Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’
The Brewers head to Phoenix Municipal Stadium in a few hours to face the Oakland Athletics. Yovani Gallardo will get the start against former Brewer, RHP Ben Sheets.
Here is today’s line up and game notes:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Carlos Gomez CF
Ryan Braun LF
Jim Edmonds RF
Gregg Zaun DH
George Kottaras C
Alcides Escobar SS
Adam Heether 3B
Steffan Wilson 1B
Yovani Gallardo RHP
Tomorrow, I’m off to Tucson for the other half of the Brewers split squad game. I will report to you on the fabulous drive from Phoenix to Tucson.
Game one of the 2010 Spring Training season is finally here. The Brewers head to Scottsdale Stadium to face the San Francisco Giants today and everyone is excited to get on the field. First pitch is at 2 p.m. CT and the game can be heard on Newsradio 620 WTMJ-AM and the Statewide Brewers Radio Network as Hall of Fame announcer Bob Ucker will be joined in the booth by Cory Provus for the call. It is a beautiful morning in Phoenix today and the beautiful weather will hold on throughout the day.
Here are today’s Brewers gamenotes brought to you by Mike Vassallo, Media Relations Director for your Milwaukee Brewers: March 4 at San Francisco.pdf
Another piece of news out of Brewers Camp this morning, The contract of Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo was renewed today. With that transaction, the contracts of all Brewers have been signed for 2010.
For those of you who have never been to Spring Training before, I thought I would explain how “road” games like today’s work. The team is scheduled to stretch at 9:30 a.m. Phoenix time, as usual. Then, they will have a light workout here at Maryvale Baseball Park including batting practice. The team will come back in the clubhouse, get ready for the game, have a little lunch and then board a bus for Scottsdale Stadium around 11:15 a.m. The team boards the bus in uniform, ready for the game. Maryvale to Scottsdale Stadium is about a 20-25 minute drive so the team will get there, take a little infield practice and loosen up before the 1 p.m. game.
The day before every road game, the coaching staff posts a travel roster. The travel roster has a list of every player in camp and if your name is circled, you are scheduled to travel to the game. Those who do not travel, stay back at Maryvale and get some extra conditioning work in. Later in Spring, Manager Ken Macha will often give players who aren’t circled a full day off to unwind and tell them not to even report to the park.
Here is today’s travel roster. The team is bringing ten pitchers, three catchers, ten infielders and six outfielders to face the Giants. It doesn’t look like any coaches are circled so I guess they have the day off!
Following the game, the team will get back on the bus, in uniform and head back to Maryvale where they will get any postgame treatment, shower and leave for the day.
That is the routine for pretty much every Spring Training “road” game with the exception of trips to Tucson. With an hour and a half drive to Tucson, the team will dress and take batting practice there and normally leave Maryvale around 8 a.m. Maryvale is pretty centrally located in the Valley, so there really aren’t any bus rides to game that are longer than 30-35 minutes.
The lineups for today’s game are posted below and I will have some pictures of the day’s activities following the game.
LINE UP CHANGE AT 9:45 AM PHOENIX TIME – MCGEHEE REPLACES GAMEL STRAIGHT UP
Rickie Weeks 2B
Carlos Gomez CF
Corey Hart RF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Gregg Zaun C
Craig Counsell SS
Jody Gerut LF
Jeff Suppan RHP
Andres Torres CF
Edgar Renteria SS
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Juan Uribe 2B
Fred Lewis LF
Brett Pill 1B
Eugenio Velez RF
Eli Whiteside C
Barry Zito LHP
It was a pretty busy Friday in Brewers Camp today. Today was the day that the position players reported to camp meaning the clubhouse was full with Brewers. Alcides Escobar was the final Brewer to report (and, no that is not a negative thing for him because the team encouraged him to take some time off following his stint in the Venezuelan Winter League) and he participated in some batting practice and took some grounders with the rest of the infielders.
