I bring the letter to your attention and I hope to read feedback from the Bleacher Report Brewers community.
October 12, 2009
Dear Brewers Fans:
On behalf of all Brewers players, coaches, and front office staff, we thank you for your tremendous support this year. For the second consecutive season, more than three million fans attended games at Miller Park, which represents the ninth-highest attendance in Major League Baseball. This is a truly remarkable accomplishment, which once again confirms to me that you are the best fans in all of professional sports. This isn't solely my opinion. I have heard from baseball executives, members of the media, and fans from around the country, all of whom agree that your passion and knowledge have no equal. We do not take your support for granted, and I want you to know that it gives us the motivation and resources to compete at a high level.
When my group purchased the Brewers in 2005, one of my primary goals was to raise all expectations for the team. Coming off last season's playoff appearance, I expected us to play very meaningful games again through September and compete for another postseason berth. I share your disappointment that we fell short of our goal.
Only a few years ago, achieving a .500 record would have been acceptable, but posting 80 wins this year satisfied neither you nor the organization. This higher standard demonstrates how far we have come in raising our expectations and how much our performance has improved. Never one to shy away from competition, I welcome the challenge of being held accountable for our efforts to meet this standard.
As I think back on the 2009 season, I find many positives that deserve mention in addition to reaching three million in attendance:
- Our offense scored the third most runs in the National League, trailing only two playoff teams (Philadelphia and Colorado).
- Prince Fielder put together what I believe was the best offensive season in team history, capped by an all-time Brewers franchise record 141 RBIs (tied for the NL lead) and 46 home runs, one behind Albert Pujols for the league's top mark. In the middle of this historic season, Prince won the Home Run Derby at the All Star Game, cheered on by fellow All Stars Trevor Hoffman and Ryan Braun.
- Ryan Braun reached 100 career home runs in his 400th game, the second-fastest to accomplish this among all active players in baseball, and became just the third Brewer to lead the league in hits (203), joining Paul Molitor and Robin Yount.
- Yovani Gallardo recorded 204 strikeouts, the fifth-highest total in Brewers franchise history.
- Casey McGehee, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs, emerged as a legitimate Rookie of the Year contender, leading all first-year players in RBIs and placing second in home runs and batting average.
- Trevor Hoffman once again showed why he is the best closer in Major League Baseball history, recording the NL's fifth most saves (37) and giving Miller Park fans an adrenalin rush with each dramatic entrance to "Hell's Bells."
When I addressed the players and coaches last weekend in St. Louis, I thanked them for playing and working hard right to the finish, capped by a weekend sweep of a Cardinals team that was competing for home field advantage in the playoffs. Even through challenging stretches, our guys always played to win. As a fan and owner, I believe this is a testament to the character and makeup of our team, and it will serve us well as we continue to build for 2010.
Looking ahead to next season, no one at the Brewers will settle for the status quo. We have begun a thorough top-to-bottom review of all aspects of our business and baseball operations, and we will work diligently to improve our roster. We know how important it is for a team in our market size to develop homegrown talent, and we believe our farm system is well positioned to do that.
At the Major League level, Doug Melvin and his staff have already taken several steps toward ensuring a strong foundation for next season. Bringing back closer Trevor Hoffman, who is approaching his 600th career save, is the most visible move, and much more is happening behind the scenes.
In terms of enhancing the fan experience, we are focusing on two areas. First, we will be making several upgrades to Miller Park this offseason, and we look forward to celebrating the Brewers' upcoming 40th Anniversary. Second, we are also sensitive to the cost of attending games in light of the economy, and we believe this is reflected in our ticket prices for 2010. One of my top priorities is to keep the Brewers accessible to the entire community so that families continue to enjoy an affordable experience at Miller Park.
We are also excited about our continued efforts to expand our impact in the community. This year, our players donated over $350,000 to Brewers Charities and other local causes. Together with donations and funds raised by our Brewers Wives organization and the team's corporate partners, more than $1.5 million in grants and in-kind donations went to support Wisconsin organizations in 2009. Brewers Charities will remain a priority for the team as we are already working on a number of new fund-raising programs for 2010.
I am passionate about my role as Principal Owner and committed to taking the steps needed to ensure our long-term success, both on the field and off. I am proud that expectations for our organization have been raised on all fronts, and I pledge that we will continue to work on raising that bar even higher. It is a privilege to serve you, the best fans in baseball, and you should count on my continued hard work to reach our collective goal.
Chairman and Principal Owner