March 2007

1 Week 2 Tweak

One week to go before the Crew heads North! 

Make sure you take note of the Brewers "On Deck" event planned for your enjoyment Sunday, April 1st.  It’s a FREE event at Miller Park.  The "On Deck" will not be televised this year but the entire TV crew will be there.  We’ll be potato- sack racing to build unity and producer John Walsh will be practicing yelling at Bill and me to "READ THE PROMO" to get us ready for the first telecast.  The players will be there, too…shaking hands, kissing babies and signing autographs before they hit the field for a public workout in the afternoon. 

Some questions to be answered:

For Melam: Joe Thatcher is a great story.  Certainly a guy you root for.  It would not surprise me if he pitched in the Big Leagues this year.  I watched him from the stands Saturday and he is filthy!  He throws NOTHING straight.  He has a natural cutter that breaks away from lefties and into righties.  From what I’ve seen, he hasn’t shown an "away breaking" pitch to righties but he’s a difficult guy to square up on as a hitter which means you can ditch the radar gun and look at results.  It’s rare for a club to call a guy out of minor league camp halfway through spring training so he definitely has the Brewers attention.  They might be making a "Disney" movie about Joe Thatcher one day!

For (too many to count): I know the Direct TV deal is a bummer for many of you.  This decision came from MLB so you can direct your complaints to the mothership.  If you’re anti-Direct TV, you can still watch every Brewer TV game and listen to every Brewer radio game on the web.  Just sign up for the MLB.TV Premium package at MLB.com.  The picture/sound clarity is good with a high speed connection and you can watch/listen at your own leisure since every game is archived after live play.  It’s less expensive than the Extra Innings package, as well.

For Steve at mybrewers.mlblogs.com: I’ve spent some long nights on the web trying to cram four decades of Brewer history in my bean.  Milwaukee World Series teams show up every 25 years so I hope the trend continues in 2007…then is broken in 2008.  Overall, soaking up Brewer lore is a slow process.  I try to pick up as much as I can day by day but I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert.  I can spit out facts all day but to really know it is to live it.  I don’t start "living" it until I get to Milwaukee.  Foundation first, then the house.  I’m trying to build a solid foundation and so far, the process with the current ballclub and front office has been smooth.   

For Javier: Yes we’ve added to the TV announcing crew but Bill and I will call every game whether it’s on FSN North or WMLW (140 games total).  As far as the outfield situation…be patient.  You have to feel for Laynce Nix.  He strained a muscle in his side at the worst possible time.  Tony Gwynn, Jr. is silky smooth in the outfield and I know the Brewers like him.  It’s NEVER a bad thing to have a surplus…especially if you have to address a need.  I’m sure Doug Melvin has been busy fielding calls.  There are a few teams with outfield needs.  If nothing shakes…Frank Kremblas is going to have quite an crew in Triple-A Nashville.  Stay tuned. 

For Brett and Kevin in Milwaukee.  Marc wants you two to know that "he is the #1 Brewers fan in Rock Hill, SC and that if he could be at the games, he too would boo every time anyone but Ryan Braun, potential NL Rookie of the Year, takes 3rd Base."  Marc gets credit the most creative Ryan Braun comment…there coming in fast.  Ryan Braun’s time is near.  Too risky to bring him up now with such a young infield already.  He swings a golden bat.  But if you bring him up and he struggles defensively, his bat will bear the burden and then you have two spills to clean up.  I’ve watched Braun take fungoes at third and he picks it just fine and his throws are accurate.  But he struggles in the games.  That means he’s pressing…and if he’s pressing at Maryvale, what happens at Miller Park?  Let him get some innings under his belt in the Minor Leagues then he’ll be a Brewer with a bullet.

Thanks for all of the questions and comments.  I’ll get to more on the webcasts this week.  I’ve got a new home address…it says "WI".  Cool!  See you all on TV April 2nd.

BA

Ok…here’s a Hall of Fame entry to ease touchy nerves from last week. Click here.  Enjoy?

Lot Squatter

We’re halfway through the Cactus League schedule and I’ve already had enough of Spring Training.  Opening Day can’t get here soon enough.  I’m ready for rosters to be set, lineups to be established, games to count, numbers to matter, and seventh inning "line changes" to disappear.

