Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Kyle Heckathorn Is In The Future (And Willing To Share Sports Outcomes)

Heckathorn Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 2010

Brewers pitching prospect Kyle Heckathorn is spending time in the Australian League this off-season. As such, when it’s early evening here in Wisconsin, it’s already the following morning down under.

As such, I asked Kyle about the outcome of Game 1 of the 2014 World Series. He responded with extreme accuracy.

He was then asked about, presumably, the “over/under” on the game of 6.5 runs scored. Again, Mr. Heckathorn was willing to help out.

My point here is that if you want to know who’s going to win tonight, you can just ask Kyle Heckathorn. But do it right and at least follow the guy on Twitter before asking.

Legends of the Field Off-Season Giveaway Number 1

LOTF

We may be in the throes of the 2014 Postseason with a decided lack of Brewers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still give away autographed Brewers memorabilia!

Check it out. Signed 11×14 photos of Jimmy Nelson & Wily Peralta (click to see them) are available for the winning in this, my current giveaway.

So how do you enter?

First, you must be either be following both me and Legends of the Field on Twitter. Just follow @BrewerNation & @lotfautographs and you’re halfway there. Likewise (see what I did there?), if you Like both my page and the Legends of the Field page on Facebook, you’re also halfway to qualifying for a chance to win.

And yes, if you follow/like all four profiles, you can be entered to win twice, but I’m not guaranteeing a winner from each forum. Instead, it’ll all be random so getting in on all four increases your odds of being selected.

For a third chance at winning, click on this link and send me a message (via Tweet, Facebook message, or comment here on the blog) with your thoughts about it because I’m honestly curious.

I’ll choose my winner(s) on the evening on October 16, 2014.

***UPDATE*** 9:04pm CT
FIRST WINNER CONFIRMED: Pamela Rucker (@PamelaRucker2) won thanks to her following the necessary accounts on Twitter.

BREAKING: Roenicke Decision Announced

Roenicke at the 2010 MLB Winter Meetings. (Photo by Danny Wild/MLB.com)

Roenicke at the 2010 MLB Winter Meetings. (Photo by Danny Wild/MLB.com)

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced that Ron Roenicke will be the team’s manager for the 2015 season.

Roenicke, who has compiled a career 335-313 record as manager since taking over for Ken Macha following the 2010 season, was already under contract for the 2015 season but speculation was rampant over the final month of this past regular season and the days since that his position was in doubt. That was fueled by the Brewers historic collapse over the final six weeks of the season, one which saw Roenicke’s team topple from 16 games over .500 on August 20th to a mere two games north of even at the end.

From 71-55 to 82-80. That’s 11-25 during that stretch including a nine-game losing streak that kicked off a stretch of 13 losses in 14 games. After a small rebound at home in mid-September, one which left the team still capable of controlling whether they got into the playoffs, they slammed back down off their bounce with a thud during the season’s final road trip, a brutal three-city, nine-game NL Central tour.

Apparently the Brewers’ brass felt that enough of the blame did not lie with Roenicke. As the players would (and did after the final game) tell you, the fault lies in their own physical and mental failures. Those that spoke about the season’s shortcomings said that they needed to play better and more consistently. Only so much of that is on the manager in any case. They often get too much credit for success and too much blame for failure.

Despite Roenicke’s staying in town, hitting coach Johnny Narron’s contract will not be extended beyond it’s October 31, 2014 expiration date. Too many hitters performed too poorly for too long for a change there to be avoided. The rest of the dugout staff felt more secure (more on that in a different column as time allows), though it was also revealed that Garth Iorg will not be offered a new contract for 2015 with the organization. If you have a grievance with one of the coaches that you feel deserves having him replaced, please share your thoughts in the comments.

