MILWAUKEE -- While a light snow dusted Miller Park on Wednesday and another cold front moved in, the Brewers packed for spring.
As part of what has become an annual tradition, Bernie Brewer and the Klement's Racing Sausages loaded gear onto a moving truck before boarding that truck themselves for a five-day trip to Phoenix, where Brewers pitchers and catchers formally report Feb. 15 to begin Spring Training.
"This is a sign that winter is ending and we are transitioning into the season," said Brewers spokesperson John H. Steinmiller. "This is the first step."
It has been a particularly brutal winter in Wisconsin, where residents were introduced to the phrase "polar vortex." But high temperatures are expected to top 70 degrees in Phoenix this weekend and into next week, when many of the Brewers pitchers and catchers plan to report early.
"Getting excited," pitcher and top Brewers prospect Jimmy Nelson tweeted on Wednesday, just as the team was packing up.
As in past years, this was the second semi to be packed up and sent southward. The early delivery included much of the Brewers' baseball equipment, which was needed at Maryvale Baseball Park for Bill Schroeder's annual Fantasy Camp.
The second truck did have some bats, catching gear and other equipment, but also administrative items for general manager Doug Melvin and his staff, who are relocating their entire operation to Phoenix this week. Coaching assistant Joe Crawford's video equipment was included, as were medical files and personal items for staff, including a pair of bicycles.
Plus, of course, those sausage costumes. They race every time the Brewers play a game at Maryvale, beginning with the team's exhibition "home opener" on March 1 against the Dodgers. Spring Training tickets are on sale now at brewers.com.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.