said.
In his job, Tony also has to be prepared for anything.
“When we travel throughout the year, part of our extra equipment stock
is carrying blank jerseys and numbers, everything you need to make a
jersey. In each city, we have a reciprocal relationship with the
visiting clubhouse staff that take care of us. They have a seamstress on
hand that they work with so if we get into San Diego late one night and
Vice President-Assistant General Manager Gord Ash calls and says ‘Hey,
we’re bringing up so-and-so,’ I can get to the park early that morning,
pull out everything I need, call our contact, have them come out and put
our jersey together within a couple hours,” he explained.
“Knock on wood, we’ve always got it there in time. I have heard there
have been situations with some teams where they make a move so quickly
that they have to have a player wear a jersey with another name on the
back just to get out there on the field. We’ve been lucky where its
worked out. That’s one great thing about Majestic Athletic being the
licensee and having all of the team for uniforms–they have a good bank
of knowledge as to everyone’s sizes.”
Tony takes extra precautions to be prepared and make sure he’s ready for
anything. When it became likely that we would make the trade for CC
Sabathia in 2008, it was Fourth of July weekend and he knew that
Majestic shuts down for the holidays. Knowing CC’s size and that he had
such unique specs on his gear, Tony took the initiative to order his
uniforms the week before, to have them on hand just in case.
“I figured hey, you know what, if we don’t make the trade, it will be a collector’s item. It all worked out,” he recalled.
Speaking of 2008, making the Postseason that year ranks in the top 10 of Tony’s favorite memories in his time with the Club.
“It pretty neat, the way it came down to the last day.The way it played out was pretty cool,” he said.
“I was also fortunate to be around during the World Series in the early
’80s. I was a young kid then,” Tony said. “Molitor’s 39-game hitting
streak was pretty neat, Robin’s 3000th hit, 1987, that whole start of
winning 13 in a row, Nieves throwing a no-hitter. That was a pretty
unique thing, to start off that hot,” he said.
It was great catching up with Tony and taking a tour of his world, but
with his phone buzzing during our interview and guys stopping him along
the way, I knew I had to let him get back to work.
Here’s to hoping the 2011 season makes Tony’s list of favorite memories!
Greetings from Arizona!
I’m happy to inform you that pitchers, catchers and Cait have all reported to Spring Training!
This week, we’ll be shooting our new TV spots for 2011 down here, but today was an off day for me.
I understand we’re getting some snow back in
Milwaukee, but don’t be too jealous of me–it’s about 50 degrees and
raining here as I write.
I figured that since it isn’t pool or golfing weather, I might as well do some work, so I
headed over to the ballpark to talk with some folks for the blog.
Clouds looking ominous over Maryvale Baseball Park today. It will be 70 and sunny by the time you get here, I promise!
My first stop was to meet with “Mr. Spring Training” himself, Joe Zidanic, our VP-Controller, who moonlights as our director of Spring Training.
Joe Zidanic: VP-Controller & “Mr. Spring Training”
That means that, in addition to his finance
responsibilities in Milwaukee, Joe is pretty much responsible for all of
the business operations in Maryvale: ticket sales,
sponsorship sales (along with Tom Hecht, our VP-Corporate
Marketing), advertising (which he works with our department on), hiring
staff, running the games and serving as the main liaison with the City
When Joe first came to the Brewers in April of
2003, his job was to work in the finance/accounting department as the
So then, how did he get this gig where he flocks to Arizona during two of Wisconsin’s coldest months while getting paid for it?
“In December 2004, I was handed the assignment to
come down here and run Spring Training for the months of February and
March,” Joe said.
“Prior to 2005, which was my first season running
things down here, Spring Training had really been kind of under the
radar so my job was to go in, document everything, develop policies and
procedures and create checklists. I did a good
job and I’m still doing it,” he explained.
I can’t imagine having to balance two separate
jobs, much less essentially relocate for two months of the year, so I
asked Joe how he does it.
“Luckily, I have a great staff in Milwaukee to
handle things and it’s a slower time of the year for us. We’ve already
published our financials, closed the fiscal year-end, closed the
calendar year-end for W-2′s and 1099′s
and have made progress in filing our taxes. It is kind of a nice, slower time for me to break away from the Milwaukee area.”
As far as relocation, Joe will settle into a room
in an extended stay hotel near the Glendale area for the duration of
I had enough trouble packing for just this week and I’m
probably going to end up paying extra for my luggage on the return
flight due to the great shopping down here (don’t worry, Joe, I won’t
try to expense that), so I had to ask: “How on earth do you pack for something like this?”