The bottom line on this one feels as though the Brewers value stability at their managerial position and likely believe that making a change in what could be the final year of the current window of contention would cause more tumult than it’s worth. The Brewers won the 2008 NL Wild Card, and were viewed as likely to contend in 2009 & 2010. However, after the Brewers fired Ned Yost at the end of 2008 and gave the reins to Macha for two seasons, they slogged through back-to-back losing campaigns. Roenicke took over in 2011 and won the division by winning 96 games. Much of that is the imported pitching talent that arrived over the preceding winter, but some of the credit does go to the different voice in the locker room. These players respect and like Ron Roenicke. Contrary to some opinions out there, Roenicke has not “lost the locker room” at all.

Sometimes you need to change the voice. That’s an adage probably as old as baseball itself. This isn’t that time for the Brewers in the case of Ron Roenicke.


UPDATE: Here is the Brewers press release on the topic.

The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that the team will not be offering 2015 contracts to hitting coach Johnny Narron and first base/infield coach Garth Iorg.

Manager Ron Roenicke, whose 2015 club option was exercised this past Spring Training, and the rest of the coaching staff will return next season.

The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin. “Over the course of the last few weeks, we have evaluated the work of Ron and his coaches and believe that this is the best course of action to take,” said Melvin. “We appreciate the work that Johnny and Garth did for us through the years, and moves like these are never easy to make. We have already started reviewing our player personnel and will continue to address the factors that led to our disappointing finish to the season.”

Narron served three seasons as hitting coach. He was named to his position on November 28, 2011, replacing Dale Sveum, who was named manager of the Chicago Cubs. Iorg served four seasons as first base coach. He was named to his position on November 15, 2010.

Returning to the coaching staff for the 2015 season will be coach Mike Guerrero (2nd season), pitching coach Rick Kranitz (5th season), bench coach Jerry Narron (5th season), third base coach Ed Sedar (9th season, 5th as 3B coach), outfield coach John Shelby (5th season) and bullpen coach Lee Tunnell (4th season).

2014 AL Wild Card Game Poll

Curious minds want to know…

Jonthan Lucroy Named WE Energies “High-Energy” Player of the Year

 

LucroyWeEnergies

OFFICIAL RELEASE

Prior to tonight’s contest against the Chicago Cubs, Jonathan Lucroy was named the 2014 “We Energies High-Energy Player of the Year.” The award honored Lucroy who was voted as the Brewers player that best personifies the characteristics of hard work, a positive attitude and an aggressive approach to playing the game as voted on by fans, media members and We Energies.

Bert Garvin, We Energies Senior Vice President of External Affairs, presented Lucroy the award in a ceremony prior to the first pitch against the Cubs.  The ceremony also featured members of the Brewers organization including Manager Ron Roenicke, President of Baseball Operations/General Manager Doug Melvin and Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. Debbie Krahn, winner of the “We Energies High-Energy Player of the Year Grand Slam Prize” was also present.

The Brewers catcher received 43.42% of the total vote after a spectacular season. The five year veteran recorded career-highs in games played, hits, runs, doubles and walks. He appeared in his first All-Star Game, becoming just the second Brewer in franchise history to start behind the plate in the game. Lucroy went 2-for-2 with two RBI doubles in the Midsummer Classic. In addition, Lucroy currently leads the league with 52 doubles and looks to become the first primary catcher in modern MLB history (since 1900) to lead his league in doubles. Lucroy joined Lyle Overbay (53 in 2004) and Aramis Ramirez (50 in 2012) as the only Brewers with 50-double seasons.

Last year’s “We Energies High-Energy Player of the Year,” Carlos Gomez came in a close second, recording 40.76% of the total vote. Other past winners include Ryan Braun (2008 and 2012) Nyjer Morgan (2011), Rickie Weeks (2010), Craig Counsell (2009), Prince Fielder (2007) and Bill Hall (2006).

2015 Brewers On Deck Event Scheduled

Time marches on. As such, regardless of how 2014 finishes up, the popular “Brewers On Deck” will return on the final Sunday of January.

It does not, however, return for free.