It was nice to have the entire team together today and the full official workouts begin tomorrow. The team will have workouts tomorrow through Tuesday and then have an intrasquad game at Maryvale Baseball Park on Wednesday.
The weather was perfect today, about 70 degrees and not a cloud to be seen. I have a lot of pictures for everyone today, so I will get right to them.
Brewers Catcher Angel Salome goes over some questions in the visiting clubhouse at Maryvale Baseball Park. Aleta Mercer and Deron Anderson set up and record short interviews with each player for scoreboard entertainment purposes during the regular season at Miller Park.
Inside the Brewers batting tunnel, a group from Froedert and the Medical College of Wisconsin set up sensors to record and analyze the throwing motion of Brewers pitchers. Today, five pitchers participated in throwing in front of these sensors. The sensors were hooked up to a computer that analyzed the throwing motion of each player. The video will then be used by Brewers coaches, players and front office staff to help prevent injuries and improve performance. Even the smallest adjustment can make for improvement in the delivery of each pitcher. Players are encouraged to participate, but it is not mandated.
The computer screen shows little black dots. Those are what the computer sees after the lights pick up the reflectors. This is the outline of Yovani Gallardo as he was preparing to pitch. You guys may think its odd that I didn’t post any pictures of the players actually pitching with all those little reflectors on. There is a simple reason for that. In order to get the most accurate reading of the each players body when in the pitching motion, the players had to pitch in, well, their underwear. I really didn’t want to embarass anyone seeing as I have to work with these guys on a daily basis. I hope you understand. This is a family blog! Anyway, this is the first of five days in which the team is doing this , so maybe there will be an opportunity to show some more photos.
Here is a “hot off the presses” copy of the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Media Guide sitting on my desk. The first shipment of guides came in to Phoenix today. This is always the biggest offseason project of the Brewers Media Relations Department and it is always an exciting day when the hard copy of the guide is on my desk. Mike Vassallo, Ken Spindler and I spent a lot of time on this year’s guide and we are happy it turned out well. Fans can pick up their copy of the guide at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic and the FanZone at Maryvale Baseball Park beginning Monday afternoon.
Tomorrow is the first full workout for the team. It should be another busy day here as a new routine begins. I should have some more photos up for you this weekend. Also, look for a behind the scenes tour of Maryvale Baseball Park in the next couple of days as well. Some of you have never been able to come out here before and we want to make sure you are able to see what goes on here at Maryvale. We should have that up for you all next week.
The weather cooperated today as the rain stopped and made way for clear skies and dry conditions today in Phoenix. It was a bit on the cool side and the wind made it feel at times quite brisk, but the Brewers Pitchers and Catchers were able to get in a full workout today.
The workout included conditioning, bunting, and the always popular “PFP,” short for Pitchers Fielding Practice. Pitchers also had some throwing work today as a group through bullpen sessions. The early reporting position players worked out on the “backfields” at Maryvale Baseball Park, taking batting practice and running through light fielding drills.
I took a couple photos today to show you all what was going on in camp.
In this conditioning exercise, players are seen balancing on a foam square on one leg while “juggling” two balls. One ball was a regular baseball and the other was a slightly larger and heavier training ball. Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Joyner stressed the importance of players using their core strength to maintain their balance.
Tim Dillard covers first in a PFP drill. Pitchers simulated the motion of delivering a pitch and then ran to cover first as if the hitter hit the ball to the first baseman. PFP drills are quite common in Spring Training as players not only get used to their mechanics on the mound, but also get into a groove with their general fielding.
Catcher Matt Treanor works with Third Base Coach Brad Fischer on catching drills. The catchers today worked on throwing runners out on the bases. Catchers, just like pitchers, have to get their arm strength built up during the first workouts of Spring Training.
One of the more popular drills early on in Spring Training is the bunting station. Players work on getting bunts down to certain locations–especially down the line. Point values are awarded for laying down bunts in specific locations. Players normally take ten pitches each round and aim five down the left field line and five down the right field line in hopes to score the most points.