“Well, that’s a good question,” Joe said. “The
equipment truck leaves in January every year, so I just go to the closet
and get all my short sleeve shirts and shorts and throw them in a bag
and ship them down with everything else,” he said.
Joe’s Spring Training job doesn’t start just when
steps off the plane in Phoenix. He’s got to prepare in advance for those
games, just like we do for our regular season.
There are tickets to sell, promotions to plan, sponsorships to sell and more.
“As far as ticket promotions go, I work with our
ticket office here and back in Milwaukee to try and generate excitement
and ticket sales,” Joe said.
“Last year, we averaged about 4,500 to 5,000 fans
per game. We’re expecting that to be around the same this year, but it
really varies. Attendance will be slower in the beginning and then there
are some peak games in the middle where we’ll
almost reach capacity. It really depends on the week and things like
when Spring Break happens for the colleges in the Phoenix area and
around the United States. Generally, the most popular times are the
second and third weeks in March.”
Joe tells me that the most popular games are also,
not surprisingly, those against the Cubs (March 2 this year) and also,
the Diamondbacks (March 12) because of their local fan base.
“We did a survey out here a couple of years ago and
we’ll get about 50% of the fans coming from Wisconsin. The rest of the
fans will either be fans of the visiting team or local Phoenicians who
are down here,” Joe tells me.
That makes me proud–Brewers fans have always been good travelers!
So, what can you expect if you’re traveling down here this year?
Well, lots of fun and excitement, of course!
Just like our games in Milwaukee, there are giveaways and in-game promotions to entice fans.
“For giveaways, we work with Tom Hecht and his
group in Corporate Marketing. If there are leftover bobble heads from
the prior season, we will use those in the following season’s Spring
Training camp so that we don’t let anything go to
waste and we’re also picking up room in the warehouse back at Miller
Park,” Joe said.
So, if you missed out on your Robin Yount
(March 5), Cecil Cooper (March 8), Hank Aaron (March 21) or Italian
Sausage (March 26) Bobbles at Miller Park, there’s a second chance for you to get them
at Maryvale Baseball Park!
During the games, Joe’s crew will also run popular promotions such as: the
Junior Announcer, which is similar to what we have at Miller Park,
where a child will announce batters during an inning of the game; Jimmy
Buffet’s Margaritaville‘s “Name that
Jimmy Buffet Song”, which is always a fan favorite; the City of Phoenix
golf promotion where a lucky fan who buys a game program that has a
Bernie Brewer autograph on the City’s golf ad will receive a coupon for
free golf at a local City of Phoenix golf course;
and a Hooters promotion where a lucky row is chosen to receive coupons for free wings at the local Hooters restaurant.
Another popular promotion down here is the Miller Lite Thirsty Thursdays, which means that on Thursdays, you can get a game ticket, a beer and visor for just $20. There are three
Thirsty Thursdays this year–March 3 vs. the A’s, March 10 vs. the Rockies and March 17 vs. the White Sox.
In addition to the Miller Lite Thirsty Thursday promotion on
St. Patrick’s Day, the players will be also be wearing a special green
hat, which will eventually be auctioned off to fans.
And just like in Milwaukee, there is even a special
tribute game. On March 22 vs. the San Diego Padres, there will be
a Cerveceros Day in Maryvale, paying tribute to Hispanics in baseball. The Brewers will wear
special Cerveceros jerseys, which is the Spanish translation of ‘Brewers.’ (Note: Our regular-season Cerveceros Day is slated for June 11 vs. the Cardinals at Miller Park.)
“Cerveceros Day is popular down here,” Joe said. “We will use our electronic billboard campaign to promote it. Maryvale is a largely Hispanic area, so we try and reach out to the community and have special things
there. We have had a Mariachi band in years past and we’ll try and do that again this year.”
All in all, there are 17 home games played at Maryvale
and if you make a trip of it, you can catch the Brewers on the road,
too, at one of the other nine Spring Training facilities in the Cactus League, which are all
within an hour of each other.
As you can see, there are lots of things to look forward to if you’re planning on making it down here.
As for Joe, with two jobs in the organization, he
certainly has a lot on his plate, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a
little fun while he’s down in Arizona. When I was talking with him this
morning, I couldn’t help but notice this photo,
hanging in his office.
Turns out that yesterday, Joe, who is also a huge sportsman, went on a javelina hunt where, as you can see, he was successful!
That’s great that Joe had some time to himself his
weekend, because things are really ramping up now and he’ll hit the
ground running next week, starting with the first game on Monday,
Do any of you have any plans to come down to
Arizona? Post your stories of this year’s trip or from years past in the
comment field below. We’d love to hear from you!
If you don’t have plans yet, make some! Click here to get your tickets now!