Results tagged ‘ Mark Attanasio ’

Attanasios express condolences to Lubar family

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio expressed condolences Monday after the son of one of his investors died from injuries suffered in a skiing accident. 
The Summit County, Colorado coroner’s office told the Associated Press that Joe Lubar, 21, died Friday, two weeks after he injured his brain in a fall on an expert run at Copper Mountain Resort. His father is David Lubar, who serves on the Brewers’ advisory board and finance committee. 
“The Lubars are dear friends to many of us in the organization, and to Debbie and me in particular,” Mark Attanasio said in a statement issued by the Brewers. “We watched Joe grow up shagging fly balls in the outfield at Spring Training in Maryvale and enjoyed many games with him in Miller Park. A true baseball lover, he pitched at University School of Milwaukee and at University of Denver, which is retiring his No. 9. 
“Joe was a kind, polite, thoughtful young man who touched everyone he worked with during his recent summer internship with the Brewers. Words cannot express the sadness that we all feel, and we mourn with the Lubars during this difficult time.”
According to the AP, authorities said Joe Lubar was skiing above the tree line on a double-black-diamond run when he lost control and fell over some rocks. He was initially treated in Frisco, Colo. and then transferred St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver. He died early Friday. 
David Lubar is president of Lubar & Co., a private investment firm founded by his father, prominent Milwaukee philanthropist Sheldon Lubar. 
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Attanasio on Steinbrenner

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio grew up in the Bronx and was a lifelong Yankees fan. Here’s what he had to say Tuesday about the passing of Yankees boss George Steinbrenner: 
“George really picked the franchise up when it was down and took it to not only a new level but a level unprecedented in sports,” Attanasio said. 
“The first time I was supposed to meet him was before I was a baseball owner. It was the Aaron Boone game, when the Yankees were playing the Red Sox in the playoffs, and I was supposed to go to his suite and meet him through some business contacts. But I think the Yankees went down, 5-0, in that game, and we got word that it wasn’t a good time for a first meeting. You have to admire his fervent desire to win. His passion to win was unbelievable, and his leadership from the top kind of infused the organization with that attitude and even the fans. As a fan, you loved that.”
Attanasio finally did meet Steinbrenner at the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. That was three and a half years after Attanasio was formally approved as the Brewers’ owner, and he inherited a Milwaukee franchise that had a payroll in the $27 million range in 2004 and hadn’t posted a winning record since 1992.
It wasn’t exactly the same as buying a storied Yankees franchise in the dumps, but perhaps there were some loose parallels. 
“I think the owners, whether it’s expressly or not, measure themselves against [Steinbrenner],” Attanasio said. “We try to emulate that desire to win every year no matter what. For our market, I’m trying to make it to the playoffs every year. There was a time for our franchise where maybe some thought that .500 was good enough, but every time I thought about that, I thought of George Steinbrenner. That’s an ownership model that I try to emulate.”
I also asked Attanasio about the Brewers’ 40-49 first half record. 
“Like the fans, I’m disappointed with where we sit right now,” Attanasio said. “I really didn’t expect to be nine games under .500 at this point. But I’m hopeful that we can close the gap. I’ve always felt that if you’re within five games of first place, you’re in it. We’re encouraged that we’re going to close the gap. That said, I’m disappointed with the way we started.”
He deferred a question about manager Ken Macha’s status to GM Doug Melvin. 
“You have to ask Doug, but I don’t see Doug making a manager change,” Attanasio said. “But that’s a question for him.”
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Attanasio on payroll, post-Suppan

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio said the decision to absorb a $10 million hit by releasing Jeff Suppan on Monday won’t affect the team’s ability to add players in midseason trades. But that’s only if the team begins to perform better on the field. 

