Dear Mr. Fantasy…

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Ok…"Uncle" on this Wisconsin winter! I’m proud to admit the natives were complaining about the weather in Milwaukee a lot more than I was until last week. Last week, I spent some quality time in sunny Arizona at Brewers Fantasy Camp. To see the green grass and feel the sizzle of the sun on my red neck was just what I needed to be officially bothered by the relentless attack on the tundra here lately. My Wisconsin winter fun meter is way down. I’m ready for spring, or summer, or whichever comes next.

Fantasy Camp is a blast. I played college ball but it had been 15 years since I last put on a uniform. It’s still a great thrill. Bill Schroeder does a terrific job as camp coordinator and I enjoyed "camping" with talented Brewers TV producer, John Walsh. I can see why the number of participants is growing each year. I believe there were 95 campers this year, the largest to date. The full clubhouse and training staff is there to take care of you. The lunch spreads are outstanding. And, there’s nothing better than putting on a big league uniform with your name stitched on the back, hanging out in a big league clubhouse, and playing ball on a perfectly manicured diamond. Schroanderwalsh_2

On the field, there was plenty of fun and embarrassment to go around. It’s amazing what the mind says "yes" to, only to have the body say, "absolutely, positively, no flippin’ way!"

My team won as many as we lost. I played center field, short stop, and first base. I also pitched…fired a compete game, 3 hitter on Wednesday. Then, blew a save on Thursday. Stupid game.

At the plate, I didn’t break any bats or bones and actually belted a few extra base hits. Overall, my pride took more of a hit than my hammy’s but the laughs made it a special experience.

Here are my Top 10 favorite moments from the 2008 Brewers Fantasy Camp (some names have been withheld to protect the innocent): Thomas_1

10. Ed Sedar skillfully coaching one of his players on the fundamentals, only to realize two innings later that the player was on the other team.

9. Team Gorman Thomas fining their leader, Gorman Thomas, in Kangaroo Court for impersonating a coach.

8. Johnny Logan’s daily messages. Which sounded something like, "hey…believe me…Frankie Crosetti…hey…Paul Waner…hit em where they ain’t…hey!" Listen for yourself. CLICK

7. Johnny Logan’s creative applications of toilet paper.

6. Dale Sveum’s profanity laced, melancholy beat down of his team in the daily report.

Deer 5. Rob Deer giving us a 15 minute demonstration, in a hail storm, on how he used to hit. Then saying, "Now, nobody here can do that so you’re better off trying something else!"

4. Don Money throwing sliders, drilling our catcher in the head, and throwing at me, and our clean-up hitter, during a coach-pitch game…Don Money was OUR manager!

3. All the campers who went to the plate without a helmet, or a bat…or neither.

2. All the campers who showered in their underwear.

and, #1…Hearing a camper say on Day 2, "Skipper, I can’t play in the field…and I’d rather not hit either!"

Classic! What a great time. Whether you can play or not, if you’ve never been, find a way to get there in 2009. You won’t be disappointed. Call 262-679-3612 and sign up early for next year.Money_1

We’ll talk next from Maryvale Baseball Complex in Phoenix…let’s keep shoveling with a smile. Pitchers and catchers are on their way!

-BA

Play us a tune, Traffic: CLICK

Photos courtesy of Rick and Amy Ramirez

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