Driving forces of the Milwaukee Brewers behind the scenes talk best memories, working in baseball – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The 2017 Milwaukee Brewers outperformed expectations and gave the town a playoff chase into the final week of the season. Get to know some of the driving forces of the organization as we go beyond the box score, with their top baseball memories and what they’ve learned about working in baseball.
Brian Anderson, television play-by-play announcer
Lives in Hartland, with Brewers since 2007
Baseball team youÂ rooted for growing up: Houston Astros. I grew up inÂ Georgetown, Texas, near AustinÂ and threeÂ hours from Houston.Â
First baseball memory:Â My T-ball coach opening theÂ trunk of his car to disperse those brand-new red uniforms.Â
Best baseball memory: As a kid, walking into the Astrodome with my dad, Dave. I was in awe. It wasÂ the most amazing stadium I’d ever seen,Â complete with a roof, fake green grass,Â brightÂ colorful uniforms, an exploding scoreboard and Nolan Ryan.Â As an adult, being offered the Brewers TV job on Christmas Eve of 2006, the greatest moment of myÂ broadcastingÂ career.
One professional triumph with the Brewers of which you’re particularly proud: Calling the play-by-play for the Brewers playoff run in 2008, my second year on the job. Specifically, calling a late September grand slam byÂ RyanÂ Braun versus the Pirates. That slam and that call ended up on an Apple iPod television commercial.Â
One thing the average fan may be interested to know about working in baseball:Â That as much as I love baseball and the Brewers, I cannot enter the world of true fandom. As much as I want to cheer, and boo, and play manager and general manager â truly express all the emotions of a real fan during the games âÂ I cannotÂ duringÂ the broadcast. There is an expectation ofÂ professionalism and on-air decorum that IÂ must abide. Sometimes though, I must admit, I just want to tailgate with friends, sit in the seats, and take in the full fan experience like the young me with my dad. Then, the paycheck comes and I forget about all that soapy nonsense … ha!Â
Rick Schlesinger, chief operating officer
Lives in Oconomowoc, with Brewers since 2003
Baseball team youÂ rooted for growing up:Â The Milwaukee Brewers (grew up in Milwaukee)
First baseball memory: Watching Game 7 of the 1967 World Series (Red Sox/Cardinals) with my dad on a tiny black-and-white television set after we moved into our new home in Bayside.
Best baseball memory:Â Sitting next to Commissioner (Bud) Selig during Game 6 of the 2002 World Series when I worked for the AngelsÂ as the Angels mounted a comeback from a 5-0 deficit to win the game.
One professional triumph with the Brewers of which you’re particularly proud:Â The first time the Brewers drew more than 3 million fans (2008), which validated Commissioner Seligâs vision for Miller Park, confirmed the wisdom of community in financing Miller ParkÂ and demonstrated the loyalty and devotion of our fans.
One thing the average fan may be interested to know about working in baseball:Â We are, first and foremost, Brewers fans. We cherish the victories, suffer through the lossesÂ and live and die with each pitch.
Tyler Barnes, vice president of communications
Lives in Elm Grove, with Brewers since 2005
Role with the Brewers: I oversee media relations, social media, community relations, broadcasting content and certain areas of our website.
Baseball team you rooted for growing up:Â I grew up in Kansas City and was a diehard fan of the Kansas City Royals. I typically attended about 40 games per season with a couple of friends growing up, and it was at the Royals stadium where I thought of pursuing a career in baseball. I was home from college for the summer, probably around July of 1985, sitting behind the third-base dugout and looking up at the press box. I said to my buddy, “there has to be a way to be paid to sit up there and watch these games.”Â Fortunately, I had very supportive parents who encouraged me to chase that thought.
First baseball memory:Â I was at a game at the old Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, probably the first year that Kansas City was awarded the Royals in 1969. I have memories of the visiting Aâs walking from the dugout to a path under the stands, which eventually led to their clubhouse. It was a great feature of that old ballpark; you could get very close to the players and talk with them as they entered and exited the field.
