Results tagged ‘ Miller Park ’

Kabobs, poutine both win concession contest

Tasty news from the Brewers this morning: 
The Milwaukee Brewers today announced the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausage Kabobs as the winning food item in the “Create a Concession” contest.  Courtney Ring of Sauk City submitted the idea and Ring’s menu creation will be added to the concession offerings at Miller Park in 2011.
Over 10,000 votes were submitted by fans, who voted on four finalist submissions. The Klement’s Famous Racing Sausage Kabobs received 37.4 percent of the vote.  Poutine with Cheese Curds finished second with 23.9 percent of the vote, Chicken Parmesan Sandwich finished with 21.9 percent of the vote and Tilapia Fish Tacos finished with 16.8 percent of the vote.
Although Poutine with Cheese Curds finished second in the overall fan voting, it will also be added to the Miller Park menu for 2011.
“This initiative gave us an opportunity to have fans participate directly in enhancing the Miller Park experience, and their response was phenomenal,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. We had over one thousand suggestions for new items submitted as part of this contest, and given the success of the program, it’s likely that we’ll repeat it in 2012.” 
For submitting the winning recipe, Ring will receive four tickets to Opening Day at Miller Park as well as an opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Brewers game during the 2011 season and watch the Brewers take batting practice from the field.  The other three finalists – Chris Fifarek of Wauwatosa (Chicken Parmesan Sandwich), Chris Stoa of Milwaukee (Poutine with Cheese Curds) and Tim Tracz of Hales Corners (Tilapia Fish Tacos) – will all receive receive a Brewers prize package that includes game tickets, an autographed personalized Brewers jersey and an autographed baseball from a Brewers player.
The contest began in late December with online submissions.  More than 1,300 submissions were then narrowed down to ten semifinalists.  In mid-January, a panel of 10 judges gathered in the Sportservice kitchen on the service level of Miller Park to taste and rate those 10 items.  The panel included Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger, Brewers Executive Vice President-General Manager Doug Melvin, former Brewers All-Star Gorman Thomas, SURG Restaurant Group Partner Omar Shaikh,, Nancy Stohs and Jan Uebelherr of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Tom Olson, John Clope and John DiMartini, all of Sportservice Milwaukee.  
The panelists narrowed it down to four finalists and as a part of the festivities at Brewers On Deck on Sunday, January 30, fans were be able to sample their favorites from the four finalists.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Sportservice served as partners in the promotion.
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Truck day at Miller Park

The Klement’s Racing Sausages earned their keep Tuesday by helping the Brewers load the final moving truck bound for Spring Training. It’s an annual rite of spring that marks a sort of symbolic start to the baseball season — just ask Craig Counsell, who happened to drop by Miller Park on Tuesday morning to use the batting cage.

Here are some photos courtesy of team photographer Scott Paulus.
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Miller Park scoreboard progress

Photos courtesy of Darren Hauck/Brewers

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The most significant capital improvement in Miller Park’s history received a finishing touch of sorts Tuesday, when crews lifted a sign bearing the ballpark’s name over the huge new video board.

Just after noon, the 18,900 lb. sign was hoisted into position atop a 5,940 sq. ft. scoreboard already in place that will deliver high definition video to fans beginning April 2, when the Brewers host a prospect showcase at Miller Park. All told, the project will cost the Brewers and the stadium district $9-$11 million.

“It’s an expensive project, but we’re on time, we’re on budget and I think they experience we’re going to deliver to the fans will be worth it,” Brewers executive vice president Rick Schlesinger said.

The new sign is back-lit and features the familiar Miller Park script over a banner that says, “Home of the Milwaukee Brewers.” An extra component will be added on top at a later date to commemorate the ballpark’s opening in 2001.

The new scoreboard was designed by Daktronics, Inc. and will be the fourth-largest in Major League Baseball behind similar screens in Kansas City (the league leader at 8,900 sq. ft.), Houston and Phoenix. It’s an enormous upgrade over the 1,296 sq. ft. original video board at Miller Park, which hung over a 2,432 sq. ft. matrix board.

