The Milwaukee Brewers finished second to the Cubs last season and are expected to challenge Chicago again in 2018 for the NL Central Division, but the two teams are taking their rivalry to the next level – and in a new way – this year, when the players’ better halves face off in their own game this summer.
Brewers and Cubs wives and girlfriends will play against each other in a charity softball game on June 12 at Helfaer Field next to Miller Park. Katina Shaw, the Brewers’ senior director of community relations, recently divulged some details about the first-time event at the newly renovated Team Store.
Chicago visits Milwaukee for a three-game series, June 11-13. The Brewers Wives vs. Cubs Wives Charity Softball Game – the event’s name for now, according to Shaw – will take place from noon until 2 p.m. at Helfaer Field, the youth-sized baseball field located just northwest of Miller Park, before Game 2 of the series on Tuesday afternoon.
"The ladies are very excited," Shaw said. "We have some very athletic women, a few former softball players."
Shaw anticipates that the Brewers and Cubs players will attend, watch and support, with a few possibly coaching and helping out, as well. She said the game will be a fun way to expand on the Brewers-Cubs rivalry, and told OnMilwaukee that additional details – including whether there would be other programming around the event, what organizations or causes the charity game would benefit and whether it would be open to the public or require paid fan admission – were still being finalized over the next few weeks.
Other Major League Baseball teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins, have held charity softball games featuring players’ wives, but this is the first year for Milwaukee.
The softball game is one of many Brewers Community Foundation events and campaigns this season. Others include the Drives For Charity (April 28-30, June 30-July 2, Aug. 11-13, Sept. 1-3); the Ultimate Auction (May 1-14); BCF Week (May 9-14); the Davey Nelson Celebrity Golf Tournament (TBD); the 5K Famous Racing Sausages Run/Walk (July 15); Hitting 4 the Cycle (Aug. 12); and the Mini Marathon (Sept. 22).
In late-March, the Brewers announced the return of the organization's community initiative, Beyond the Diamond, which features a series of outreach events that take place throughout the season. Beyond the Diamond is built around a partnership between Brewers players, coaches, alumni, wives and team personnel, working hands-on in the community, with events focusing on nonprofits that provide quality programming in the areas of health, education, recreation and basic needs.
Shaw said the Brewers this year are strengthening their relationship with Habitat for Humanity, including a "Build Blitz" in June with Ryan Braun, and also will host a nonprofit summit to bring in local leaders, implement partnerships and help underprivileged kids and families attend games.
The Brewers Community Foundation has raised more than $20 million over the last nine years, supporting around 200 nonprofit organizations, according to executive director Cecelia Gore. The BCF runs ongoing programs like the 50/50 Raffle, Brewers Buddies Ticket Program, Scholarships, Scoreboard Recognition, Student Achievers and Team Smile to raise money to support nonprofit organizations in greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.