Hi Everyone – I’ll be chatting online today at 1 p.m. The Brewers are taking on the Cards at the same time, so watch some baseball and ask me a few questions! Hope to talk to you soon! http://milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com/fan_forum/chat.jsp?c_id=mil
Brewers Alumni attend 24th annual Major League Baseball Alumni Swing with the Legends Golf Tournament
On Monday, August 17, Brewers Alumnus Ken Sanders held his 24th
annual Major League Baseball Alumni Swing with the Legends Golf
The event was held at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa.
Brewers Alumni Association hosted a breakfast for Brewer Alumni participating
in the tournament. Former Brewers attendees included: Jimmy Wynn, Phil Roof, Don August,
Willie Mueller, Paul Wagner, Bill Sharp, Andy Kosco, Bill Campbell, Larry
Hisle, Charlie Moore, Damian Miller, Ken Sanders, Jim Gantner & Tom
Tellmann. Also in attendance: Ryne Duren & Steve Rodgers. They listened to
keynote speaker, Rick Schlesinger, Executive Vice President – Business
Operations for the Brewers.
Other Brewer front office personel also attended, including Tyler Barnes,
Vice President – Communications, Teddy Werner, Director Business Operations and
Katina Shaw, Director Community Relations.
I’ll keep posting updates — you keep sending questions!
Hi Everyone – Just wanted to drop a quick line to let you know to expect a number of Brewers Alumni updates here shortly. Continue to send me questions regarding former Brewers and I’ll continue to track down the answers!
Ryan Braun, Ben Sheets and Corey Hart are in New York for the 2008 All-Star Game. Braun and fellow outfielder Hart (.289, 26 doubles, 15 home runs, 58 RBIs) are making their first All-Star appearance and Sheets will make his fourth appearance in the Midsummer Classic.
And now…on to the questions!
CC will be a free agent at the end of the year and, I’m sure with the possibility of losing Ben Sheets to free agency, the Brewers would like to have at least one of them back. But it is my understanding that CC is going to test the market and once he or Sheets test the market, we will probably not see them in a Brewer uniform next year.
The Brewers made an offer to Corey before he was an All-Star, and he turned it down. But it was an offer just to get both sides going. I look for something to happen, not so much now, but probably in the offseason. The Brewers would certainly like to lock up Corey for 3-4 years. He continues to grow and shine as a Major League Player. The Brewers realize that they have a special player in Corey Hart and want him around for years to come.
The rotation looks like this: Sheets, Sabathia, Suppan, Parra and Bush/McClung. Dave Bush has pitched so well at Miller Park. Ned Yost could pitch at home and McClung on the road. Both, when not starting, could be used in the bullpen. Seth has pitched well enough to stay in the rotation and so has Bush. A lot depends on how Suppan is feeling when his time on the DL is up. Nice problem to have.
I know Mike Maddux is the pitching coach and he does a
fine job, but I see Bill Castro has been on the coaching staff for 17 years. Has he ever been a head pitching coachand, if not, do you think he will be?
When Dave Stewart resigned in mid-August 2002, Bill was named the interim pitching coach. He did interview for the position the following year, but was retained as the bullpen coach. I believe he would be very good as a Major League Pitching coach. Bill has a wealth of knowledge and communicates very well with players. He knows about pitching mechanics and, more importantly, players trust him. The Brewers have benefited from having Bill as bullpen coach; I have no doubt that he can be a very good pitching coach if given the chance.
Yovani is working very hard with his rehab and seems to be ahead of schedule. Yovani has always been a hard worker, as he showed when he had surgery in spring training and came back ahead of schedule. If things go right, and there are no setbacks, he could be back around the middle of September.
Right now, it is an ideal situation for the Brewers. Considering the way Russell is hitting against right hand pitching and the way Bill is hitting against left hand pitching, it has worked out well so far. With his offensive production so far, Russell Branyan has made it very difficult – at this time – for Bill Hall to be the everyday third baseman.
