02/22/11 9:18 PM EST
Brewers set 2011 TV broadcast schedule
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Brewers owner invests in building winner
PHOENIX -- Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio said he did not take lightly the decision to approve an Opening Day payroll north of $90 million for the second straight season.He spoke to reporters after delivering his annual address to the players, who gathered Tuesday morning at Maryvale Baseball Park for the Brewers' first full-squad workout. Among them were pitchers Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Takashi Saito, offseason acquisitions who will account for nearly $20 million in 2011 payroll; first baseman Prince Fielder, whose $15.5 million, one-year contract set a record for an arbitration-eligible player; and second baseman Rickie Weeks, who last week inked an extension that could pay $50 million over the next five seasons. "I've always felt, back to when I purchased the team in '05, that if you commit the capital, the fans will come," he said. "This year, we really didn't have a number set in mind about payroll. We really wanted to let the players we could get dictate the payroll. We kind of felt in the past like we didn't think we were spending money just to spend money, but that's what it proved to be. "You get your opportunities to get marquee players at different times. You don't just get them in the offseason. This winter we were waiting to see how things pan out, and it was Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke. Well, then the payroll gets to a [number that begins] with a nine." Other payroll projections may put the Brewers slightly below $90 million, but the team's own internal figures include buyouts of old contracts (including $2 million paid to pitcher Jeff Suppan) and $2 million more for in-season and September callups. The payoff, Attanasio hopes, will come at the turnstiles. The Brewers expect to top three million in attendance again this season. "We think it's a comfortable bet that we'll exceed three million fans this year," Attanasio said. "Three out of four years, which pretty much puts us in the top 10 of Major League Baseball in the smallest market. It just shows the passion the fans in the community have for our ballclub." At this time last year, Attanasio and the Brewers were engaged with agent Scott Boras about an extension for Fielder, but those discussions did not progress. Fielder is eligible for free agency after 2011. "We're focused on winning this year, he's focused on winning this year. That's all we're focused on," Attanasio said. Is there room to be players for Fielder if he reaches the open market? "We're paying Prince almost $16 million this year, so there's budget for a player of that stature," Attanasio said. "One way or another, the winning will take care of everything this year."
Uecker provides laughs at camp
PHOENIX -- Broadcaster Bob Uecker provided some comic relief during the Brewers' first full team meeting on Tuesday morning and then watched part of the workout at Maryvale Baseball Park.
After undergoing two heart surgeries last year, Uecker is returning for his 41st season calling Brewers games.