December 17, 2015
Dear Brewers Fans:
During this holiday season, I want to extend my sincere thanks to you for sticking with us through a tough, challenging and–most aptly–disappointing season. You showed your loyalty by purchasing more than 2.5 million tickets to see baseball at Miller Park, which you’ve done every season over the past nine years. Only seven other MLB teams have reached this attendance milestone. And over those nine seasons, the Brewers have averaged more than 35,000 fans per home game, which is among the ten highest team averages in all of Major League Baseball.
The commitment you’ve demonstrated to the Brewers, I assure you, is equaled by my own commitment to doing better. Each of you deserves that. By doing better, I mean fielding a playoff-competitive team and one day bringing a world championship to Milwaukee. To move toward accomplishing this lofty goal, I believe we need to take a step back and build more intensively from within. Our new General Manager, David Stearns, has been spearheading this approach, which requires grinding things out, prospect by prospect and trade by trade. While we look forward to using his fresh vision to getting our baseball operations to where we want them to be, we are mindful that there is a lot of hard work to do, and we will not take any shortcuts or look for quick fixes.
Importantly, David has a great deal of flexibility to work with, as the team has just three long-term contracts remaining: Jonathan Lucroy (two years), Matt Garza (two years) and Ryan Braun (five years). As you probably know, David recruited Matt Arnold from the Tampa Bay Rays as his Assistant GM. At this month’s Winter Meetings, he and Matt started to implement their strategy, which David has articulated thematically as acquiring, developing and retaining as much young talent as we can. We do not have a rigid timetable because we believe it is vital to build a proper foundation for sustained success. I am encouraged by the level of teamwork I’ve been seeing in baseball operations and, most significantly, between David and Matt.
Even before David joined our organization, our re-evaluation effort had begun. When the start of the 2015 season told us that the first 150 days of the 2014 season had been an illusion–one ultimately supplanted by the reality of the final month of that season–we made the difficult decision to change the team’s manager. In early May, we hired Craig Counsell, already a valued special assistant to our GM, to a three-year contract. This allowed Craig five months to observe our players in the field and to start training them to play in the style that had brought him two World Series rings as a player.
With a focus on the future at the July 31 trade deadline, we exchanged veteran players who had less than two years remaining under their contracts for seven young players, four of whom saw action with the Brewers before the end of the season. A total of twelve rookies debuted this season–a club record. The performance of our lower-level Minor League affiliates provided more evidence that the talent of our prospects is improving. Our AA affiliate, the Biloxi Shuckers, went to the Southern League Championship Series this year for the first time since 2007. Moreover, Baseball America named three Brewers among the publication’s top five prospects in the Arizona Fall League.
Since the end of last season, we have traded for another seven young players, including three with Major League experience. Through all these trades, we have added fourteen prospects to our team, supplementing the players we selected in what was considered a rich 2015 draft. As reported on mlb.com, eleven of our top twenty prospects have been acquired in the past two years either through draft or trades. The restocking of the farm system has begun in earnest.
Finally, I would be remiss not to acknowledge Doug Melvin, who has transitioned from President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Brewers into a role as Senior Advisor. Doug’s baseball acumen, work ethic and loyalty have been an asset to the team for thirteen seasons, and he remains a valuable resource to David and our baseball operations group.
So, as we approach 2016, I want to reiterate how much the entire Brewers organization appreciates the community’s strong enthusiasm for the club. We are dedicated to building something special here in Milwaukee for you, the best fans in baseball. I thank you once again for your steadfast support.
Chairman and Principal Owner
MILWAUKEE BREWERS BASEBALL CLUB
In case you missed the announcement (and tweeting) yesterday of Mark Attanasio’s open letter to Brewers fans, or if you’re like me and you want it to be readily accessible and to make sure you have an archive of it, I’ve posted the letter in its entirety below.
Read, enjoy, and be thankful we have an owner like this:
November 4, 2012
Dear Brewers Fans:
On behalf of everyone at the Milwaukee Brewers, I want to thank you for your tremendous support this year. More than 2.8 million fans attended Brewers home games in 2012, which once again placed us among the top teams in the National League. For the sixth consecutive season, over 2.75 million came through the turnstiles to cheer on the team, making the Brewers one of just nine teams in all of baseball to achieve that consistent level of fan loyalty and passion. It is no wonder that we have the most wins in MLB at home — 106 — over the past two seasons.
