Results tagged ‘ st. louis cardinals ’

Miller Makes the Trip to Miller Park

In case you’re wondering, yes, that was current TNT game analyst and retired five-time All-Star NBA player, Reggie Miller, in attendance at the Brewers vs. Cardinals game last night and again, in the crowd today.

Reggie Miller takes in a Brewers game on Wednesday night. Photo courtesy of FSWisconsin.

Miller was in Milwaukee to support his friends, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder and tweeted about the game from his Twitter account @ReggieMillerTNT:

And, although he was cheering for the Crew last night, the California native (and neighbor of Ryan’s in the offseason) also made sure to add this disclaimer:

Miller played his entire 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers from the time he was selected by the team with the 11th pick of the 1st round of the NBA draft in 1987 to his retirement in 2005 and is one of four Pacers to have his jersey retired by the team.

Milwaukee sports fans might remember Miller as he often broke the hearts of Milwaukee Bucks fans. The Pacers and Bucks met in heated match ups in both the 1999 and 2000 NBA Playoffs.  His 41 points in Game 5 of the Bucks-Pacers first round series help the Pacers survive an upset attempt by the Bucks.

During his career, Miller played more games with the same team than all but two players in NBA history (John Stockton and Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz) and was a member of the gold medal-winning Olympic men’s basketball team in 1996 and of Team USA for the 1994 and 2002 World Championships. Following his retirement, Miller joined Turner Sports in 2005 as a basketball analyst and provides features throughout the year on the network’s studio show, Inside the NBA as well as game-site analysis.

-John and Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

Want to Win 2012 Season Tickets? Tell Us What You Love About Miller Park!

At the beginning of the season, we were pleased to introduce our “What Do You Love About Miller Park?” advertising campaign for 2011, which was designed to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of our beloved ballpark through declarations of love.

There are so many things we love about Miller Park that it is hard to choose just one. But if you’re Ryan Braun and you have the tremendous power to hit home runs that help lead the Crew to victory, then it’s understandable why the thing he loves best is making Bernie Brewer go down his slide in left field. It’s the 10th Anniversary of Miller Park and we’re still finding new things we love about the place Ryan and the Crew call home.

All season long, we’re be celebrating our great ballpark and all of the things that make our very own Brewers experience so unique by highlighting the things that our players, fans and yes, even our mascots, love best in our print, online and outdoor ads.

And now, we want to hear from you. In the past 10 years, millions of fans have passed through the gates and many memories have been created, so we’d like to invite you to join us in an interactive contest as you tell us: What do YOU love best about the place your Brewers call home? It could your favorite memory, food, place to take in the game, or just what keeps you coming back again and again.

Just share your story here in 100 words or less, accompanied by a photo of you and family or friends at Miller Park and we’ll send one lucky winner back out to the ballpark again and again on us with two (2) 20-Game ticket packages for the 2012 season.

Other entrants are also be eligible to win great prizes, such as: four tickets to the Gehl Club for the Tuesday, August 30 game vs. St. Louis; one autographed John Axford jersey and bobblehead; one autographed Shaun Marcum jersey and ball; four tickets in the AirTran Airways Landing Zone for the Monday, September 26 game vs. Pittsburgh, or a $100 shopping spree to the Brewers Team Store by Majestic.

You’ve only  got until Friday, July 29, so get ready to fall in love all over again with Miller Park as you take a trip down memory lane and then post your entry!

-Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com


Spring Training Games Are Right Around the Corner: There is No Offseason for Joe Zidanic

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.

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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.

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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
of Phoenix.

When Joe first came to the Brewers in April of
2003, his job was to work in the finance/accounting department as the
Club’s controller.

 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
Spring Training.

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!

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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.

Thumbnail image for im_cerveceros_200.png

And just like in Milwaukee, there is even a special
tribute game. On March 22 vs. the San Diego Padres, there will be
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.

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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,
February 28.

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!

 -CAIT

johnandcait@brewers.com

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