More from Arizona – Milwaukee Brewers
In this fourth and final installment of “Dave’s Spring Training Trip to Arizona, 2009”, I venture off the beaten path. No former LumberKings making names for themselves in Texas Rangers camp, no future LumberKings throwing sides in the dusty back diamonds at Seattle Mariners camp today. This post is all about….the Milwaukee Brewers?
Yes, the Brewers. They are now the parent club of our own West Division rival Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. However, they also happen to be the club that employed me for seven seasons. Thus, I have a lot of ties to Miller Park and the Brewers organization. Still, this was my first-ever trip to the Maryvale Baseball Park.
We won’t be talking about prospects like Brett Lawrie and Cutter Dykstra here. Sounds like we’re about to see enough of those guys in Appleton this summer. Besides, I didn’t even see them. I did see these guys, though:
Macha seated next to bench coach Willie Randolph. How about this pair for a braintrust?
The Colossus of Sprout himself (I really hope you get this vegetarian joke), Prince Fielder.
Craig Counsell trying out a new batting stance this year. Gone is the “reach for the sky” technique. He happens to be my favorite Brewer for several reasons: he scored the winning run in the 1997 World Series for my OTHER favorite team, the Florida Marlins, and, he was born in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Plus, he’s a cagey veteran.
A Trot Nixon sighting! I don’t know why, but it’s still a novelty to see Nixon in a Brewers uniform.
A prospect on the cusp, third-baseman Mat Gamel. He saw a bit more playing time (along with Mike Lamb and Casey McGehee) with Bill Hall out nursing a tear to his left calf. Gamel’s bat is big-league ready…but much like Ryan Braun just two years ago, apparently his glove still needs some work.
The aforementioned McGehee, who I think is going to be a huge steal off waivers from the Cubs. He hit a wall-scraping grand slam against WBC Australia to turn the tide of a very close game on March 5 while I was there.
Prior to joining the LumberKings in 2006, I served as the research intern for Brewers Baseball on FSN North. This meant gathering a lot of the more offbeat information for announcers Daron Sutton and Bill Schroeder. After Daron departed for the Arizona Diamondbacks, I got the chance to meet and assist current play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson. Daron, Bill and Brian have all been extremely influential on me as a young broadcaster, and I still come back to Milwaukee every September to reprise my role in the booth. It keeps me connected with those guys and allows me to keep learning.
Also, it means I’m welcome in the broadcast booth at Maryvale. I stopped up on two separate occasions while they were webcasting.
Brian, myself and Bill.
I also got the chance to meet the newest addition to the Brewers radio booth as well, broadcaster Cory Provus. It won’t be easy replacing a guy like Jim Powell, but in the brief time I got to know Cory, it was easy to see how focused and prepared he is. Even while Brian and Bill were in the midst of the webcast against WBC Australia, Cory was making notes on each player. I caught a bit of his broadcast a few days later against the Cubs and really enjoyed listening in. I’m sure Brewers fans will agree.
This concludes my blogging tour across the Cactus League (or three stadiums, at least). Next week, we’ll return back to Clinton, where there’s plenty of final preparations going on as the 2009 regular season approaches. Until then, keep your comments coming!