Thursday, January 29, 2009
Bob Uecker's Winter Warm-Up
All photos of Bob Uecker's Winter Warm-Up available on Flickr.
Last Friday evening the Brewers held the annual Bob Uecker's Winter Warm-Up and revived the long dormant Brewers On Deck event. I was very excited for these two events. They indicate that interest in the team is growing tremendously here in Milwaukee. Of course, this has been noticeable at the ballpark over the past several years as well as by the number of Brewer fans Pete and I have run into across the country over the course of our travels. But, seeing the crowd lined up around the block to get into the Riverside Theater on Friday night was amazing.
The evening started out with Mr. Baseball warming the crowd up telling stories about his playing days. My favorite was Ueck's story about his pennant run with the 1964 Cardinals. Uecker said that late in the season he was called into the general manager's office and was told he could best help the team by taking an injection of meningitis to open up a roster spot for another player.
Next came a panel discussion with Brewers GM Doug Melvin, new manager Ken Macha, and coach Willie Randolph. With these three guys running things, I have no doubt that the Crew will continue to be competitive for the next several years. Both Macha and Randolph have had success, leading the A's and Mets to playoff births, in recent seasons. Macha talked about players taking responsibility for their day-to-day performance. I believe that he will be a lot stronger manager than Ned Yost and get the best out of our fine young players.
After a brief appearance by the racing sausages, JJ Hardy took part in a Dating Game style show to find him a new girlfriend. JJ asked the ladies a few questions and most of the conversation centered around fishing. After a brief intermission with music from the Miller Park organist Prince Fielder was introduced and talked a bit about his new 2 year, $18 million contract. He was greeted with loud applause but only talked briefly and left before the festivities were over.
Next came a Family Feud style game show that pitted a Canadian team of Doug Melvin, Assistant GM Gord Ash, Dave Bush, and a Brewers prospect against a team of Americans made up of Jeff Suppan, Corey Hart, Mike Cameron, and Rickie Weeks. Topics included Top Foods You Can Add Cheese To, And Favorite Canadian Baseball Players. This last topic provided the most laughs since both Doug Melvin and Gord Ash were Top 5 answers but neither man guessed himself. Finally Ueck held a brief interview with Ryan Braun and Bill Schroeder's introduction of new closer Trevor Hoffman.
The event was a huge success and both Pete and I are very excited for pitchers and catchers to report to Maryvale Baseball Park for Spring Training.