—Here’s the official release—

The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that tickets for Brewers On Deck 2015 will go on sale tomorrow at 9 a.m. CT.  Set to take place on Sunday, January 25, 2015 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center, Brewers On Deck is the winter fan festival that bridges the gap between the Wisconsin winter and Spring Training.

Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children 14 and under.  Tickets on the day of the event are $20 for adults and $15 for children 14 and under.  A portion of the proceeds from Brewers On Deck will benefit Brewers Community Foundation.

Fans who purchase a ticket before November 1st will receive a voucher for a ticket to a select 2015 April game.

Tickets may be purchased beginning Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Miller Park ticket office, by calling the Brewers ticket office at 414-902-4000, or online at brewers.com/ondeck.

Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family.  Autographs and photos from Brewers players and coaches, interactive games in the Kids Area, Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters, vendor booths with baseball memorabilia, the Brewers Community Foundation Treasure Hunt and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.

The same system for autographs will be used for Brewers On Deck that was used in previous years.  Recipients of any “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced at a later date) will be chosen through a random selection process. Numbered coupons to be entered into the random selection process will be available the day of the event only and will be distributed beginning at 8 a.m. at the Wisconsin Center. Coupon distribution will be available up to an hour before each designated autograph session. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted in early January 2015.  Cash will be the only form of payment accepted at the pay stations in the autograph areas.  For more information regarding the lottery process, visit brewers.com/ondeck.  Additional details regarding the autograph schedules will be available at a later date.

Let The Affiliated Organization Shuffle Commence!

Nashville Sounds

I’m here this evening on a truncated timetable to chime in on the upcoming Affiliate Shuffle. And I’m not talking about the latest dance craze sweeping the internet.

(To be honest though, how much fun would a dance be called the “Affiliate Shuffle”? You could get front offices from around the different affiliated minor league franchises to participate. They could film videos. YouTube would go crazy. The best part? It only comes around every other year and last no longer than a couple of weeks. You wouldn’t have time to get sick it. You’d bob your head and stomp your feet. A little rhythmic clapping to go along with it. Yes, the “Affiliate Shuffle” would take the world by storm! Sell t-shirts. Sell lunchboxes! Sell VHS tapes teaching you the dance in the comfort and anonymity of your own home!)

You know what the least likely part of that entire digression is? That you wouldn’t have time to get sick of it. MLB is tremendous at a lot of things, and it’s ability to overplay a song is breathtaking.

But anyway, like I said earlier, I’m on a time crunch here.

That being the case, let’s lay out the facts:

  • Player Development Contracts (“PDCs”) are agreed to in even-numbered totals of years. This is because when affiliates change, there is a ton of work that goes in. It would be wildly unfair to expect an affiliated organization to potentially overhaul so many parts of their organization on an annual basis.
  • Affiliated organizations agree to these PDCs with Major League Baseball clubs. To put it plainly, these contracts result in the team where organizations send their minor league players to compete and develop.
  • The Brewers have five organizations under such contracts during these two-year windows.
  • At the conclusion of 2014, four of those PDCs (Triple-A, Double-A, High-A, rookie ball) were set to expire.

So that’s where we found ourselves with the 2014 season winding down. The only affiliate under a PDC after 2014 was set to be the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who currently are signed through 2016.

First, some good news came down the pipe as it was announced in August that the Brewers and their rookie ball affiliate in Helena were signing a four-year PDC extension. One down, three to go.

It had been widely assumed that the moving-to-Biloxi-Mississippi Huntsville Stars would stay with the Brewers. The Biloxi team even hired the outgoing Huntsville Stars’ general manager Buck Rogers, so continuity appeared to be a goal. As of the moment I hit publish, there has been no official announcement from either side that the relationship will continue. That being said, Baseball America was operating under the assumption that the PDC renewed automatically for two years. I spoke to someone who said that if the relationship is going to continue, he assumed it would be guaranteed for longer than just a two-year auto renewal. It remains to be seen how it ultimately shakes out.

