March 2008

Bus Face

Sunday afternoon, we boarded a bus en route to Wrigley Field. It’s less than two hours door to door but there is something cool about seeing big leaguers line up to get on a bus like a bunch of kids headed to school. I thought about how much financial power is sitting here all trapped in a tube headed down I-94 to Chicago.

I wondered how the motorists would react if they knew that behind these tinted windows of the bus they just passed contained a Major League Baseball team. All Stars, Cy Young Award winners, Home Run champs, Rookie’s of the Year, Post Season MVP’s, and a Hall of Fame broadcaster.

Then I thought about the one connection all of these players have with each other. It’s not just the money, the fame, or the adoration. It’s the common thread that has existed with every one of them since they entered professional baseball. Time on the bus…traveling to a ballgame. No towncars, no stretch limo’s. Just a big bus (with TV monitors and a bathroom).  

Today, it’s Wrigley Field. In the past, it might’ve been Brevard County, Florida, or Round Rock, Texas, or Nashville, Tennessee, or Santiago, Dominican Republic or Tokyo, Japan. Collectively, they’ve spent nearly as much time on the bus than on the field. Before they were Major Leaguers, they were on the bus, cruising down thousands of roads, to thousands of towns and thousands of ballparks. Before they got here, they all spent time (some longer than others) in the Minors perfecting their God-given talent out of the spotlight, away from the hoopla and anonymous to most.

Now, the stakes are raised on their rare skills. They play with the burden of a franchise, a city, their own families, mortgages, agents, businesses, and foundations. They’ve made their baseball dreams come true just by being in the Major Leagues. Monday, they will be on a big stage. Today, they’re just sitting on the bus simply as ballplayers, traveling to another park, in another town, to play another game…even though they know it’s more than that.

I never get tired of watching this great game being played at the highest level. Sitting on this bus, I’m in awe of the talent around me and what it takes to make it this far. I remember spending most of my Minor League broadcasting days hoping to get OFF the bus. I realize now, that it never really happens if you’re lucky enough to live the baseball life

Baseball is back…enjoy the ride!

BA 

TV Time

Hi all, Yostn08ps022_3

We’ve been on the air since February 28th but Friday we add color pictures to the mix with the first Brewers telecast on FSN Wisconsin.  Air time is 9pm CST so stay up late and enjoy a taste of Spring Training baseball. We’d prefer to show you some Arizona sunshine but a night game will have to do Friday in Peoria as the Crew takes on the China-lite Padres. We will be back in the natural light Sunday afternoon for our first telecast on WMLW (air time is 3pm CST).

Cameronm08ps025_2 So far so good in camp. For the most part, the team is healthy and at this point, it’s all about getting the pitchers ready. I think the position players would like to start the season yesterday.

I really like what I see in this team. I can certainly feel the energy that’s brewing in anticipation of Opening Day. The last few games aside, the Brewers are much better defensively, especially up the middle. Mike Cameron changes the dynamic of this club and you can’t underestimate the value of an expert game caller behind the plate in Jason Kendall.

Skipper Ned is going to have to make some tough decisions regarding the back end of the rotation, center field (during Cameron’s suspension), and back up catcher. We’ve been getting tons of emails daily during the webcasts at billandbrian@brewers.com. Most of ‘em involve these three storylines.

Kaplerg08ps016_4 Ned’s response has been, "Too early!" But the bottom line, whomever he takes North will have had an exceptional spring because the competition has been that good. I’ve been especially impressed with Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva on the mound. Gabe Kapler’s bat has been nothing less than "shocking" considering he missed an entire season of competition last year. 

Friday and Sunday, you’ll get the chance to see for yourself. Let us know what YOU think.

See you on TV,

BA

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