Attanasio enjoys feedback from fans
New Brewers owner stays connected through web chats
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio fielded questions from fans during a live web chat on Thursday. Attanasio chatted about ballpark improvements, the trade deadline and the best thing about owning a Major League Baseball team.
kuehlebohnen: What is your favorite baseball movie?
Mark Attanasio: "Major League" with Bob Uecker.
kuehlebohnen: You said that your favorite team when you were growing up was the Yankees, but who was your favorite player?
Attanasio: Mickey Mantle, of course.
Brent_Chabbas: Are you still expecting to move to the Milwaukee area?
Attanasio: Yes, we are buying a condo downtown. We will maintain our primary residence in Los Angeles.
Base_Ball_4: It's been published that you have additional payroll. Which position would you feel is most important to address?
Attanasio: Doug Melvin makes those decisions after consulting with Gord Ash and Ned Yost. Our starting lineup actually looks pretty strong. We would be looking to add some depth.
Jeramey_Jannene: What is the proposed plan to deal with the log jam of players at third base? It seems like you could move Wes Helms to first, but that position is already jammed with Lyle Overbay and Prince Fielder. Are there any plans for Overbay to play in the outfield?
Attanasio: I understand from Doug Melvin that our third base by committee is among the most productive in the Major Leagues. Check the stats of Bill Hall, Russell Branyan, Jeff Cirillo and Wes Helms on a combined basis.
bjkrautk: Is the organizational goal for 2005 making a run at the Wild Card, putting an end to the consecutive losing seasons, or something else?
Attanasio: Ned Yost has told the players that they need to focus on winning on a game-by-game and series-by-series basis and not to get caught up in reaching .500 or the Wild Card.
Base_Ball_4: I know you generally sit by the Brewer dugout during games when you are in town, and I was wondering if the fans sitting around you pester you about making moves or trades? I'm not sure I'd be able to resist harassing you for information if I had the chance.
Attanasio: One of the great things about baseball is that everyone has an opinion and I certainly hear them. Before I was the owner, I had a few strong ones myself.
brewerfan1982: Hi Mark! Do costs for stadium refurbishments affect player payroll in any way, or are they completely separate entities? I'm very excited for the proposed increased spending in both, by the way!
Attanasio: Certain of the expenses are the responsibility, and within the discretion, of the Stadium District. We work closely with them on those. We are both committed to making the fan experience at Miller Park the best that it can be.
brothamayne05: Who is your most feared hitter around the league?
Attanasio: My guess is that if you talk to our pitchers, Albert Pujols and Derrek Lee, would rank pretty highly.
gobrewcrew06: Mark, is there anyone in the league in particular the Brewers organization has an eye on as the trade deadline nears?
Attanasio: It has been pretty quiet as we approach the trade deadline. Some of this has to do with the Wild Card since, as many as 10 (of the 16) teams (including us!) have a shot at qualifying. We will know at the end of the weekend.
signloretta: Has the growing attendance as the result of modest success from the organization caused you to adjust possible financial resources for the club in the future?
Attanasio: Higher attendance = higher revenues = potential for a higher payroll. It is that simple. That being said, Doug Melvin is very disciplined and will only add players/payroll if it helps the team (not simply to make moves).
gobrady: Mr. Attanasio, what has been your most exciting experience with the team since becoming an owner?
Attanasio: Sitting in Miller Park next to the dugout and among our loyal fans continues to be the best part of being an owner.
pcklmn: After taking in many games this year at Miller Park, what are you focusing on to improve the fan experience? I would happily volunteer to be involved in a focus group representing the club level to improve service, menu, etc.
Attanasio: Part of our organizational review includes focus groups and in-game polling. So we have your
e-mail address, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and reference this chat session.
Jeramey_Jannene: Whatever happened to the idea of lowering the cost of beer at Miller Park?
Attanasio: We actually raised beer prices 25 cents this year after our overall review in comparison with prices charged at the Packers and Bucks games. We did make kids meals more widely available through the ballpark. We also have not raised ticket prices since 2002, other than the marquee games with the Yankees and Cubs.
bjkrautk: What changes would you like to see made at Miller Park? What is the status of the roof?
Attanasio: We are reviewing potential changes right now for the 2006 season, including possibly adding LED boards around Miller Park. The Stadium District is working on the details of the offseason roof repairs.
Brent_Chabbas: Mark, what is your take on the situations when the Twins or Cubs are in town, and Brewers fans are seemingly outnumbered? Obviously, tickets sold benefit this organization, but the environment is less than ideal for the Brewers.
Attanasio: I would say to fans -- come on out, especially since we can beat all those guys now!