“Honestly, financial considerations were never part of the picture here,” Attanaso said. “I never called Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee’s GM] and said, ‘Gee, for financial reasons, we can’t make a move here. It was always Doug’s call as to what we do with players on the roster. 
“This seems a little hard to say at 11 games under .500 here, but if we can climb back it’s not to say that we wouldn’t add players and add payroll at midseason. But we have to get back to .500 first.” 
Attanasio was particularly close with Suppan and called the pitcher on Monday. 
“Whenever we end up separating with a player I’m fond of, or even a player I’m not fond of, I usually like to call and say thank you,” Attanasio said. “I thanked him for how hard he worked. Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee’s general manager] said this, and it’s true, that without Jeff going 5-0 [in September 2008] we don’t make the playoffs.
“Now, I know the fans, and frankly we, too, say it’s not 2008, it’s 2010, and we need to be better now. Jeff was as disappointed as anyone in his inability to get the job done here. Hopefully, a change of scenery helps him get back to where he was before.” 
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Attanasio: No staff changes on tap

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio stood stanchly behind his general manager and field manager on Saturday, saying Doug Melvin has total job security and that Ken Macha will not be dismissed on Monday, an off-day widely speculated as an opportunity for the team to make some changes. 
Of Melvin, the GM whom Attanasio inherited when he purchased the Brewers in September 2004, Attanasio said, “Doug Melvin is very, very secure. You’re not going to see any GM changes here. Absolutely not. Doug Melvin has built up too much credibility. You’re going to have to a lot more than even a bad season for him to have any issues with his job security. To all of our fans, look, it feels great to get it off your chest, but you’re going to have to be dealing with our general manager for a long time.”
And of Macha, the embattled Brewers manager, Attanasio said, “I can tell you, unequivocally, we are not making a manager change on Monday. There will be no news on that on Monday. We could lose the next two games 15-3 and we’re not making a manager change on Monday.”
Which begged the follow-up, what about Tuesday?
“Doug needs to make those decisions, and Doug has been pretty firm in his support of Ken so I’m going to fall into line,” Attanasio said. 
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Attanasio: No deadline for Fielder talks


Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said Saturday that he won’t set any “artificial deadlines” for talks with first baseman Prince Fielder about a contract extension.  
“Prince has said he wants to be here, we have said we would love to have him here and we know our fans would love to have him here,” Attanasio said. “There is no timetable, no pressure on either side. I know you guys have seen Prince and he’s pretty relaxed. I think I’m pretty relaxed. …
“No. 1, nobody wants a distraction. Frankly, I think without having any set deadlines or parameters, it better allows that because otherwise you start checking the days on the calendar and all that.”
Attanasio was at Maryvale Baseball Park for the Brewers’ first full-squad workout and delivered his annual address. Then, he huddled in general manager Doug Melvin’s office to discuss a number of topic, chief among them Fielder. 
The start first baseman is already signed for 2010 and would be arbitration-eligible — and thus under team control for one more year — in 2011. He is on track to qualify for free agency following the 2011 season. 
Both sides say they are interested in exploring whether an extension makes sense. It’s notable, though, that Fielder is represented by agent Scott Boras, who has no track record of clients signing deals that buy out free agent seasons. 
Those talks have yet to begin. Fielder said this week that he expects a dialogue to begin very soon, and Attanasio said he would return to camp to personally take part when the time is appropriate. 
“As you know, I am very process-oriented, and we are going through all of our internal processes,” Attanasio said. “As you know, Prince is very professionally represented, and I’m sure Mr. Boras is going through all of his internal processes.”
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Selig statue to join Aaron, Yount

Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Robin Yount will get some company this summer outside Miller Park.  
The Brewers on Monday announced plans to honor former club owner and current Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig with a bronze statue on the home plate plaza at Miller Park, near similar monuments to Aaron and Yount.  
The Selig statue will be unveiled in an afternoon ceremony on August 24.  
“We are proud to honor Commissioner Selig for all of his efforts on behalf of the Milwaukee Brewers and Major League Baseball,” Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio said. “The Brewers and Miller Park are in this city because of the Commissioner’s vision and dedicated efforts. Just as importantly, he has remained a prominent and highly philanthropic member of our community while effectively leading Major League Baseball during his tenure as baseball’s top executive.”   
The statues of Aaron and Yount were unveiled on April 5, 2001, the first year of Miller Park’s existence. The first two statues were donated by Selig’s charitable foundation. 
The new statue will be cast in bronze and will measure over seven feet in height not including the base. It is being designed and produced by Brian Maughan, who, along with Douglas Kwart, also created the Yount and Aaron statues.  
Selig was born and raised in Milwaukee and headed the group in 1970 that bought the Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy court and moved the fledgling franchise to Milwaukee just before Opening Day. Under his watch along with then-general manager Harry Dalton, Selig helped build the Brewers into an American League power in the late 1970s, a path that culminated with an AL pennant in 1982.  
The Brewers won seven “organization of the year” awards under Selig’s watch and he is credited with pushing through efforts to build Miller Park during the 1990s. The stadium opened its doors in April 2001.   
By then, Selig was the ninth Commissioner of Major League Baseball. He assumed the role of acting Commissioner in 1992 and took over permanent status in 1998, and gets credit for a number of landmark changes in baseball including the implementation of the Wild Card, the three-division format and Interleague Play. He also championed a new drug testing program, revenue sharing among the clubs as well as ventures like MLB Advanced Media, the parent company of, plus MLB Network, and the World Baseball Classic. 
The Brewers plan to announce further details about the Aug. 24 unveiling ceremony at a later date.
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No Macha news today

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash re-joined the team on Friday on St. Louis, but Melvin said he didn’t plan to make any announcements about manager Ken Macha’s future until Saturday at the earliest.

“I’m not going to do anything today,” Melvin said.

Macha is under contract for 2010 and Melvin is expected to ask him back. What’s unclear is whether Melvin will be willing to tack anything onto the deal, be it a club option for 2011 or more guaranteed years. Macha expected to sit down with Melvin following Friday’s game.

“I’ll let him be the spokesman,” Macha said.

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio arrived at Busch Stadium with Melvin and Ash about an hour before the start of the season’s final series to address the team.

Attanasio: Talk of Melvin's job security 'ridiculous'

The Brewers don’t need a major overhaul to return to contention next season, and speculation about general manager Doug Melvin’s job security is “ridiculous,” the team’s principal owner said Wednesday.

“It seems like a cop-out to me to blow everything up and start from scratch,” said Mark Attanasio, who arrived at Wrigley Field this week for his first in-person look at the team in weeks. “We’ve built this team around a good core of players now for five years and we took a step back [this year]. We’d like to take two steps forward next year.”

sabathia.jpgThe Brewers won the National League Wild Card last season to earn their first postseason ticket in 26 years. This season has been just as successful at the gate — the Brewers will draw three million fans for the second straight season — but less so on the field. Entering play on Wednesday night, any combination of three Brewers losses and Cardinals wins would formally eliminate Milwaukee.  

“I try to take what I’ve learned from portfolio management and apply it to baseball, because investing is what I know,” Attanasio said. “There is a temptation when things are bad to change everything, right? But if, at the bottom of the market, you sold all of your beat-up stocks, you sold your financial services and home builders, those are the ones that have recovered the best.

“So we need to take a hard look of what we’ve got and not just see the bad. We have a lot of good here. We thought we had a team this year that was going to compete for the playoffs — and by the way, a lot of teams this year are surprised that they haven’t, including [the Cubs] — but we obviously didn’t have as good a team as we thought we had. But, we probably don’t have as bad a team as it may feel like we have now because we’re having some tough losses. I think we have to take a measured approach. Doug always takes a measured approach to things.

“If Doug were to end up deciding that he wanted to make significant changes, I would support that, but he’s certainly not getting any pressure from me to make significant changes because I do think that we have a pretty good core group of players.”

He also believes he has a pretty good GM. Last winter, he extended Melvin’s contract an additional three years, through 2012. On Wednesday, Attanasio squashed any speculation that he might consider a change considering the team’s disappointing showing in 2009.

“Ridiculous,” Attanasio said. “Doug is a very strong baseball guy and I believe that this year was an aberration. I’m encouraging him to continue to follow his instincts and not do anything different.”

Manager Ken Macha doesn’t have the same contractual cushion as Melvin. He signed a two-year contract prior to last season that runs only through 2010.

“I’m really leaving that to Doug,” Attanasio said. “I believe he’s said that he’s going to assess everything after the season. … I think Ken is a very strong baseball guy and he’s certainly put enormous effort into the team this season and we did sign him to a two-year contract, so I guess those are all facts. I will say that Doug is not getting any pressure from me to make a manager change, but he will make the decision.”