The bunting station always draws one of the bigger crowds of fans during workout days. Players always get into it especially when it is made a competition. Just the pitchers are participating this week, but when the full squad reports next week, they too will participate.
That is all from today at Maryvale Baseball Park. We will have more action for you from Brewers Spring Training tomorrow. Again, if you have any questions about Spring Training or any comments, please feel free to e-mail us!
This morning was the first official workout for pitchers and catchers at Maryvale Baseball Park. The weather was cloudy, cool and the rain was on and off, but pitchers and catchers were still able to get in their throwing today.
Pitchers and Catchers reported to camp on Saturday and yesterday was Physicals and Administrative day which made today the first day of official workouts.
The team took the field around 9:45 a.m. Arizona time and worked out for about two hours. Pitchers threw bullpen sessions and didn’t take part in any “PFP,” defensive or other conditioning drills due to the wet ground. Manager Ken Macha addressed the media as he does on a daily basis before the workout and Pitching Coach Rick Peterson led the pitchers in some their normal throwing.
Some of the position players who reported to camp early participated in some light throwing, took some batting practice in the cages and did some infield work with Bench Coach Willie Randolph.
It looks as though the weather will be clearing up tomorrow so the regular slate of activities for pitchers and catchers will be on.
Brewers Manager Ken Macha meets with reporters for his daily media session.
Newly acquired Catcher Gregg Zaun catches Gallardo’s bullpen session. If you notice the string in front of the plate, it was installed by Peterson in order to train pitchers to get the ball low in the strike zone. The string lines up around the low end of the strike zone.
Ed Sedar (left), Macha and General Manager Doug Melvin observe the workouts and discuss the first day.
Peterson and Gallardo talk after Gallardo’s bullpen session.
A few of the players are still milling around the clubhouse and finishing their lunch. The sun looks like it is trying to peak out a little bit which will make for a nice afternoon. I will have more updates throughout the week from here at Maryvale!
So if you live in Milwaukee it’s pretty obvious to you that our weather the last couple of days was pretty rough. Snow, cold, wind, you get the idea–we even had an earthquake last night! With all that, there is one thing that gets everyone through the long winter: the thought of the upcoming baseball season. Maryvale Baseball Park will be the Brewers home for the next seven weeks and it officially began today with the packing and departure of the equipment truck.
We came one step closer to the start of baseball season today as the second equipment truck was packed up and departed for Phoenix, Arizona where the weather is a little bit more welcoming (it’s 60 and cloudy today and according to my trusty iPhone app, highs will reach into the mid-70s this weekend).
The equipment truck departure has become somewhat of an event. We invite the cameras from local television stations and have the World Famous Klement’s Racing Sausages help with the packing of the truck (they go to Spring Training because they also need to be in shape for the long season). It really is a fun day. It kind of gives people around here at Miller Park a sigh of relief that we are ready to go.
The clubhouse crew who is left in Milwaukee, Matt Smith, Alex Sanchez and Ben Wilkes help organize and oversee the loading of the truck. The rest of the Brewers Clubhouse staff, Tony Migliaccio, Phil Rozewicz and Jason Shawger have been in Phoenix for about two weeks handling the arrival of the first equipment truck, setting up for Spring Training and helping with Brewers Fantasy Camp. Everything we would need to run our operation here is sent down to Arizona on the equipment truck. Bats, balls, shoes, medical supplies, files, uniforms, practice gear, office supplies, bobbleheads–we want to make our operation in Arizona run as smoothly down there as it does here at Miller Park.
The front office staff packs personal items on the truck as well. Since I really don’t wear short sleeves much during the Wisconsin winter, I always pack a trunk full of them. I also like to put some other clothes and supplies on the truck just so I’m comfortable when I arrive in Phoenix.
The truck left Miller Park around 1 p.m. today and is set to arrive in Phoenix on Sunday. When it arrives, the clubhouse crew in Phoenix will unpack the truck and prepare for the first wave of players and coaches to report next week.