The Brewers expanded and remodeled their scoreboard control room to accommodate the hardware for the new video board, and will increase their gameday video and audio staff from about a dozen to 20-25, Schlesinger said. The team will work with three production companies on in-game graphics and features over the next month, but successfully tested the board on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday’s test run went off “flawlessly,” Schlesinger said.

“I know my heart was beating fast,” he said. “It’s quite stunning. It’s really amazing technology.”

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No Walk of Fame inductees

The Miller Park Walk of Fame won’t grow again in 2011. 
None of the former Brewers and Braves players, managers or club officials on a ballot distributed to reporters and other voters received the 75 percent of the vote necessary for induction. The closest candidate was former Brewers right-hander Teddy Higuera, who fell short at 61 percent. That’s a slight drop from the previous year, when Higuera appeared on 64 percent of ballots. 
Higuera was the only Brewers player to receive votes from more than 50 percent of the electorate.  Former Brewers manager George Bamberger received 46 percent. Leading the way on the Braves side was former shortstop Johnny Logan, who also received 46 percent. 
Four other Brewers appeared on at least 30 percent of the ballots. Former Brewers outfielder Ben Oglivie made the cut for 39 percent of voters, former American League Cy Young Award winner Pete Vuvkovich was next at 35 percent and Mike Caldwell, who holds the franchise record with 81 complete games, garnered 33 percent. Former catcher Ted Simmons appeared on 30 percent of ballots. 
On the Braves side, only one player topped 30 percent besides Logan. Joe Adcock, the team’s first baseman in the 1957 and ’58 World Series, received 35 percent of votes.  
A record total of 57 ballots were returned this year and voters could select from among nine Milwaukee Braves and 32 Brewers.  The ballots included field personnel who wore a Brewers or Braves uniform for a minimum of three seasons but have been retired from playing or managing roles for at least three seasons. 
All players and managers who appeared on at least five percent of the ballots will remain eligible in 2012. 
Last year, former Braves pitcher Lew Burdette was the only player to make the cut. He was the first inductee since 2007, when Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn and former Braves GM John Quinn made the cut in the first year that Braves players and officials appeared on the ballot.  
Other inductees include Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount in 2001; Commissioner Bud Selig and Cecil Cooper in 2002; Bob Uecker and Harry Dalton in 2003; Jim Gantner and Gorman Thomas in 2004; and Don Money and Harvey Kuenn in 2005.  
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Clubhouse sale set for Dec. 3-4

Attention holiday shoppers:

The Milwaukee Brewers will host the 30th Annual Clubhouse Sale on Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4 from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. at Miller Park.  The sale will take place in the visiting clubhouse and fans will receive savings up to 75% on sale merchandise items.
Just in time for the holidays, fans can save on Brewers apparel, souvenirs and specialty items as well as rare, game-used merchandise including jerseys and bats.  The Brewers will also have representatives available to handle requests for Holiday 4-Packs.
This year’s sale will include hourly drawings inside the Brewers Team Store by Majestic, located directly across from Friday’s Front Row.  Prizes include personalized jerseys, a shopping spree and authentic collections items.  The drawings will take place every two hours on both days from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. with a limit of one winner per household.  In addition, fans will receive a free gift box with purchases of $200.  Also, in correlation with the recently-completed 40th Anniversary season, every 40th customer at the clubhouse sale on Friday will receive a prize (while supplies last).
Shoppers can access the Clubhouse Sale by entering Miller Park at the Hot Corner entrance near the Brewers Team Store by Majestic and follow the posted directions to the visiting clubhouse.  Cash and credit cards will be accepted (no personal checks).  Admission and parking are both free.
In addition, children can also have their photo taken with the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages on Friday from 10 a.m. – noon and with Santa on Saturday from noon – 2 p.m. at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic.  Fans should bring their own cameras and the photos will be free of charge with any purchase.
The Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.  For more information, contact the team store at (414) 902-4750. 
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Scoreboard project begins

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Scott Paulus/Brewers

The Brewers on Thursday began the most costly project at Miller Park in eight years, when a construction crew removed a 15,000-pound sign bearing the ballpark’s name. It was a dramatic first step in the offseason-long job of replacing Miller Park’s scoreboard system. 