The closer we get to April 2nd and the Brewers opener versus the Dodgers, the more anxious I am.  The baseball, the crowds, Miller Park…all reasons for such anticipation.  But one subject that has me particularly interested is the much talked about Miller Park tailgating scene! 

I used to be an expert tailgater.  Then I began a career in sports and now I have to work before and after games.  I love my job but I could’ve turned pro in "hanging out."  I love to sit around and yap with good friends and good chow at a stadium.  I come from a long line of parking lot squatters.  High school football, baseball, and Texas Longhorn games were our regular stops as a kid.  We’d pack an illegal amount of people in the RV, plow our way to the stadium lots and set up shop.  Sometimes, we even made it to the game!  It was a guarantee…the dad’s would get stupid, the mom’s would get offended, and the kids would get grounded. Then, we’d rinse and repeat the very next week.  What great memories.  Stories for a lifetime. 

Even Texans know Wisconsin tailgating is legendary…and we think we invented everything.  I’ve heard it from just about everyone who knows anything about the Milwaukee Brewers…the tailgating at Miller Park is a must experience.  I’m looking forward to checking out the scene.  I’ve already made a few warm up stops in the Maryvale lots this spring.  But now I’m ready to see the main dish at Tailgater Park this season.

So feel free to share your stories and detail the rules of engagement.  Two weeks to go…we’re sending a camera crew your way so save ‘em a spot.

BA

Here’s a tailgater tune with an edge…a new CCR: CLICK HERE

Send your thoughts/questions.  Just click on the "comments" icon below.

Brewers in the Box

It’s TV time for the 2007 Milwaukee Brewers.  Saturday (March 10) kicks off the first of three televised Spring Training games from Maryvale Baseball Park.  Jeff Suppan is scheduled to pitch for the Crew versus the Diamondbacks.  Nice…I already love that guy.  Suppan is a broadcaster’s dream.  Works fast, throws strikes, and is a great interview.  You’ll be hearing from a number of other Brewers players and coaches "live" during the telecast as well. 

Bill Schroeder and I have done a week’s worth of webcasts and it has been big help for me.  I needed to knock a little baseball play-by-play rust off after four years with The Golf Channel.  The new Pards and I have had a great chance to get used to each other on the air.  It always takes a little while to learn each others rhythm but honestly, it’s been easy so far.  I put Bill Schroeder right at the top of the list, with Curt Byrum (TGC) and Sean Elliott (Spurs TV), as the most compatible TV partners I’ve ever worked with.  I’ve stepped on his oversized feet a few times but it’s been a smooth dance overall. 

Obviously, calling webcasts, which is essentially a radio call, is play-by-play oriented.  I believe this style of play-by-play is the most creative outlet for a sports announcer.  I’ve been yapping away because I have to.  Without the accounts and descriptions (with the express written consent of Major League Baseball, of course) the audience is in the dark. In radio, the pxp-man leads and the analyst follows. 

But, in television, it’s just the opposite.  The pictures provide the facts and the analyst drives the bus.  There is plenty of "play calling" involved but it’s mostly up to the pxp-man, producer, and director to weave the broadcast around what the analyst sees on the field.  We all contribute, but there is only one man on the crew who has played in the Major League’s and ultimately, that’s where the subject matter begins and ends. 

Saturday will also be my first game with Brewers TV producer John Walsh.  John, aka Johny Sweatsalot, is one of the most highly regarded producer’s in the FSN family.  I’m looking forward to getting some reps with him and the rest of the production crew before we tee it up for real April 2nd.  You can catch the Brewers on FSN North Saturday at 2pm CST, then Monday, March 19, on TV-41 WMLW (Cubs) and Wednesday, March 22, on FSN North (Rockies).  Also, be looking out for a Season Preview Show on FSN North in late March.  Otherwise, we’ll see you on the webcasts and thanks for the steady stream of questions at broadcast@brewers.com.

See you on TV!

BA

Perhaps a diamond in the rough offered up by Lazr4…I like ‘em. Enjoy! CLICK HERE

Please feel free to offer your thoughts/questions by clicking on the "comments" icon below.

Game On

So far so good in Brewers camp.  The Crew is throwing around some serious lumber in the early going.  A few bumps and strains but, overall, the health of the team is very good.  The health of the announcers is also very good.  I’m trying to get a little fatter (preparing for next winter) and "Rock" Schroeder is on a mission to lose 20 lbs before April 1st.  After three days in Arizona, he now has to lose 25 lbs.  Calling baseball again has been an absolute blast.  I can’t describe to you, without sounding like a total wuss, how blessed I am to get a chance to call Brewers games.

