Attanasio has high expectations for 2006
Brewers owner discusses upcoming season during chat
After an 81-81 finish last season, the best finish for the Brewers in 13 years, second-year owner Mark Attanasio hopes to deliver on the high expectations set for the club. Attanasio chatted online with fans Wednesday about highlights from last season, Derrick Turnbow's hair, Spring Training and what's in store for fans at Miller Park in 2006.
Mark Attanasio: Hi, everyone. It's great to see the guys getting ready again down in Arizona. I'm looking forward to spending the next hour with you so let's have some fun.
David_Johnson: Mr. Attanasio, first of all, thank you for all you've done for the beloved Brewers. What are your expectations for the ballclub this year?
Attanasio: I, along with all of our fans, have high expectations for this year. Importantly, I think Ned Yost, Doug Melvin and the players share those expectations. It should be a fun year.
bob100117: How comfortable are you with an starting infield, which would include Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, and J.J. Hardy?
Attanasio: Very comfortable, and that's a good thing since that's three-fourths of the starting infield.
stefan_frank: Have you ever participated in a tailgate at Miller Park? I can say on behalf of all the fans, you're welcome at any of our grills.
Attanasio: Hi, Stefan. I joined some of the tailgates before the last game of the season last year. It was great fun but I'm trying to keep the weight off I lost in the offseason.
pgerbs: Were you surprised by the number of Opening Day tickets that were sold?
Attanasio: I wasn't surprised at all. Ticket sales have been strong. We're expecting to hit one million tickets sold tomorrow, which would be the second earliest in team history. I think we are all very excited for the start of the season.
Base_Ball_4: Mark, do you have any input on the makeup of the team, or do you leave it all to Doug Melvin?
Attanasio: I have final approval on all our major moves. I pretty much leave it to Doug and his staff.
jamie_siegel: What was it that prompted you to actually purchase a Major League Baseball team? What gave you the idea?
Attanasio: I have been a baseball fan since I was 7 and it has always been a dream of mine to own a Major League Baseball team. Now I'm living that dream!
Base_Ball_4: How important is Ned Yost to the franchise?
Attanasio: We think Ned is real important to the franchise as reflected in the contract extension we just gave him. He has done an excellent job leading a young and improving team.
Base_Ball_4: Mark, will the new LED boards be installed in Miller Park this season?
Attanasio: We expect they will be ready for Opening Day.
Base_Ball: Do you and Ned Yost look for a 90-win season in 2006 and the playoffs?
Attanasio: If we add two more wins a month vs. last year we'll have a 90-win season. Think about that.
jscharp: As owner, do you have any say in the lineup that is on the field, or is that 100 percent up to Ned Yost?
Attanasio: Ned takes input from Doug Melvin and his coaches, but makes the final decision. I hear other owners provide that type of input; I have resisted the urge so far.
kyle_scidmore: Could you give us an update on the progress of Ben Sheets?
Attanasio: Ben is throwing well in Spring Training and is eager to start the season.
cubcubcub: Do you really think it's a good idea to try to shut out Cubs fans from buying tickets?
Attanasio: We're not trying to shut Cubs fans out. We're encouraging Brewers fans to come in. I enjoy the rivalry.
jmanz2: Who was you favorite Yankees player growing up? Did you see Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris?
Attanasio: Mickey Mantle was always my favorite and I have a painting of him in my office (next to my Robin Yount and Paul Molitor bobblehead dolls).
jscharp: How many games a year do you attend?
Attanasio: Last year I saw 40 games, half at home and half on the road as it turned out. All told, I visited 11 ballparks last year. I'd estimate I saw another 110 on TV or listened to Bob Uecker on radio.
Robin_19: How close are you to hiring or naming a team president?
Attanasio: Right now I think we have the business side covered with Rick Schlesinger and Bob Quinn in leadership positions. They have done an excellent job.
bob100117: What is the likelihood that Carlos Lee will be re-signed?
Attanasio: Someone has to ask the tough question! I spent 30 minutes talking to Doug early this morning about the makeup of our team over the next couple of years. At this point we are just formulating our views. Whether to re-sign Carlos is one of many decisions we'll have to make over the next few months. I am delighted to hear that Carlos enjoys playing for our team. He has obviously been an important part of our improvement and will be one of the keys to our success this year.
