(MILWAUKEE) — The annual “Brewers on Deck” fan fest always serves as the unofficial start to the upcoming baseball season in Milwaukee.
“Anytime the “Brewers on Deck” comes around, you know Spring Training is getting near,” Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff said. “It’s good to see everybody… all the new faces, and get to know some of the new guys. Ready to get started.”
The fan fest will also give the returning players and coaches the opportunity to meet their large contingency of new teammates.
“Having so many new players, and having like this event be the introduction to them to the Milwaukee Brewers is a really cool thing,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I think it starts to explain to all the new players that this is what the Milwaukee Brewers are all about.”
Brewers GM David Stearns turned over 14 spots on the ball club’s 40-man roster, losing veteran players like Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas. It’s their biggest turnover since Stearns’ first off-season at the helm, and served as a surprise to some since the team was coming off consecutive playoff appearances.
“I mean they’re all great guys,” Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich said. “You get used to it and just playing baseball in general, there’s turnover every year on every team. Some years more than others and you know we’ve had a little bit, but they’re all great guys and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Even with a slimmer payroll this time around, the players and the Brewers brass didn’t believe that would negatively effect their overall talent level heading into a new season.
“We’re going to be good,” Counsell said. “I think we’re sitting in a very good spot. I think we’re ready to pounce on any opportunity that comes available to us. I think David (Stearns) and Mark (Attanasio) would tell you the same exact thing. If we want to sustain that, there has to be some change.”
One of the hot topics at fan fest was the sign stealing scandal from the Astros, where Houston was caught using technology to steal signs from opposing teams. While other ball clubs have been accused of cheating, the Brewers have made it clear they have never done anything like that.
“This thing is not good for baseball,” Yelich said. “This is not a good look and yeah, we have nothing to hide. We don’t do anything like that.”
“Cheating sucks and we don’t do it,” Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. “I think the commissioner is doing a great job putting rules in place and ring fencing this so it doesn’t happen again.”
“We’ve never even given signs from second base in 15 years in my career,” Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun said. “Everybody is paranoid that we do it. Everybody is convinced that we’ve done some of those things, but we’ve literally never even given signs from second base in 14 years here.”
Now, the Brewers will look toward Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report for Milwaukee on February 12th. The first workout is scheduled for February 13th.
They’ll go in with a completely healthy Christian Yelich and the expectation is that they can once again compete for a World Series, even with a whole slew of new faces.
“I think we’re going to be competitive,” Yelich said. “We’re going to have a great team, and I think that’s what we’re really excited about.”