I don’t see the Brewers installing Gagne as the closer when he returns from the DL. If Torres continues to close games the way he has been doing, he will probably remain the closer. The Brewers are paying Gagne $10 million to be the closer; when he comes back, they probably will gradually work him out of the bullpen to see how he will do. There is no doubt that the Brewers bullpen would be so much more effective if Gagne was able to close out games. That would mean Torres, Mota, Riske (when he returns) and Shouse would return to their regular roles. For now, Torres is the closer.
Derrick Turnbow’s return to the Brewers is very unlikely at this time. He is at Triple A Nashville and is slowly trying to regain his form of two years ago. He 1-1 in 10 games including 4 starts with an ERA of 10.32. He has thrown 11 innings, giving up 9 hits, 13 earn runs with 30 walks and 16 K’s. Hopefully, he can regain his confidence and start being that intimidating pitcher he was a couple of years ago. We wish him well, because he is truly one of the good guys in baseball.
One of the reasons Corey is not in the lead off position is that he is driving in runs batting from the 5th spot. Corey is one of those players that can fit anywhere in the lineup. Rickie, despite his .208 average, has a respectable .338 on base percentage. He does find a way to get on base. Corey has a higher on base percentage .358, but like I said, he is driving in runs hitting behind Prince.
Although Matt LaPorta seems to be on the fast track to the Major Leagues, he is in his first full season of professional baseball. He will more than likely spend a full season in Huntsville where he is hitting .296, 11 HR, 41 RBI. He is playing right field and has been playing some first base. It is a good situation for the Brewers and who knows what will happen two years from now; one thing is for sure, the Brewers have some very good talent in Huntsville. Besides LaPorta, Third baseman Mat Gamel is hitting 367, 10 HR, 40 RBI in 46 games. Centerfielder Michael Brantley is hitting .321, 15 SB in 44 games. Shortstop Alcides Escobar is hitting .294 with 9 SB in 45 games.
Whatever happened to RHP Mark Rogers, a number 1 pick for the Brewers in 2004?
Mark Rogers missed the entire 2007 season due to surgery on his right shoulder. He is currently rehabbing in Arizona with our Arizona Rookie League Team. The Brewers are taking it slow with him; in 2005, Baseball America rated him as having the best fastball in the organization. They also rated Mark to have the best slider in the organization. In 2005, he struck out 109 batters in 98.2 innings. In 2006, in 71 innings, he struck out 96. Hopefully, he will stay healthy and if so, the Brewers feel confident he will pitch someday in the Major Leagues.
Vinny Rottino is playing at Triple A Nashville, where he is catching and is doing much better. His catching has improved and he is starting to swing the bat a lot better. Unless there is an injury, he will more than likely stay in Nashville and may get a September call up. Vinny is a very versatile player; he needs to continue to improve his catching and if that happens, he will have a chance to play with a Major League Team; hopefully it will be with the Brewers.
Keep sending in your questions everyone – I’ll keep answering them!
Do you think the Brewers will need to trade for a quality starter with the injury to Gallardo?
I don’t think the Brewers will do anything as far as a trade just yet. A lot depends on what Dave Bush will do now that he is back and will replace Gallardo in the rotation. Also the progress of both Carlos Villanueva and Manny Parra will have a lot say if the Brewers will try to trade for a quality starter. All three, Bush, Villanueva & Parra will have to start pitching better if the Brewers are to contend in the NL Central. Obviously, the injury to Gallardo hurts and everyone will have to step it up a notch.
Why are so many players using Maple instead of ash?
Talking to a Louisville Slugger representative, it seems that Maple is heavier, harder and denser than Ash. Players are going with bigger barrels and smaller handles; that is why you will see the Maple break a lot around the handle. Ash on the other hand has grains and you will see them splinter more instead of breaking off. If a player orders Maple, the equipment manager will probably order him 18 Maple and if he orders Ash, he would probably order 12. Right now it seems like a novelty and the “in thing” in bats.
Starting the 2008 season, Mike Cameron has a lifetime Major League average of .251; I think Mike will be above his lifetime average but not by much. He had a .268 in 141 games with San Diego in 2006. Last year in a 151 games with San Diego, he hit .242. In 2005 Mike hit .273 in 76 games with the Mets. His season was shortened due to an injury. The one thing about Mike is the fact he’s very durable and will get to the plate over 500 times.