All told, the scoreboard project will cost the Miller Park Stadium District and the team more than $10 million. 
“This is the first step in what is obviously a major project,” Brewers executive vice president of business operations Rick Schlesinger said. “It’s nice to see it went off smoothly.”
Crews will spend the next four weeks dismantling the old video board, matrix board and surrounding structure before installing a new, state-of-the-art, 5,940 sq. ft. scoreboard. Installation is expected to span eight weeks, leaving the Brewers about a month to test the new system before 2011 Opening Day. 
A new “Miller Park” sign will be built-in to the new scoreboard, so the 15-foot by 75-foot existing sign had to go. It had towered over center field since the turnstiles started spinning in 2001, and the Brewers have yet to decide what to do with it. 
A crew from Mortenson Construction had been preparing for the project all week, and just before noon CT on Thursday, the sign was on the move. A crane lifted it up and over the center field roof track and set it down in the players’ parking lot, where the sign will remain until Brewers officials decide what to do with it.
The Brewers and the stadium district have not undertaken a project on this scale since major roof repairs were needed after the 2002 season. The new scoreboard will feature a true 1080 high definition display and, at nearly 6,000 sq. ft., will be the fourth-largest in Major League Baseball, about 40 sq. ft. larger than the scoreboard at new Yankee Stadium. 
The Brewers had originally intended to replace the scoreboard system prior to last season, but plans were pushed back a year. 
“The existing scoreboard was designed in the late 1990s and it’s celebrating its 10th birthday,” Schlesinger said. “The technology to service the board is obsolete, and the board itself, as folks probably saw this year, was starting to run into some trouble.”
The other major offseason project at Miller Park this winter is a remodel of the stadium’s founders suites on the field level. 
Thanks to photographer Scott Paulus for the dramatic shots from atop Miller Park’s roof rail. Here are some more:

Shaun Scott (above) and Ray Risch (below, left) of Mortenson Construction prepare to lower the Miller Park sign by first removing a service beam used by maintenance teams to service the sign. (Scott Paulus/Brewers)
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New fix for Miller Park shadows: Move the roof

shadow.jpgPhoto courtesy Bob Brainerd/FS Wisconsin
After getting approval from the stadium operations staff and the umpiring crew, the Brewers tried a new fix for the notoriously tough daytime shadows at Miller Park on Sunday by manipulating part of the ballpark’s fan-shaped retractable roof. 
General manager Doug Melvin said it was manager Ken Macha’s idea. Usually, the roof panels stack on top of each other above each of the foul lines, two movable panels in left field and three in right, creating a line of sunlight and shadow that creeps across the infield early in afternoon games. The effect is particularly tough, hitters say, when the pitcher’s mound is bathed in sunlight and the batter’s box is in the shade.
On Sunday, two of the right-field panels were left hanging over right field instead of being tucked in their usually, full-open position. That meant both pitcher and hitter were in the shadows from the first pitch. 
“This has to be an ongoing experiment,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said, “because the position of the sun is different at different times of the year.”
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are the two most prominent critics of the hitting conditions during the day at Miller Park. They have suggested simply closing the roof for day games, but that is not considered a good option, partly because Miller Park is heated, but not air-conditioned, and partly because part of the fan experience is enjoying the game on a beautiful, sunny day. 
The Brewers were interested in a third-party opinion of the shadows issue so they contacted Mike Port, Major League Baseball’s vice president of umpiring. Port who surveyed the umps and found that they, too, have particular trouble seeing the baseball on sunny days in Milwaukee.
“This is a real issue,” Ash said.  
The Brewers are moving two day games to the night in 2011, Ash said — one Saturday in April and another weekday during the summer. But they cannot — and do not wish to — completely eliminate daytime baseball, so club officials have tried taking other steps. 
Last offseason, the Brewers removed ivy beyond the center field wall that created glare, and re-painted the hitting background with dark, glare-resistant paint. 
One big problem remains, and the Brewers are not sure there is a fix for the large banks of windows above the grandstands that allow light in during the late afternoon and early evening. Players have suggested tinting the windows, but that would block the light necessary for grass to grow on the field. The Brewers have looked into a massive system of blinds, but it would require a seven-figure investment. 
That’s cost-prohibitive, officials say, at least for now. So manipulating the roof to cover the early innings was the next best option. 
Major League Baseball has rules governing the operation of retractable domes, but they mostly cover the timing of such moves and not the positioning of panels. When Ash was GM in Toronto, for example, the Blue Jays would manipulate a certain roof panel to provide shade for fans in the stands. But it didn’t affect the way sunlight hit the field, he said. 
“You can’t, for example, open the roof while [the opponent] is hitting and then move it like this when we’re up,” Ash said. “Wherever you set it, it has to stay there.”
To make sure, the Brewers consulted with umpire Mike Reilly, the crew chief working the Brewers-Pirates series this weekend. 
Neither team had trouble hitting in the first inning on Sunday. Pirates rookie Neil Walker connected against Brewers starter Dave Bush for a two-run home run in the top of the inning, and the Brewers scored three runs on three hits against Charlie Morton in the bottom half. 
Braun finished 4-for-4 with his 19th home run, and reached safely all five times up. But he declined to talk to reporters after the Brewers’ 8-4 win. 
What did Dave Bush and the rest of the Brewers’ pitchers think?
“I’m smart enough to know it’s not a pitching game any more,” Bush said. “It’s an offensive game between the ballparks and baseballs and everything else. Everything is geared toward hitters right now. In that regard, I’m not surprised. 
“But it’s just part of the game, and when I’m out on the mound I’m worried about what I’m doing, the pitch I’m trying to throw. If we score eight every time with the roof half-closed, I’ll be all right with that.”
Macha deflected questions to the players, especially one about whether there are times a manager tries psychological ploys to draw out performance. 
“Me? Psychological things? Those are all questions for them,” Macha said. “I come to the ballpark and my focus is there. I’m ready to go.”
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Brewers unveil big plans for scoreboard

