Sprangers springs into success – All-Star week in Milwaukee

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:22 pm

Coordinating All-Star Week leaves little room for play

Lynn Sprangers has trouble sitting still. Sporting a bright pink shirt and a smile wider than the outfield warning track, Sprangers has spent the last year and half balancing her roles as vice president of community and government relations for the Milwaukee Brewers and coordinator for the 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Soon she realized time was at a premium.
"I’ve abandoned my New Year’s resolution to be on time," said Sprangers, who receives as many as 70 phone calls a day related to this week’s festivities. She balances her time among more two dozen committees based in the Brewers’ front offices, which tackle issues of security, transportation and hospitality related to All-Star week events.
To keep herself in check, Sprangers was forced to gain a new perspective on planning the week-long tally of events.
"I’ve sort of likened it to planning a wedding," she said. "I don’t want to look back and feel that after the fact, we didn’t get to enjoy it."
Sprangers said she has always enjoyed her work in the local spotlight. As a political reporter for 11 years, the Kimberly, Wis., native also held the position of director of communications for Milwaukee’s County Executive. Here, she worked for six years as press secretary, spokesperson, speechwriter and media relations director.
"If someone had told me that my next logical path was professional baseball, I would have said ‘how?’" Sprangers said on her position with the Brewers. "It’s sort of ironic that as a fan, I ended up working in Major League Baseball."
Sprangers job as All-Star Game coordinator consists of much more than big hits and ballpark food. She has played a starring role in planning two large, private parties connected with the week’s events, including the All-Star Gala at the Milwaukee Art Museum on July 8. The other pre-game celebration will be held outside Miller Park before the first pitch on July 9.
Both will include Milwaukee vendors and include 4,000 to 5,000 distinguished guests.
"The good news is that we sort of went through this on a smaller scale last year with the opening of Miller Park," Sprangers said on coordinating such a largescale event. "That probably gives us a bit of a leg up."
While routines may be similar, much work remains. Sprangers said she has worked a year a half to help give the game a quintessential Milwaukee vibe.
"The All-Star Game tends to take on the personality of the city in which its held," said Sprangers, who described Milwaukee as having a very "European feel."
"It showcases some of the business icons of the community," she said.
Over the past 20 years, Sprangers has established herself as an icon in her own right. She and husband Mike Gousha reside on the city’s East Side and maintain a high profile presence in the community.
But lately, coordinating the Mid Summer Classic has been a marriage in itself for Sprangers. Although both are avid sports fans, she and Gousha spend limited time together these days.
"When we have time, we’ll sit up together and watch a late game," said Sprangers. Now she said the couple checks up on one another via the nightly news.
"Mike says if he sees me on TV, he knows I’m still here," Sprangers said on her busy schedule.
Despite the hectic times, Sprangers said she reminds her associates to enjoy the moment of hosting such a prestigious, national sporting event.
"She (Sprangers) is the person who makes sure that the communications flows, which is a Herculean task with large event," said Steve Ethier, director of event services for the Milwaukee Brewers. Ethier works with Sprangers on transportation issues and security in and out of the ballpark.
"Lynn always makes herself available to me at anytime and addresses the concerns that I have," Ethier said.
These days, Sprangers is most concerned with showing the world the cultural growth of Milwaukee.
"It’s not just the All-Star celebration that excites me," Sprangers said. "But it’s the opportunity to open some eyes about what’s happening in our community; if there’s one thing about Milwaukee, it’s that we know how to have a good time," Sprangers said.

Lynn Sprangers
Hometown: Kimberly, Wis., located about 100 miles north of Milwaukee
Most admired person: My parents. "They were immigrants from Holland; they taught me humility and that a work ethic will serve you well."
Favorite restaurants: "When we’re in a steak mood, we’re at Mo’s or the ChopHouse. We also love The Knick, Louisa’s, Osteria, Sanford, Coquette and Nanakusa, which is a great Japanese place."
Favorite baseball memory: "There are two. One is certainly the ’82 World Series, because this town rocked. I’d have to say the second one is the closing of County Stadium."
Favorite vacation spot: I love to be able to go home. I make a mortgage payment to that place every month and haven’t been able to spend much time there."
Favorite magazine: New Yorker. "Juan Williams’ book on Judge Thurgood Marshall is also at the top of my list."

July 5, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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