I will begin to post regular updates to the blog upon my arrival in Phoenix on Wednesday. I have a Spring Training travelers guide coming as well as daily updates from camp. Until then, I will try and enjoy the snow for one more week.
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.
Is there someone you’d like to see profiled in this feature? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well the rush of the Holiday Season is over and 2010 is here. I enjoyed my Holiday and I’m looking forward to getting back to a busy month of January. Yes, that’s right I said it. January will be a busy month here at Miller Park. I know it is hard to think about baseball when temperatures are barely reaching 20 degrees here in Milwaukee (this morning was pretty tough driving to work, my fingers and toes are finally thawing out), but things will really pick up here at Miller Park beginning today.
Here in the Media Relations Department, we are in full Media Guide mode. We are putting the final touches on the guide to ensure a delivery in time for the first Spring Training game. There are a lot of things that need to be tied up with the guide and it will consume much of our time this month. The Media Guide is one of the biggest projects our department works on every year. Mike Vassallo, Ken Spindler and I have been putting the pieces of the book together since the end of last season and are quite relieved when the finished product goes to press.
Plans are also coming together for Brewers On Deck on Sunday, January 31 at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Many months of planning have gone into this event, led by Aleta Mercer, and it will all come together at the end of the month when we get to celebrate a wonderful day of Brewers activities. Check out brewers.com/ondeck for the latest information. This will be a day that no Brewers fan will want to miss. We will keep you updated here on the latest announcements regarding On Deck.
On the Baseball side, General Manager Doug Melvin and his crew will continue to make steps to improve the team on the field. The arbitration process will also heat up in the next couple of weeks and the finishing touches will be put on the roster will be made prior to Spring Training.
Finally, many of the ballpark improvement projects are well underway here at Miller Park. There are construction crews all around Miller Park working on a number of the improvement projects I wrote about here in November.
We will also have a couple of other announcements regarding ticket packages, season promotional items and other special announcements leading up to the 2010 season that will come in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned to this blog as well as brewers.com, although there is no baseball for the next two months, there will be plenty of other activity surrounding the team that will get fans ready for a great 2010 season. Until then, here is a list of some important dates leading up to Spring Training:
Tuesday, January 19 - Exchange Date for Arbitration Numbers
Sunday, January 31 – Brewers On Deck, Midwest Airlines Center, Downtown Milwaukee
Wednesday, February 10 – Equipment Truck is loaded and departs for Phoenix
Saturday, February 20 - Pitchers and Catchers Report to Spring Training
Friday, February 26 – Position Players Report to Spring Training
Thursday, March 4 – First Spring Training Game vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale Stadium
Wednesday, March 10 – Sunday, March 14 – Brewers Road Crew Spring Training Trip
The Marketing Department is currently working on advertising, programs and signage for our Brewers On Deck event, which takes place on Sunday, January 31 at the Midwest Airlines Center, so I thought who better to select for my next “There is No Offseason for” interview than the force behind it all, Brewers Senior Director of Entertainment and Broadcasting, Aleta Mercer.
Entering her 18th Season with the Club in 2010, Aleta has a myriad of responsibilities, from taking care of the talent and crews that work together to provide Brewers baseball on both radio and television (and the visiting talent and crews as well), to making sure that fans always find something enjoyable here at the ballpark, whether it is interactive games, entertainment on the video board, the music played between innings, the mascots, pre-game presentations or any of the hundreds of other attractions Miller Park has to offer.
Aleta is also the lady who schedules the ceremonial First Pitches and books the talent for the National Anthem. Over her time here, Aleta’s worked with a wide range of celebrities and even animals, but she’s been most impressed with local Wisconsin talent.
“At this point, 18 years down the road, I really wish I had taken copious notes so I could say ‘Oh, I remember that!’ but I think that more than having celebrities that are my absolute favorite, I think our local talent is just outstanding. They are more than supportive. Beyond being so talented, they love Brewers baseball. I can give you a list of names, but guaranteed, I’d leave somebody off and that would be horrible, but they know who they are and they are incredible,” Aleta said.