Base_Ball: I have noticed a change in the chemistry of the team this year over the last few years. Is this something that you emphasize, or is this team just willing to keep egos in line and just have fun?
Attanasio: Doug Melvin and Ned Yost emphasize team chemistry in considering the makeup of the team. We are fortunate to have a really good group of players here in Milwaukee. I just came from a luncheon for Season Seat-Holders where one of those good guys, Overbay, gave up his afternoon with his family to spend time with fans.
senatorshriv: How closely do you follow the Minor League system? Besides the big names, is there anyone you follow closely? Where do you get your Minor League information from?
Attanasio: I get weekly reports on all of our Minor League teams. For obvious reasons, I pay more attention to Double-A and Triple-A. You can link to their websites from our website, www.milwaukeebrewers.com if you would like to follow them more closely.
pcklmn: How did you enjoy your first draft?
Attanasio: It was great. We had a whole "war room" set up with scouts from all over the country. All of our key guys were there, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, Jack Zduriencik, Reid Nichols as well as our scouts and some of their staff. I enjoyed the discipline of the process. By the way, Ryan Braun is playing very well down in A ball.
peaspipe: Are you satisfied with the game day decision making of Ned Yost?
Attanasio: I am very satisfied with the job that Ned Yost is doing this year, including game day decisions.
brothamayne05: What is your favorite team to face?
Attanasio: I liked facing the Yankees here at Miller Park and winning two out of three!
yankhata45: When will we see Corey Hart in the Majors?
Attanasio: That is Doug Melvin's decision. Corey has had two very strong years in Triple-A. There is a balance between developing talent and winning, and in that balance young players don't develop if they are sitting on the bench.
Scott_Jahnke: Which sausage is the best -- hotdog, brat, Polish, or Italian?
Attanasio: I have got to go with the Italian, for obvious reasons.
senatorshriv: Do you believe that enough has been done to rid the sport of steroids?
Attanasio: Major League Baseball has made important strides to address this issue. I am very encouraged by the cooperation between the Players Association and Major League Baseball to put a stiffer testing policy in place. We will monitor the progress of the policy and it is important for the integrity of the game for it to succeed.
czeek: How does the organization plan to keep the Minor League system at, or near, the top of MLB?
Attanasio: Focus and consistency are the key here. Development of the Minor League system remains a key priority for our team, especially since we are not in a major market. We are putting more resources into our Minor League system and are instituting a variety of procedures (semi-annual top to bottom organizational meetings, etc.) so that a consistent message can be sent throughout the organization. Developing top talent is the ultimate goal. J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks and now Dana Eveland have helped us win games as a result of this emphasis.
Brent_Chabbas: What cues have you taken from other pro sports owners as far as running a franchise?
Attanasio: Several Major League Baseball owners have been very helpful in showing me the ropes, which I very much appreciate. We have also done a comprehensive review of the fan experience in NBA arenas as part of our "best practices" study. Major League Baseball also provides an orientation program for new owners which also is very helpful.
Scott_Jahnke: Have you been to any of the buckethead brigade games this season? Do you consider yourself a member?
Attanasio: I did put a rally cap on during the game yesterday, but nothing helped. The question is, do the bucket heads consider me a member?
james_annunziato: Hi Mark, thanks for making baseball exciting again in Milwaukee, and love your business plan for the team and what you're doing at the stadium. It's nice to have an owner who is trying to win. My question is, what will be your main focus in the offseason?
Attanasio: We will be working to improve the team, improve the fan experience and improve the farm system in ways in which we develop players.
mep14: Mark, why aren't the Brewers looking to make a move to strengthen the team in order to make a run at the Wild Card? Melvin has indicated that they aren't looking to make any moves. Surely, the Brewers would want to improve if the opportunity presented itself?
Attanasio: Surely we would. So far the only things Doug Melvin has been offered are "sucker bets." As Doug says, "You can look really smart in July. But you can look really dumb in July." One thing we know about Doug, he is not dumb!
wisowa: In reference to the fan experience, I wonder if much thought goes on concerning fans that have to travel more than the local Milwaukee fans? I drove over three hours from Iowa on about 10 Friday nights last year. What makes us keep coming?
Attanasio: I love that you are such a loyal and passionate fan. Maybe we should be asking you what keeps you coming and anything that would make it easier or better? Let us know at email@example.com and please reference this chat session.
mlb_com_member_4: After being an owner now for half of a season, is it what you expected it would be?
Attanasio: It is even better than I expected it would be and I expected it to be pretty great. Thanks to everyone for joining this chat and for supporting the team. I look forward to doing this again soon. Go Brewers!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.