You can thank Tyler Barnes for arranging the FREE webcasts.  In a related note, plans are in the works for a charity fundraiser to replace the six months worth of paychecks that Tyler will no longer be receiving.  Way to take one for the team TB!

We’ve enjoyed taking emails during the games [broadcast@brewers.com].  They’re coming in fast so remember, questions only. Short and sweet.  I’m not smart enough, nor talented enough to read long email’s and call the game at the same time.  We certainly don’t want to miss any action so save the filibusters for the blog and keep ‘em tight. 

With that in mind…allow me to respond to a few now:

To Crew82: On the Blog…18 Spring Training webcasts, 140 regular season TV games + playoffs…believe me, you’ll hear PLENTY of Brewers "X’s and O’s" from my trap.  The blog is for the "side" stuff and the mailbag.

Glad to see there are so many "Texas" Music fans out there…it’s an acquired taste, for sure.  I’ll keep the links coming and I’ll search for a better video player.
To Jskill: My starting 9 of Texas ‘tonkers:
1) Pat Green
2) Jack Ingram
3) Reckess Kelly
4) Robert Earl Keen
5) Cross Canadian Ragweed
6) Cory Morrow
7) Mickey and the Motor Cars
8) Charlie Robison/Bruce Robison (platoon)
9) Kevin Fowler
Manager: Willie
Here’s a great station in New Braunfels, Texas if you’re into it. CLICK.

To Megan: I like all kinds of music, not just the "hick" stuff.  From Switchfoot to Haggard to Zeppelin to Bach.  I just can’t do most of what’s on the pop charts.  I try to stick with artist’s who can write it AND play it.  My music inventory would make you laugh.

To Adam and Rob: Good work on The Brewer Nation.  Way to keep it sharp.  I like your breakdown’s and while I’m not a big stats guy, I am all for numbers that tell a good story.  If I ever say a .300 hitter is "3 for his last 10,"  Shoot me!  Yessir, I am truly living a dream but keep that between us.  I’m applying an unhealthy dose of paranoia to my daily work so as to wipe this stupid grin off my face.

To Delaats:  Thanks for the current Milwaukee weather update.  Slap!  BUT, having actually fried a summer egg on my street back home, I can’t wait to experience that glorious Milwaukee summer.  As for the winter, it’s a pretty safe bet my heating bill will be the highest in Wisconsin history. 

Note: I’m working on an outing for Brewers fans.  An "extended" January defrost-fest in Austin (Hyatt Lost Pines Resort). Interested?  Golf, live music, fishing, etc…

To hchutch:  Dead ball and dead bird, right?  In a related story, I once played golf with Detroit Tiger great Lance Parrish…he hit a 3-wood into a large oak tree, dropping a bird…a bird that appeared to have chirped his last chirp.  Except moments later, spooked bird rallied, shook it off, and staggered away.  Sometimes par is better than a birdie!

To Germany Julian:  Thanks for the nice comments and so glad to hear you’re going the extra (kilometer) to stay connected to the Crew.  Keep ‘em coming!

Home Run call entries…that I’ll never use:
from Michael: "Clean up in aisle 3, section 102."
from Giffy…a golf theme: "Fore right."  Or "Fore left."
from hurles12: "More cowbell, please!" Or, any other "Cow" reference.
from Big Rygg: "Baseball, I bid you a fond farewell. Good night, now!"
from pigzig: "ha-ha!"  (Nelson-style, from The Simpson’s). 

To Marty G:  You’ve got $1,350 coming your way.  Put it on Chorizo and double your money!

To Spring Valley Brad: For a 1:05 game, the Brewers will start surfacing on the field around 11am.  The visiting team, unless coming from Tucson, will do their work on their own field then bus over.

To Luke: Bill and I both keep a scorebook during the games.  Keeping a scorebook is a lost art, I’m glad you still do it at the games.  I couldn’t do a game without it.  Mine is more like a pitchers chart.  I’ll scan a copy of my book and post it here soon so you can check it out.  I doubt you’ll be able to read it but I agree, it’s always interesting to see how others score a game.

Thanks all.  Play ball.
BA

Here’s a legend.  Enjoy: CLICK HERE

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