Best baseball memory:Â Nothing compares to Nyjer Morganâs walkoff single in Game 5 of the 2011 National League Division Series. I was in a camera well, right next to the Diamondbacks dugout. I have been at clinching World Series games, but I have never seen, heard or felt a ballpark erupt in the way that Miller Park did at that moment. A close second would be this yearâs Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Commissioner Emeritus (Bud) Selig. There was an out-of-body experience at a party where I was roaming the grounds with my son, Avery, and Bob and Judy Uecker. Bob and Judy are such big personalities that within 30 minutes, we had visited with nearly every living Hall of Famer. I still have goosebumps thinking about that night.
One professional triumph with the Brewers of which you’re particularly proud:Â I loved being squarely in the middle of the daily frenzy when Hank (the dog) found us in spring training. I am a dog lover, so being able to merge that with my love of baseball was perfect. Strange, but perfect. Plus, I think we were able to do some really great things for the Wisconsin Humane Society, and we continue to work closely with them today. This is just one example of why I truly feel I have the best job in the world. Â
Something the average fan may be interested to know about working in baseball:Â Working in baseball sounds like a great career. And for someone who loves the game, itâs even better than that. Just like any workplace, though, the culture of the organization is so important. When you work for a sports organization that has a great work culture, thereâs nothing that can compare. I am beyond fortunate to have that here at the Brewers. From the Attanasios in ownership through our executive team of Rick Schlesinger, Bob Quinn and David Stearns, they give us every tool and the freedom we need to be successful. But just as important, the people who do the heavy lifting in entry level and support positions here are indispensable.
Tom Flanagan, farm director
Lives in New Berlin, with Brewers since 1990
Role with the Brewers: I oversee the Brewers’ player development in the minor leagues
Baseball team you rooted for growing up:Â The Brewers (I lived in New Berlin).Â
First baseball memory:Â Going to Helmet Day as a youngster and sitting in the upper deck at County Stadium.Â Â
Best baseball memory:Â Almost too numerous to narrow down to one “best baseball memory,”Â but the 2011 playoffs, and the walkoff win in Game 5Â is up near the top.
One professional triumph with the Brewers of which you’re particularly proud:Â Â Seeing the Brewers win the 2008 wild card and get back into postseason baseball. That team had a big core of homegrown talent, making it especially meaningful.Â
Something the average fan may be interested to know about working in baseball:Â It may sound obvious, but you need to really enjoy the game. Working in baseball is a 24/7 proposition.Â If itâs not your passion, it will be tough to achieve success.Â
Tom Hecht,Â vice president of corporate marketing
Lives in Wauwatosa, with Brewers since 2005
Role with the Brewers: IÂ oversee the relationship with all of our advertising partners.
Baseball team you rooted for growing up:Â I was born and raised in Cincinnati; I was a huge Reds fan growing up.
First baseball memory: Hank Aaron hitting (home run No.) 714 on opening day in Cincinnati.
Best baseball memory:Â Growing up it was watching the Big Red Machine winning back-to-back World Series in ’75 and ’76.Â As an adult, the 2011 NL Division Series victory over Arizona with Carlos Gomez scoring the winning run in Game 5.
One professional triumph with the Brewers of which you’re particularly proud:Â Â The numerous fan-friendly additions to Miller Park that have made the ballpark one of baseballâs best, such as the U.S. Cellular Power Playground.
Something the average fan may be interested to know about working in baseball:Â During a seven-game homestand, I might be at the ballpark over 80 hours in one week.Â
Jim Bathey, vice president of ticket sales
Lives in Menomonee Falls, with Brewers since 1991 (plus five previous years as hot-dog vendor in high school and college)
Baseball team you rooted for growing up:Â The Brewers (grew up in Brookfield)
First baseball memory:Â George Scott hitting a grand slam at County Stadium in 1973.
Best baseball memory:Â NyjerÂ Morganâs walkoff hit that won the 2011 National League Division Series.
One professional triumph with the Brewers of which you’re particularly proud:Â Selling in excess of 3 million tickets in 2008, 2009 andÂ 2011
Something the average fan may be interested to know about working in baseball:Â That as an employee we are at about 70 of 81 home games the Brewers play at Miller Park.
Caitlin Moyer, director of new media
Lives in Wauwatosa, with Brewers since 2003
Role with the Brewers:Â I am in charge of the clubâs social media strategy, overseeing the clubâs various social media platforms, including, but not limited to,Â Facebook, Twitter, InstagramÂ and Snapchat. Our department is responsible for creating engaging digital content that will bring fans closer to the organization.