Base_Ball: Will Prince Fielder win the job at first base or is he competing for it right now in Spring Training?
Attanasio: Prince Fielder will be the team's starting first baseman Opening Day. We couldn't have traded Lyle Overbay without the high level of confidence the organization has in Prince.
srvintune21: Mark, is the new addition to right field something that fans can purchase individual or group tickets for?
Attanasio: I have good and bad news. All of the tickets for the right field addition are sold out. We are committed to doing everything we can to make Miller Park as good of an experience as possible for our fans.
Jim_Haas: Do you believe that the Brewers ownership will remain for many years in the Attanasio family?
Attanasio: Absolutely. We also have a stable, passionate ownership group that I also expect will stay together.
superbish: How is the atmosphere in camp this year compared to last spring?
Attanasio: More serious and focused. That's a good thing.
fgdfs: How is your son's rock band coming along?
Attanasio: Great, thanks. They're playing this weekend in Los Angeles at a club called the Knitting Factory and are tentatively scheduled to perform at Summerfest on July 8. That should be an afternoon performance because we're playing a team called the Chicago Cubs that night at home.
Base_Ball: Are you in any fantasy baseball leagues?
Attanasio: I'm in the ultimate fantasy league!
mbha: You have stated that you wanted to create an atmosphere where players will want to come to Milwaukee to play. Besides fielding a winning team, what else do you see as a way to meet this objective?
Attanasio: One of the ways is to create a stable organization with clear directives and goals. Signing Doug Melvin and Ned Yost to long-term contracts was an important way to meet this objective.
jamiesan: Are there any tickets left for Opening Day? Standing room only? Obstructed view? If there are, how can we go about getting them?
Attanasio: You can still get good Opening Day tickets by buying them as part of a 9- or 20-game ticket package. Otherwise, I am afraid it is standing room only.
outcst92: Are you comfortable with fans approaching you at games?
Attanasio: I enjoy talking to fans and still think of myself as a fan first.
Justin_Hephner: Have you seen any of Prince's new tattoos?
Attanasio: I haven't seen Prince's tats but I couldn't miss Turnbow's hair, which by the way, I really like.
Terry_R: Did you have a hand in bringing in Robin Yount? Were you part of the convincing process?
Attanasio: Ned Yost took the laboring oar in bringing Robin back to the Brewers and we are all delighted he's back.
Brad_Hotchkiss: What has been your best memory of this past year?
Attanasio: It's a toss up between hearing my Dad singing the national anthem on Opening Day, meeting Joe Torre during batting practice when the Yankees were in town, and getting a standing ovation from the fans on the last home game of the season for my birthday.
Base_Ball_2: Do you know how many tickets are left for the Twins series at Miller Park?
Attanasio: With the exception of Opening Day and July 8, there is still pretty good availability for the other 79 games.
brodeur: My name is Brian McNamara and I am 13 years old. I have wanted to be a general manager of a pro baseball team for as long as I can remember. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could get to that point or what I could do now?
Attanasio: Hi Brian. The best way is to focus on your schoolwork. Does your principal know where you are right now? A number of young general managers have advanced (graduate) degrees.
Robin_19: Have you ever read "Veeck -- As In Wreck?" Do you see yourself ever trying to do crazy things like Bill Veeck tried?
Attanasio: I have read it. We're going to try instead to look at successful things other teams are doing and to listen to our fans and what they want.
Justin_Hephner: Are you going to be at the Brewers On-Deck event?
Attanasio: Yes, can't wait.
metallicaman100: What is you favorite food to eat at Miller Park?
Attanasio: Brats, along with everyone else. Going to have to cut back on them this year, though.
bugleguy: I've been a Brewers fan for a long time. Never has the excitement reached this peak at the start of Spring Training. I think I speak for all Brewers fans in thanking you for your commitment to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Attanasio: I want to thank you and all our fans. I have had several comments like this during this chat and appreciate the huge amount of support I, and the team, get from the community. Now it is time for us to work hard and deliver on the high expectations for the Milwaukee Brewers this year.
Attanasio: I am sorry that we are out of time and wish that I could have answered all 400 questions that came in. Look forward to seeing you at the ball park either at Spring Training or next month at Miller Park. Opening Day is just around the corner!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.