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01/26/11 2:48 PM EST
Yount added to jam-packed 'On Deck' slate
Hall of Famer to sign autographs at Brewers fanfest Sunday
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Robin Yount will sign autographs Sunday at "Brewers On Deck," the club announced Wednesday, adding a Hall of Famer to an already long list of participants for the annual fanfest. Yount brings to 46 the number of current Brewers players and coaches, prospects and club legends who will take part in the day-long event at Milwaukee's downtown Frontier Airlines Center. Besides the autograph and photo opportunities, "On Deck" features interview sessions, interactive games in a kids area, baseball clinics and, of course, opportunities to stock up on Brewers gear for 2011. "Short of making the postseason, more planning goes into this than anything else we do," said Brewers executive vice president of business operations Rick Schlesinger. "We have between 50-60 of our employees working on it through various committees." Schlesinger would not divulge how much the event costs the Brewers, but said it is not a revenue-generator. All of the money collected at autograph stations goes to the Brewers Community Foundation, the club's charitable arm. "It's an expense, but from our perspective it's a great marketing vehicle," Schlesinger said. This marks the third year of the event at the downtown convention center after a number of other annual fan event iterations. Years ago, the Brewers made stops around the state for separate events, but club officials grew nervous about players packing into vans and traveling icy Wisconsin roads. So they centralized the event and held it at a suburban mall, which quickly became cramped. At least one year, the event was held at Miller Park just before Opening Day, but officials decided they preferred an earlier date. They've found a home on the main convention floor at the Frontier Airlines Center during the week between the NFL's conference championship games and the Super Bowl. The central location has aided planning, but there are still major logistical challenges in gathering nearly 50 players and coaches from 50 different locations. Confirmed participants include 2010 All-Stars Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo and Corey Hart, pitching newcomers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum and Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker, who happened to celebrate his 76th birthday on Wednesday. Tickets for the event are $15 in advance and $20 at the door for adults, and $9 in advance and $15 at the door for children 14 and under. Tickets purchased at the door of the event on Sunday will be cash only. Doors to the facility open at 7 a.m. CT, and the exhibit hall opens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For many fans, the highlight is the autograph opportunities, and the Brewers are implementing a new system this year. Recipients of autographs for Braun, Gallardo, Greinke, Hart, Uecker and Yount will be chosen through a random selection process. Here's how it will work: Numbered coupons to be entered into the random selection process will be available the day of the event only and will be distributed beginning at 8 a.m. With the exception of the first autograph session, coupon distribution will be available up to an hour before each designated autograph session. Fans will receive one coupon per event-admittance ticket and can use that coupon to enter the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players. There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process, but those holding coupons that are chosen must pay $25 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature. Players and staff not included in the random selection process will sign 250 autographs each at prices ranging from free to $10. The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team -- the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia. Cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. But there is more to On Deck than autographs: The Brewers Main Stage will host question-and-answer sessions with coaches and top Brewers baseball executives, game shows featuring players and a roundtable discussion with members of the Milwaukee media who cover the team on a regular basis. The Brewers Interactive Stage will feature a kids-only question-and-answer session, where youngsters interview players, and the Brewers Anthem Challenge, with fans vying for an opportunity to sing the national anthem at Miller Park. At the Newsradio 620 WTMJ Stage, the club's flagship station will broadcast live from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., including interviews with players and coaches. Fans of all ages can visit the FOX Sports Wisconsin Stage to record their own sportscast. FOX Sports Wisconsin personalities will visit the stage throughout the day for autograph opportunities. As a part of the ongoing "Create a Concession" contest, the Brewers will offer fans the opportunity to taste the four finalist recipes as they prepare to vote for a new fan-submitted recipe to be served at Miller Park in 2011. Brewers Community Foundation will host a Treasure Hunt, featuring some hard to find Brewers items on sale as well as a live auction at 2:45 p.m. The BCF will also run a 50/50 Raffle similar to the one that debuted at Miller Park in 2010. The most up-to-date autograph schedule and details of the events and games at the main stage is posted at Brewers.com/ondeck.