Baseball team you rooted for growing up:Â I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,Â hence destined to be a Brewers fan for life.
First baseball memory:Â I remember going with my mom to watch my dad play softball on summer nights. He was a librarian who worked at the Milwaukee Public Library, and their team was called the âBook-lyn Bums.â I also spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was little; they were from Chicago, so in addition to Brewers games, I remember watching a lot of Cubs games growing up, too. Those were the days of âAwesome Dawsonâ and âRyno,â and the Cubs were in a different league than the Crew, so at that time it was socially acceptable to follow and even root for both teams.Â
Best baseball memory:Â From my time working here, I donât think thereâs much (yet!) that can beat Nyjer Morganâs walkoff in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS to advance the Crew to the NLCS. However, one of my fondest memories is hopping in the car with my dad on warm summer nights as a kid, windows rolled down, listening to Ueck call the game while Dad would drive around from custard stand to custard stand to see which one had the best flavor of the day before picking one to stop at. Mr. Baseball definitely provided the soundtrack to my summers growing up.
One professional triumph with the Brewers of which you’re particularly proud:Â Â Because I have been with the club for so long, I was directly involved in starting each of our social media accounts. During my tenure, Iâve had the pleasure of growing our following from literally zeroÂ to anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million-plusÂ followers, depending on the platform. It has been an honor to transition from a role in marketing to building the clubâs very first âNew Media Department.â Iâve also had the pleasure of being involved in some very memorable social media moments, from the Hank the Dog saga of 2014 (which ultimately led me to LA for the CW Networkâs World Dog Awards, where I found myself taking a photo of Hank with Paris Hilton and Terrell Owens â talk about things you never dreamed youâd be doing) to funny social media skits such as #MomJokeMondays and a Wayneâs World parody featuring Brett Phillips and Josh Hader.
Something the average fan may be interested to know about working in baseball:Â There is no offseason! Rogers Hornsby once said, âPeople ask me what I do in winter when thereâs no baseball. Iâll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.â While I wish I could say that is the case, or that in the front office we all get four to five months to recover from the season, the truth is that for us, sometimes the offseason is even busier than during the season. There is a lot of planning and prep that goes into getting ready for the next season and in the new media world.Â Sometimes the job may even become a bit more challenging as well, since our best content sources (the players/games) are gone for a few months, and we still have to find ways to keep our fans engaged and entertained.
Tai Pauls, senior director of hospitality and special events
Lives in Milwaukee, with Brewers since 2005
Role with the Brewers: I oversee Brewers’ hospitality, which encompasses game day guest services, nongame special events, fan experiences and tours, along with the Miller Park food and beverage program and our partnership with Delaware North.
Baseball team you rooted for growing up:Â The Milwaukee Brewers
First baseball memory:Â Going to a Brewers-Indians game at County Stadium with my mom.
Best baseball memory:Â The atmosphere in Miller Park when the Brewers won Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS.
One professional triumph with the Brewers of which you’re particularly proud:Â My involvement in this past offseasonâs major food and beverage renovation was an amazing opportunity. It was extremely rewarding to see everything come to life this season.
Something the average fan may be interested to know about working in baseball:Â The offseason is actually a very busy time in the office.
Michael Boettcher, director of grounds
Lives in Milwaukee, with Brewers since 2008
Role with the Brewers: I oversee the main playing surface of Miller Park, the little league field and the 30 acres of landscaping surrounding the park.
Baseball team you rooted for growing up:Â I rooted for the Minnesota Twins as I grew up about an hour and a halfÂ from the Twin Cities. I grew up in Osseo, Wisconsin,Â about 20 minutes south of Eau Claire.
First baseball memory:Â Twins winning the World Series in 1991.
Best baseball memory:Â Winning Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS and being a part of it.
One professional triumph with the Brewers of which you’re particularly proud:Â Â The advancements we have made with our playing surface. With a lot of research and development, we have been able to produce a surface that players andÂ coaches enjoy playing upon and is of good quality from Game 1 to Game 81.Â
Something the average fan may be interested to know about working in baseball:Â Every single day is different.Â A season with 81 home games can seem long and repetitive, but since baseball is a sport that is played outside, you deal with the unpredictability of Mother Nature and a retractable roof here in Milwaukee, making every single day a different experience and creating an electric turf management career that never gets old.