To Brewers, Truck Day an 'unofficial holiday'

About 26,000 pounds of equipment packed up for Spring Training in Phoenix

To Brewers, Truck Day an 'unofficial holiday'

MILWAUKEE -- More than 20,000 baseballs, 1,000 wood bats, 400 pairs of socks, 200 batting helmets, 160 official jerseys, 60 cases of sunflower seeds and 20 cases of bubble gum. Those were among the Spring Training necessities packed up at Miller Park on Thursday morning and sent on the road to Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, where Brewers pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14 for the start of Spring Training.

Batting gloves, pants, T-shirts and a myriad of other baseball equipment were also packed up Thursday -- "Truck Day," as it is known across Major League Baseball. In cities around the game, it annually marks a ceremonial start to the spring.

"We look at it as an unofficial holiday around here," said Brewers spokesperson Tyler Barnes.

Thursday's departure came four days after another annual milestone, "Brewers On Deck," at Milwaukee's downtown convention center. Thousands of fans took part in autograph and photo opportunities among other events, including get-to-know-you sessions with some of the prospects who could join the next wave of the club's rebuilding project.

The next milestone is the Brewers' Valentine's Day report date for pitchers and catchers, then the club's first full-squad workout Feb. 18.

"We really pick up our entire operation on the baseball side and it goes down to Arizona," Barnes said. "So it's not just the players who go down there, it's an incredible amount of equipment. I think it's about 26,000 pounds of equipment. Just a ton of effort, a lot of hours go into it."

While that truck winds its way to Phoenix, Brewers front-office officials will continue preparations for the team's 48th season in Milwaukee. Earlier this week, the Brewers announced they would begin selling individual game tickets Feb. 18, just as the full squad is taking the field for the first time at Maryvale.

Opening Day is April 3 against the Rockies.

"Our busiest season is right now," Barnes said. "I think everybody knows we completely overhauled our concessions, so if you go upstairs now, you see the ballpark is a massive construction zone. That's a huge project.

"Everything we do, from selling tickets to feeding people, getting the field ready and the grass green, it is a massive operation. So it is a very, very busy time for us."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.