Since the injury to Yovani Gallardo, Dave Bush will step into Yovani’s spot in the rotation. Dave has a very good and resilient arm. He could be used in several ways if he was in the bullpen, including closing some games. The Brewers feel he best suits their needs as a starter in their rotation.
Are the Brewers an improved team over last year? What are their chances on winning the Central Division?
The Brewers are improved over last year. The acquisitions of Mike Cameron & Jason Kendall will help improve a defense which finished 12th in the National League last year. When you look at this year’s team, there is more maturity and experience and they have better arms in the bullpen. Yes, they are better and now they just have to go out do it. All the teams in the Central improved themselves on paper including the Brewers. The Brewers can win the Central if they play good defense and our young starters Gallardo, Parra and Villanueva continue to show improvement on what they did last year.
What happens to Gabe Kapler when Mike Cameron comes back?
Gabe Kapler is playing very well for the Brewers and is swinging a hot bat. He knows what his role is for the Brewers as do Tony Gwynn and Gabe Gross. Their playing will dwindle when Cameron is back. Manager Ned Yost will try to utilize them as often as possible. Braun, Cameron and Hart will have the bulk of the playing time in the outfield.
Will the Brewers ever have Milwaukee on the front of their away uniforms?
Never say Never!!!!! From my understanding the Brewers feel that they represent not only Milwaukee, but the State of Wisconsin. That is why they have Brewers on the front of their road uniforms. However, they do have a “Milwaukee” patch on the left sleeve.
Thanks everyone – keep those questions coming!
Hi everyone. Figured I’d take this time to share an interview I had with Mark Attanasio. Keep those questions coming!
Mark, you seem to have this wonderful passion for the game of baseball. Where did it all start?
Mark: It started from when I was a kid. I remember, and I think I’ve told this story, but in 1964 I became a rabid Yankees fan and really being crushed – actually walking around the block crying – because they had lost in seven games to the Cardinals. I was expecting “well, we’ll be back next year,” and of course the Yankees then went on a little decline. But as far back as I can remember, I’ve loved baseball.
Well I know you were born in 1957, but that was a little bit before the Dodgers, so you didn’t get to see the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants – that was a great era for baseball.
Mark: Yeah, both teams left New York right before I was born.
Mark, what prompted you to buy a ball club?
Mark: I was really a dream of mine from the point that I realized I wasn’t going to be able to play major league baseball, which occurred at some point in high school. But it’s one of those things that you always dream of but never think you can realize. When I had an opportunity to get close to being able to do it, I really pushed to do it.
Were the Brewers the one choice that you were looking at?
Mark: Well, I started paying attention when a couple of the Los Angeles-area teams, the Angels and Dodgers, sold and watching Arte Moreno and Frank McCourt and thinking, “well, gee, someday I could do that.” And the first team that came up for sale after that actually was the Brewers. As it turned out, I have a sister-in-law who is from Milwaukee and I had otherwise had some discussions with the Selig family about making an investment in the team. So I got involved in the auction process.
What has been your biggest challenge as an owner?
Mark: There have been a number of challenges. You know, Wendy Selig-Prieb had told me that baseball was unlike any business that I would have ever seen. And you know, as an investor, I’ve studied all kinds of businesses. At any given time, we have over 300 investments in our portfolios and I can honestly say it is unlike any business I have ever seen. So just getting my arms around it and getting up the learning curve to understand that we’re in the business of running a baseball team was probably my biggest challenge.
When you bought the ballclub, you made four cornerstone pledges to the fans and the community. One, you said, is that one of the things you want to do is have a perennially competitive ballclub. How do you feel about where it’s at now?
Mark: Well, I think we’ll see if it is perennially. I think we’ve been competitive two years of the three that I’ve been here, since we went deep in September those two seasons. If we can do that over the next several seasons with this young nucleus of talent we have, I think we’ll have achieved it. There is no doubt that we’re competitive right now. The desire is to take it to the next level and make it to the postseason.
Number two was that you wanted to have the best fan experience possible at Miller Park and that seems to be happening.