In addition, Aleta says, “We actually end up with a lot of celebrities in the ballpark who don’t perform for us. The Anthem is a very difficult song…. You would be more surprised, I would think, by the number of celebrities that say they would just love to come out to enjoy the game instead.”
Although there are not a lot of MLB rules that pertain to what Clubs can and cannot do in the pre-game ceremonies, the most important rule is that the game starts on time. Once we declare our starting time, then that is the time we are held to.
“It is kind of funny, though,” Aleta mused.
“As much as we plan everything to the minute, it is with the understanding that we can’t be entirely married to it. We understand it is still live entertainment and that anything could happen. You know, the dog that is assigned to run the first pitch ball out there could just decide to run in circles and yes — it’s happened. At that point, you just have to smile and go with it. It’s kind of fun.”
So you’re probably wondering what Aleta does in the offseason when there are no games to be broadcast, no Anthems to be sung and no crowds to entertain.
Well… see, that’s not exactly true.
“Right now our focus is on the Brewers On Deck program. It is kind of exciting and I would say it is very similar to what we do here at Miller Park in that when fans come to Miller Park, we know that primarily they are interested in the ball game. They are coming out to see baseball and our staff runs around and tries to figure out ways to bolster that, making sure that everybody has something fun and interesting to do.
Brewers On Deck is very similar in that we know that a lot of people who are going to the On Deck event want autographs and photographs, that sort of thing. We do our best to bolster that. We make sure that if you go to the event and you don’t end up with that one autograph that you wanted, that there is something else there that you will really enjoy.”
Aleta has a large team assembled to help run the Brewers On Deck event and that team spans across virtually every department from Consumer Marketing to Stadium Operations and Community Relations; from Corporate Marketing, Retail, Media Relations to Brewers Charities, Inc. and more.
The Brewers On Deck event has taken many forms since it first began at Brookfield Square Mall in 2004. Each year, we learn a little more and try to grow the event to make it bigger and better than even before. Last year was the first year that the event was held at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. This year, we’re returning to the same location, but we have even more space to work with and more attractions to entertain fans once they get in the door.
“Last year we had our Winter Warm-Up event that had limited access at the Riverside Theater. It was just met with wild acclaim and this year, we wanted to bring aspects of that program to On Deck, so we will have some of those same kind of programs — Game Shows, Fashion Shows — it will be a neat addition. We also have a Brewers Museum. It is just a fun way to look back on the history of Brewers baseball in Milwaukee,” Aleta said.
After On Deck, Aleta and her staff take a deep breath and immediately go to Arizona for Fantasy Camp, where they do a little video work with the participants and coaches. Brewers Fantasy Camp runs from January 31 through February 7. (Note: There is still time to sign up! For more information, click here.)
“It’s good fun to see fans enjoying their time as Major Leaguers,” said Aleta, who will return to Arizona just one week later for Spring Training.
“Part of what we do for Spring Training is we go down and ask players questions, we take video and we get to know players better so we can better present the players to our fans. Fantasy Camp is kind of a precursor to that because we do the same thing with those participants.”
When Aleta and her staff arrive at Spring Training, they do some headshot work, talk to the players and ask them questions about their likes and dislikes. Their goal is to get the players comfortable with seeing them and a camera so as her staff comes back to them during the year, the players will know that they are there to introduce them to the fans.
“This also gets us started on making plans for the season in terms of what we’re going to do on the video board, what we’re going to do between innings. February is when it really starts to come together,” said Aleta.
Aleta is not in charge of the Spring Training broadcast and entertainment — we’ll get to that in a another interview — and that’s just fine because once she has all of the player interaction her staff requires and she has met with broadcast partners and sponsors down in Maryvale, Arizona, it’s full steam ahead when she gets back to Milwaukee.
“When we get back, we are well into March. That leaves us with a couple of weeks to get ready for the season.That’s when we bring in the Brew Crew and start working on the activities we’re going to do between innings and some of the mascot events. That’s when we really start rehearsing,” Aleta said.