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The Brewers will install a new, high-definition scoreboard before the start of the 2011 season that will be the third-largest in Major League Baseball, at 5,940 sq. ft. 
There are only two larger boards in baseball: Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium has an 8,900 sq. ft. scoreboard, and Phoenix’s Chase Field has a scoreboard that covers 6,200 sq. ft.
For comparison, the current video board at Miller Park is 1,296 sq. ft. The matrix board underneath it is 2,432 sq. ft. 
In an announcement, the Brewers trumpeted their board as only the third “true 1080 display” in baseball and only the fifth in any major U.S. sports venue. The others in MLB are at Yankee Stadium and Target Field, the new home of the Twins. The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks also have true 1080 displays. 
“When you factor in the overall size and resolution of the new display, we believe this will be the finest video board in Major League Baseball,” Brewers Executive Vice President of Business Operations Rick Schlesinger said in the club’s statement. “This is going to be a spectacular addition to the fan experience at Miller Park in 2011.”
Audio consultant Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon and Williams is working with the Brewers and the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District through the process in developing the new scoreboard.  Mortenson Construction, southeastern Wisconsin’s largest builder, is serving as general contractor for the project.  
The scoreboard project also will include renovations and upgrades to portions of the Miller Park sound system, the Brewers said. 
Facts and figures:
OVERALL DIMENSIONS
Overall physical dimensions of the outfield scoreboard structure will be approximately 105 feet high by high by 168 feet wide (includes signature Miller Park signage at top).
HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO DISPLAY
- Video screen will be one of only three true 1080 HD resolution screens in Major League Baseball and the largest of the three (Yankees and Twins are the others)
- Resolution will 1080 pixels high by 2184 pixels wide (pixels = individual picture elements)
- 1080 lines of pixels matches the 1080p/1080i high definition standard
- Approximate dimensions of the HD display are 54 feet high by 110 feet wide
- 5,940 sq. feet of active area will make it the third largest in Major League Baseball and one of the largest HD LED displays in the world
- The new video display will have nearly 18 times the resolution (in terms of number of pixels) of the existing display
- Physically, the new video display will be nearly fivetimes larger than the existing video display
- It would take approximately 1,500 37″ diagonal flat panel televisions to fill the area of the new LED video display
- In comparison to consumer televisions, this display would be called out as a 1,470″ (diagonal) screen
- Approximately 24,000 feet (4.6 miles) of wiring will deliver power and data within the large video display
- Video display will weigh approximately 74,000 lbs. (37 tons) not including static signage or structure.
- Daktronics HD-15 technology uses state of the art LED (light emitting diode) technology, providing superior brightness in direct sunlight, with the capability to show up to 4.4 trillion shades of color
- Lines of full-color red, green and blue LED pixels are on 15 mm spacing (.6″) spacing
- Super-wide viewing angles offer improved  visibility for more fans
- Viewing angles exceed 160 degrees horizontal (greater than 80 degrees on each side off center)
- Daktronics has scoring/display equipment working at 26 of 30 MLB venues.
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Former Milw. Braves honored at Miller Park

Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews and former Milwaukee Braves outfielder Felix Mantilla were added to the Braves Honor Roll on Tuesday afternoon at Miller Park during an afternoon ceremony. Mathews’ son, Eddie Jr., were on hand for an event organized by the Brewers and the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association. 

Next time you’re at Miller Park, stop by the exhibit on the ballpark’s field level, to the third base side of home plate. It’s worth the time. 
Some photos follow, but I also wanted to pass along this clipping from the April 14, 1953 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune, from one of my colleagues here at Miller Park. It arrived in doorsteps the morning after baseball’s ’54 Opening Day, when Mathews hit a pair of home runs in a loss to the Reds in Cincinnati. 
Irving Vaughan’s game story is tremendous. Here’s a taste:

Cincinnati, O., April 13 — Milwaukee’s Braves, surprising second place finishers in last year’s race, didn’t get away from the post suitably in their 1954 opener at Crosley field today.

In a daffy free-for-all, marked by 13 doubles because the crowd of 33,185 overflowed the playing arena, the Redlegs blew down Charlie Grimm’s lads, 9 to 8, by blasting two of the four enemy pitchers granted employment. 

And, along with the beating, the Braves’ Andy Pafko was beaned but, wearing a batter’s helmet, was not seriously injured, according to first reports.

Mathews Hits 2 Homers
The one thing that can be said in defense of the Braves was that they were the producers of seven of the 13 two baggers dropped among the field customers. Also that the day’s only homers were hit by Ed Mathews, the lad who padded 47 beyond reach last season. This afternoon, in his favorite shooting gallery where he registered seven bull’s eyes last year, he hit a pair, both after the Milwaukeeans had let an earlier 4 to 0 bulge escape.

The Braves started off as batting terrors by bouncing Starter Bud Podbielan into the discard inside of two innings, but Bob Buhl soon fell apart and was yanked in the fourth in favor of Chet Nichols. Mathews’ first homer put Nichols in a tie, but he was routed in a three-run sixth, Rookie Ray Crone and Lew Burdette keeping things orderly therafter.
 
For the rest, you’ll have to head to the Tribune archives. 
Here are some photos from the event, courtesy of Brewers photographer Scott Paulus:
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Something's gotta give

Something has to give when the Brewers host the Braves for a three-game series beginning Monday at Miller Park. 
The Brewers are 4-8 at home but 11-8 on the road. The Braves are 5-14 on the road including their Sunday loss at Philadelphia, but 8-4 at home. 
Maybe Ryan Braun has something to do with the Brewers’ home woes this year. For the second straight season, Braun has been better on the road. Entering Sunday’s finale in Arizona, he was hitting .444 (32-for-72) on the road with five home runs, 24 RBIs and a 1.307 OPS. At Miller Park, he is hitting .245 (12-for-49) with one homer, four RBIs and a .689 OPS in six fewer games.
As a team, the Brewers rank 20th of the 30 Major League teams with a .750 OPS in home games. Entering Sunday’s road trip finale, they led the Majors with an .845 OPS away from home. 
“That’s what makes baseball interesting, you have all these statistics,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. 
Perhaps Braun’s relative struggles at home have something to do with the difficult day game conditions at Miller Park, where light streaming through the banks of windows flanking the foul lines causes glare that hinders hitters. The Brewers painted the center field batter’s eye this year to reduce the effect, but the shadows remain. 
The Brewers headed home Sunday night after a 6-1 win over the D-backs and riding a hot streak. After losing three of four games in San Diego to start the trip, and being shut out in all three of those losses, they averaged 8.5 runs the rest of the way and took two of three from the Dodgers before sweeping the D-backs. 
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