In the same way as the Double-A affiliate, High-A Brevard County in Florida was shown on the same report from Baseball America to have been renewed for two years. There are some extenuating circumstances surrounding the Manatees, but it appears for now as though the PDC will be renewed there as well.

So if that accounts for three of the four expiring PDCs, we’re brought to the situation in Nashville.

The Nashville Sounds have been the Triple-A affiliate of the Brewers since 2005, which adds up to a cool decade in the Music City. The Brewers put up with an aging facility at the end of this most recent PDC extension. And when Nashville and the Sounds finally got together on a new facility at Sulphur Dell, it was hoped that the Brewers would be benefitting from enduring Greer Stadium. Instead, however, it appears that the Sounds want a new tenant beginning in 2015. That would be unfortunate timing for the Brewers what with the new facility, but then again the PDC almost wasn’t renewed following the 2012 season due to Greer Stadium and a bit of contentiousness.

The bottom line as things stands today is that the Brewers have some potential flux in their minor league system. Tuesday, September 16, 2014 is the first day that teams can officially announce new affiliations. There’s a bit of a potential carousel effect which could take place if rumors hold true.

Those rumors include the A’s leaving Sacramento and affiliating with Nashville (as already mentioned), the San Francisco Giants affiliating in Sacramento and leaving Fresno, and the Brewers possibly ending up affiliating with the Fresno Grizzlies who have been the Giants Triple-A affiliate since 1998. The franchise moved to Fresno in 1998 and was, ironically, a Brewers affiliate in their final season as the original incarnation of the Tucson Toros.

So, there’s much to be revealed beginning Tuesday. Hopefully the dust settles quickly and the Brewers will know where their top prospects will be playing ball for at least the next two years, be that in Fresno or some other option.

Roenicke speaks out constructively on coverage

Brewer Nation:

This is from Adam McCalvy and definitely worth a read and absolutely worth archiving for later retrieval. I’m re-blogging it to my page as such per the WordPress system on which MLBlogs.com resides.

Originally posted on Brew Beat:

4f48202ba7a4e.preview-1024It’s an understated part of the gig when you’re manager of a Major League Baseball team, the fact you’re required to meet the media before and after every game to answer the questions of the day. By nature of that arrangement, Ron Roenicke is far and away the Brewers’ chief spokesperson, forced to answer more than anyone else in the organization when things turn south. 
 
On Wednesday, when Roenicke handled with reporters on the Brewers’ bench while the team began batting practice, he had something to say. Since he did so with the voice recorders and cameras rolling, I think it bears sharing publicly: 
 
“A lot of times,” he said, “I’ll read something that’s been written, like during this time, obviously it’s a tough time. And sometimes when I read stuff I feel like I’ve been pointing fingers at what’s been going on, and I don’t like that. And…

View original 752 more words

Brewers Family Hurting As Seid Passes Away Unexpectedly

Bruce Seid, Brewers director of amateur scouting and a member of the organization for 17 years, passed away unexpectedly yesterday while visiting his family in Las Vegas. He was 53.

“We are stunned and devastated by the news of Bruce’s passing,” said Brewers President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin. “He was a great friend to all of us, and no words can describe the sense of loss we feel. There are only a few people who have been with the Brewers as long as Bruce, and he was a kind and highly-respected member of our organization. There are also very few who worked with the passion and dedication to the Brewers that Bruce did. A number of current players on our roster were given the opportunity to play Major League Baseball because of Bruce, and he was so proud of them. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Erika, and all of Bruce’s family.”

Memorial arrangements are pending.

September Drawing Nigh

HunterMorris

A team in the Major Leagues plays for five months of every season with a 25-man limit (26 on days with double-headers) to their roster size. The vast majority of the games played are done so with the same relative construction to the available players.

Then September shows up.