In fact, if you find yourself down at Friday’s Front Row for lunch in March, don’t be surprised if you see a random Sausage Race break out, hear music blasting over the sound system or see messaging on the LED boards. That’s just Aleta preparing for the season.
“The other way that we ‘practice’ is with the Exhibition Games that we’ll have at Miller Park this year,” Aleta said, referring to the games on Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3 vs. the Detroit Tigers.
“The Exhibition Games are our first and final real ‘rehearsal’ before the start of the season.”
As you can see, Aleta is another member of our Front Office who works tirelessly year round to enhance the fan experience. Next time you make it out to Miller Park, make sure you take note of all of the little details that make everything that much more fun for you — that’s Aleta and her staff hard at work.
Also, make sure you check out all of the fruits of our labor at Brewers On Deck on Sunday, January 31. Be on the lookout for the lady that is calm, cool, collected and in charge. That’s Aleta Mercer.
Brewers On Deck takes place on Sunday, January 31 from 10am to 5pm at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Advance tickets are just $15 for adults and $9 for kids. Autograph sessions will be staggered throughout the day with autograph tickets ranging from free to $25 (available only at the event). A portion of the proceeds goes to Brewers Charities, Inc. To purchase tickets, click here.
Spring Training is easily one of my favorite things about working for the Brewers. I look forward to traveling to Phoenix every February. Everything about it is fantastic: the weather (usually 80 degrees and sunny), the optimism (everyone is in first place), the laid back atmosphere (fans can get up close with the players and games are played in intimate ballparks) and the fans (a great mix of people of all ages and from all over the country).
Spring Training is a great baseball experience for the avid fan all the way down to the newest baseball fan. If you are a Brewers fan who has never been to Spring Training, it should definitely be on your list of things to do.
The Brewers and Brewers Enterprises today announced an awesome opportunity for Brewers fans to visit Spring Training 2010 in Phoenix and cheer on the Brew Crew. The first ever Brewers Road Crew Spring Training road trip will be from March 10 – 14, 2010–perfect timing as the cold Wisconsin winter is dragging on. Brewers Enterprises, led by Jason Hartlund and his crew, have really put together a complete package and have taken out the hassle of figuring out details of a Spring Training trip.
Fans that are a part of the trip will get to see two games at the Brewers Spring Training home, Maryvale Baseball Park. They will also get to see the Brewers take on the Chicago White Sox at Glendale’s Camelback Ranch. Camelback Ranch opened in 2008 and is the Spring Training home of the White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. I have been to all the Cactus League ballparks and, in my opinion, Camelback Ranch and Maryvale Baseball Park are two of the best Spring Training experiences in the Cactus League. Game tickets and transportation are included to all three games.
Guests on the trip will stay at the Embassy Suites Biltmore in Phoenix. It is one of the best locations in the Valley. It is centrally located to great shopping, dining and golf locations. You can literally walk right across the street to the Biltmore Fashion Park, filled with great restaurants and shopping. The guestrooms in the hotel are two-room suites which make for plenty of room. The hotel will host a special welcome reception for the Brewers Road Trip that will feature visits from Brewers front office personnel.
As an added bonus, included in the trip is a Loge Outfield ticket to Brewers Opening Day, Monday, April 5, 2010 vs. Colorado. They really have thought of everything when planning this trip! There will be other surprises along the way for guests of the trip including an opportunity to run in the Klement’s Sausage Race at Maryvale Baseball Park.
Space is limited to only eighty (80) guests and the travel packages go on sale tomorrow (Tuesday, November 24) at 10 a.m. The price for a single traveler is $1,995 and the price for a couple (double occupancy) $3,695. Each additional guest per room is $1,850. If you need more information, visit brewers.com/roadcrew or call 414-902-GOAZ (4629) and some of the wonderful people in Brewers Enterprises will help you out.
Spring Training is a “must visit” for every Brewers fan and this is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Brewers Spring Training baseball.