The more important decisions will be in player personnel, beginning with a pitching staff that entered Wednesday’s game next-to-last in the National League with a 4.79 ERA, including a starting rotation that ranked dead last at 5.19.

The only starter whose contractual situation is unclear for 2010 is right-hander Braden Looper, whose deal includes a mutual option. The Brewers will almost certainly exercise their half (it calls for a $6.5 million base salary) but it remains to be seen whether Looper seeks a better deal on the open market.

The Brewers’ other key free agents are closer Trevor Hoffman, center fielder Mike Cameron and catcher Jason Kendall. The Brewers figure to hold payroll relatively steady next season — it was just over $80 million at the start of 2009 but has crept up to about $87 million with midseason additions — and adding depth to the pitching staff within that framework will probably dominate the offseason agenda.

“Doug and his team have had numerous conversations to figure out what went wrong and how do we fix it, and it’s very, very complex,” Attanasio said. “There are various things that did not work out this year relative to the pitching and we’re examining all of those. … With an offense like ours, you really just need your pitching to be average, and unfortunately it wasn’t this year.”

One way to improve the pitching, of course, would be to put one of the team’s young stars on the trading block. The name mentioned most is Prince Fielder, who is under contract through next season and then has one more year of arbitration-eligibility before reaching free agency in the winter of 2011-12.

Asked whether the team would consider trading Fielder this winter, Attanasio did not seem interested.

“I think that would be a very easy way to cop-out,” he said. “We’re not going to do that. Again, Doug is very methodical and needs to assess everything at the end of the season when the data is in and you certainly reserve the right to go look at that. If we study something and it’s the right thing to do, of course we would consider doing it.”

But Attanasio made it clear that he believes the team can return to prominence next season without so drastic a move.

“It’s very disappointing that these games in September don’t mean anything, but guess what?” he said. “They don’t mean anything for the Chicago Cubs, either. That’s kind of a shock. Or the Cincinnati Reds, who have a similar payroll to us. The only team in our division that seems to have got it right this season is the Cardinals.

“I do believe that this is a fixable situation, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy to fix. We have to make a number of right moves.”

Brewers' Macha hints of pre-deadline trade

Tim Dillard joined the Brewers from Triple-A Nashville on Sunday, when manager Ken Macha wondered aloud whether the team, strapped for starters, might get even more help ahead of Friday’s nonwaiver trade deadline.

“The trading deadline is coming and Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee’s general manager] is trying to help the club,” Macha said. “I don’t want to try to create expectations, but he’s trying to make the club better and I’m sure if he finds a starting pitcher who can help out, it’s something he would do.

“Here again, the starters that are available are kind of limited, and expensive.”

Macha was asked whether he’d be surprised if the Brewers failed to make an addition before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

“I just know how much effort has been put into trying to look at our needs as a whole and fill those needs,” Macha said. “Typically, when you get into this, the further away you are from the deadline, the higher the price is. The closer you get to the deadline, [prices drop]. It’s a bit of a waiting game.”

Of principal owner Mark Attanasio, who was in Milwaukee over the weekend to participate in trade talks, Macha said, “I think Mark is a very competitive guy, and he wants to win. Not only that, but we have a tremendous fan base here and the fans are supporting us. [Attanasio] is very appreciative of that. He showed last year that he’s willing to go out there [and make a trade].”

At the same time, Macha cautioned, Attanasio and Melvin want to field a perennially competitive team, and thus they are hesitant to gut the farm system.

“It’s a balancing act,” Macha said.

The Brewers have been linked oin published reports to all of the supposedly available arms, from Toronto’s Roy Halladay and Cleveland’s Cliff Lee at the top of the list to Arizona’s Doug Davis and Jon Garland, Seattle’s Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn and Kansas City’s Brian Bannister.

The deadline is at 3 p.m. CT on July 31. Teams can still make trades after that, but players must pass through waivers first.

UPDATE at 2 p.m. CT, when I noticed that Bedard went back on the disabled list with inflammation in his left shoulder. Will that make Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, whose club is a surprising contender, more or less likely to trade Wisconsin native Washburn?