The phrasing is “roster expansion” but what is basically means is that you can have as many of your 40-man Roster up in the bigs for the final month of the regular season. Nobody does that, mind you, but you can.

The Brewers’ collective philosophy is one of not calling players up for the sake of calling them up. Brewers field manager Ron Roenicke prefers to have guys around who he’s confident in using. He is on record as saying that having too many guys around can be a hindrance as it throws off routine. One example he’s mentioned in the past is that there are only so many reps during batting practice to go around and he needs to keep his season-long players ready. And while general manager Doug Melvin prefers the same, he spoke openly over the winter about one player he feels he should have called up last September. More on that later.

When asked last week about the upcoming expanded rosters, Roenicke was expectedly non-committal. He said that they haven’t even thought about that yet because of how far away they really still were.

Well, despite what Roenicke said in a random media availability session, I guarantee you that there are people thinking about it. Many times teams will call up a third catcher, an extra bullpen arm or two, and maybe a bench player with a specific skill be that a base running burner or a power-hitting pinch hitter. And while the announcements will probably come after the game on August 31st in San Francisco, Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash, and their staff are certainly considering who could be on their short list.

As you may have figured out by now, I’ve been thinking about it too. I was asked about it a few days ago during one of my twice weekly radio segments on The Mike Heller Show*.

I think that there are three virtual locks to come up on September 1 (or as soon as Nashville’s season ends), along with one who will come up when deemed healthy. I’ll also give you another couple of names so that you can’t be shocked if they make September cameos.

The locks are Logan Schafer, Rob Wooten, and Hunter Morris. Here’s why on each.

Logan Schafer will come back up because he offers a decent pinch-running option, is a top notch defensive replacement for late in games, and is currently hitting the ball well again now that he’s been getting consistent playing time with Triple-A Nashville following his demotion as a result of the Gerardo Parra acquisition. Schafer’s best asset is the aforementioned defense though. Imagine a late game defensive alignment of Schafer, Carlos Gomez, and Parra from left to right. Would anything hit in the air to the outfield get down to the grass?

Rob Wooten would return because at least one extra bullpen arm helps keeps all the others fresh and Wooten is a guy who Roenicke trusts with late inning work. Someone else will also go to the bullpen (whomever vacates a rotation spot when Matt Garza is finally ready to return), so you probably don’t need a second bullpen call up, for what it’s worth.

As for Hunter Morris, he’s the “more on this later” from up the page. Melvin feels he made a mistake in not calling up the 2012 organizational player of the year when rosters expanded in 2013. Melvin felt in hindsight that the experience would have benefitted Morris. For his part, despite missing a significant chunk of time due to injury, Morris is hitting pretty well in a little over 300 at-bats so far in 2014. Morris deserves the experience and since he’ll likely be back in the mix for the first base job in Maryvale in 2015, it certainly wouldn’t hurt him to get a taste of the big league way of doing things.

I think Wei-Chung Wang might be back once he’s deemed healthy, if for no other reason than that he put in quite a bit of time in 2014 and certainly won’t suffer from having a bit more time around the big leaguers. He wasn’t pitching much before his injury so having him around shouldn’t adversely affect much in terms of making sure everyone gets enough innings to stay sharp. Jeff Bianchi could also return at some point. For use in double-switches and straight up defensive substitutions, it never hurts to have another capable utility defender active.

The other guys I think you should at least be aware of are Alfredo Figaro (he of the upper-90s fastball), and Jason Rogers (in case Melvin decides to not only fix his mistake with Morris, but not make the same potential mistake with Rogers).

Those are my thoughts. Let’s hear yours. Respond in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter for Brewers news, analysis and commentary: @BrewerNation

* – You can hear The Mike Heller Show on AM radio in the Milwaukee (The Big 920), Madison (The Big 1070) and Eau Claire (Sports Radio 1400) markets from 2pm-6pm CT. My segments are usually on 2:30pm CT on Mondays and Fridays.

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