While we experienced a number of highs and lows this season, I hope you are as proud as I am of the way our team overcame some significant injuries and fought for the National League Wild Card during the final weeks of the season. We pulled within 1.5 games of the final Wild Card in the playoff chase and played meaningful games through the final weekend — up to Game 159. Earlier in the summer, it didn’t look as if we would reach that point — and I am very encouraged by the tone that our end-of-season performance sets for next season. From August 20, the Brewers finished the season by going 29-13, tied for the best record in baseball with the Oakland A’s over this time frame. I love that both our fans and our players never gave up on this season.
As I take a moment to reflect on this year — where we started and what we are taking with us into 2013 — I see several statistics that are strong positives. We led the National League in three offensive categories: runs scored (776), home runs (202), and stolen bases (158) — a feat last accomplished 16 years ago by the Colorado Rockies. The home run total was the fifth time in Club history that the Crew hit more than 200 homers in a season, a record set in 2007 with 231. On the mound, our pitchers led both leagues with 1,402 strikeouts, falling just two short of an all-time MLB record. On an individual level, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez were the most potent NL duo in terms of RBIs, totalling 217. Among rookies, Norichika Aoki led or was tied for the lead in many offensive categories, including hits, stolen bases as well as on-base, slugging, and OPS percentages. Yovani Gallardo was tied for second in the NL in Quality Starts, meaning that he pitched six or more innings while yielding three or fewer earned runs, with 25 (76 percent of his starts).
I am also excited by the performance of some of our new and younger talent, as well as by the performance of players we brought up who excelled at the Major League level. These young players assumed key roles during our resurgence, and they did extraordinarily well in pressure situations as we made our push for the Postseason. This is a credit to our Player Development and Scouting staffs under Doug Melvin’s leadership, and through their hard work, we have great reason to be optimistic about the future.
As we look forward to next season, I am also committed to building on the tremendous efforts the Brewers organization and players have made in the community — efforts that you, the fans, have been particularly instrumental in assisting. We specifically would like to thank you for your support of Brewers Community Foundation. With your help, we raised more than $3.2 million this year and provided significant in-kind donations for more than 1,200 area non-profit organizations that focus on health care, education, recreation, and basic needs services. In addition to what you provided, we are proud to say that every single uniformed Brewers player and executive of the Club’s front office staff contributed to Brewers Community Foundation in 2012.
The highlights from this season extended to events off the field as well. In August, we dedicated a new statue of fan-favorite and Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Bob Uecker at the Home Plate Gate outside of Miller Park. His statue now stands among those for Hank Aaron, Robin Yount, and Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig that celebrate and honor legends of the Brewers franchise. Bob’s unique way of describing the joy of baseball has helped foster a strong bond for our Club in our community — a hometown guy who chose to stay in Milwaukee and share his passion for the game and life with us for more than forty years.
Over these past eight years, many exciting moments as a team were heard on the radio, viewed on Fox Sports Wisconsin or national telecasts, and witnessed at Miller Park. I know of no other place where the bond between a team and the community is stronger. For that, we have to continue to work hard to deliver on our pledges to you — to field a perennially competitive team that reaches the Postseason, where anything can happen; to deliver the best fan experience possible; to be an organization for which people want to work; and to be a leader in the community. We have had four winning seasons out of the past six, placing us among the most consistent winners in the National League, along with the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, and Phillies. This year, your unwavering loyalty carried us through a rough patch to the end of a season that had the true excitement of a pennant race. As we gear up for Spring Training and next season, we are thrilled to know that come Opening Day, your enthusiasm will be there to greet us at Miller Park — and I know it will help lead us to another winning season both on and off the field.
Chairman and Principal Owner
|Mark and Debbie Attanasio, along with Brewers Community Foundation, thank our 2012 team on and off the field, the Brewers Wives, and our fans for their contributions and commitment.|
|FOR A LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTED BY BREWERS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, OR TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT OUR MISSION, VISIT BREWERS.COM/WHATISGOOD.|