Mark: Yeah, we really have tried to create the best fan experience and that’s what sources the team on the field. But, besides that, every year now we have made some changes to Miller Park. This year, you’ll see some changes: New retail store, renovated .300 Club – now the Metavante Club – and some additions to the Kid’s Zone and kid’s play areas. Every year we’re going to try to do something fresh at the ballpark.
Number three was that you said you wanted to redouble the efforts to make the ballclub a leader in the community.
Mark: Yeah, I do. And it’s interesting because every year I get briefed on what we’ve been able to achieve and while we’ve achieved a lot, I want to do more. We’ve made a lot of progress through our S.C.O.R.E. program. We made some progress in some things similar that the ball players have done with the Negro League tributes. But I think we’re just scratching the surface in what we can do in the community.
And number four was an organization in which people want to work, whether on the field or behind the scenes.
Mark: That was a very important day. I remember all the nervous faces the first day I took over ownership and now that’s been replaced with a lot of smiling faces. That’s very important to me, because it’s the folks behind the scenes who really make everything go.
With the team finishing two games out in the Central Division, it was a tough, tough, tough last week of the season. But what was the high point of the season for you?
Mark: Well, I’ll just mention a number of owners told me, owners with more experience, that those seasons when you’re that close are always the toughest seasons. But with that, coming from and growing up in New York, going back to play the Mets in May and just seeing these headlines about “Baseball’s Best, Brewers Coming to Town.” In fact, I saved some of those headlines. And who could have imagined three years ago that you’d be seeing that?
That was quite a run too. Going on your fourth year of ownership, has there been any unexpected surprises?
Mark: Well there have been a lot of unexpected small surprises. Chief of which is the warmth and support of the community and how they’ve reached out to me and my family. I knew from when I came here that people were warm, but everyday I’m reminded about what a great community this is. And it’s probably been, not the biggest, but the most heartwarming surprise.
Well, the roster questions have been answered – for now. The infield is set with Fielder,
Weeks, Hardy and Hall. As is the outfield with Hart, Cameron and Braun as starters;
Gwynn, Gross and Kapler round out the outfield. Jason Kendall will be the
starting catcher with Mike Rivera for the backup position.
As for the pitching, the
rotation seems to be set with Sheets, Suppan, Bush, Villanueva and Parra. With
the surprising release of Claudio Vargas, that opened the door for both
Villanueva and Parra. Don’t forget that Yovani Gallardo will be ready to get
back in the rotation by mid April.
That means someone will have to go to
bullpen or back to Triple A.
The bullpen with
Gagne, Turnbow Riske, Torres, Shouse, McClung and Mota seems to be pretty well
set. Craig Counsell and Joe Dillon will be on the bench as the utility players.
Here are some
decisions GM Doug Melvin and MGR Ned Yost will have to make:
ike Cameron will miss
the first 25 games of the season due to suspension. Centerfield looks like it
will be Tony Gwynn handling most of that duty while Cameron serves his
suspension. What happens when Cameron comes back? Someone has to go. The
decision will be whether to stay with 6 outfielders and 1 utility player. They
will probably go with 5 outfielders and 2 utility players. Joe Dillon a utility
infielder has been used in the outfield.
- Another decision will
be made when Yovani Gallardo moves back in the rotation. Someone will again have to
go. Villanueva has pitched out of the bullpen and could be moved there. Manny Parra
could be sent to triple A depending on how he is doing. They could also move
someone out of the bullpen depending on need. They seem like tough decisions,
and they are, but the players involved will help make those decisions for Melvin
Some of you are
concerned whether the Brewers will sign Prince and some of the other young
players who they consider the core of the team. Owner Mark Attanasio has made it known that he would like to not only
sign Prince but the other players like Braun and Hart. I believe he will do
whatever he can to sign these players and keep them in the fold for as long as
lot of you emailed
me asking about Damian Miller; Damian is retired and living in La Crosse. He was a class
act and will be missed both on the field and in the clubhouse.
I also received
emails concerning Tony Graffanino; Graff is still recovering from his knee
injury and feels once healed he can help a team out.