Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

TV TALK

We are a little over a week until Opening Day. Here are some “nuggets” that we’re looking forward to bringing you on Brewers TV in 2011: 

 

Our on-air and production team remains virtually intact: Bill and I will call the games. Craig Coshun will fill in for me when I leave for TBS weekends. As of now, I’m scheduled to do 10 “Sunday MLB on TBS” games. Seven of the 10 will occur during the first two months of the season.

 

Dave Nelson and Jerry Augustine will return to “Brewers Live” pre and post game shows as analysts. Craig and Jeff Grayson will host while Telly Hughes is the reporter. The post game instructional’s will continue after home games.

 

Behind the scenes, the lead producer is the talented young (and bald) Chris Withers and lead director is talented old (and bald) Michael Oddino. Brent Valenti will produce “Brewers Live” pre and post game shows. Michael Vettor is the Coordinating Producer who puts it all together.

New this year, a special 90-minute pre game show for the Home Opener, April 4th.

 

Some new/returning technology for every game on Fox Sports Wisconsin: 

High Definition coverage

Fox-Mo (super slo-mo)

Pitch Tracks

 

There is also a new on-air “look.”  New graphics, animations and a distinctly “Wisconsin” look to them starting Opening Day, March 31. 

 

The music will be new as well with “up and coming” national artists to be featured during the telecasts.  

 

We hope you enjoy our coverage of Brewers baseball this year. It’s an honor for us to enter your space every night for six months. Our final Spring Training TV game will be March 28 on WMLW, then it’s off to the races March 31 in Cincy.

 

See you on TV

-BA

 

PS. I invite you to click this link to my pal Greg Marshall of The Figureheads. Greg makes significant contributions in our community. He penned a nice piece on his experience with the Brewers in Arizona for our friends at GetActiveToday.com. Let him know what you think.

 

ST Update

The off-season turned into the on-season quickly this year. Outside of all the Major League players sitting in the Brewers repair shop, all is well here in Phoenix.

Rock and I are looking forward to a big sponsors weekend at Maryvale. This Friday, March 11, we will host an online chat during our broadcast. I’m not sure how we’re going to pull that off but John Steinmiller will think of something. We look forward to hearing your questions. Just keep ‘em short and sweet. I need to be able to read them between pitches.

Ron Roenicke has had quite a bit to deal with in his first month in uniform. I’ve been hearing so many good things about the new Brewers manager. I’m not surprised. I’ve known him since 1997 and my response to those who praise him is, “Just wait.” Just wait, because to truly see what kind of manager he is, wait until times get tough. That’s where you win or lose your players. I’ve seen him “win” these battles for years and I suspect he’ll do the same in Milwaukee. 

After one week of games, the biggest surprise is Erick Almonte. There is a bench job open for a righ-handed bat. Almonte can play the corner infield and outfield spots. He could play shortstop in an emergency. Offensively, he’s solid. It’s not just about the numbers, which are good at this point. It’s the approach at the plate. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t give away at-bats. He uses the entire field, shows power to all fields when ahead in the count and can shorten up and put the ball in play when behind. Coming off the bench is a tough gig and not many hitters can pull it off. If they were that good with the bat, they’d be in the lineup everyday. Water finds its own level. For me, Almonte has already built up enough equity to earn the first shot at that gig. He hit .320 in Nashville last year. In ’09, he hit .291. There is a track record, albeit unconventional, in place. Maybe at 33 years of age, Almonte can write a great “comeback” story.

Speaking of “comeback’s,” here’s another guy I’d like to see get a shot in the big leagues. Check out “The Comeback Kid” video (and others) from B. Reith. I don’t know him but I’ve never heard anyone like him. How this Milwaukee-boy is not all over my TV and Radio is beyond me. Crazy talent. Enjoy.

-BA

 

 

January Chat Transcript

I joined fans for an exclusive online chat at brewers.com. Here is a transcript of the chat:

Hi everyone, Brian Anderson here from snowy Milwaukee. Welcome to our online chat. I’m anxious to answer your questions today.

jakal351: Who do you think should be the Opening Day starter?

Anderson: I think Zack Greinke will be the Opening Day starter. Ron Roenicke hasn’t committed this early in the game but a CYA (Cy Young Award) always helps the decision process.

mktk4: How do you see the Brewers’ bench and bullpen shaping up this year?

Anderson: The bench and the bullpen are the weakest links. But I think most MLB teams feel that way. I like the potential of Axford closing games with two vets (Saito/Hawkins) setting up.

honesteck: How do you think the pitching rotation will look this year? First, Second, etc …

Anderson: Greinke, Gallardo, Marcum, Wolf, Narveson. I think it’s probably, on paper, the strongest rotation in franchise history. We’ll see how they perform.

johnjv: I’m excited about this year’s team, with the changes and pitching that seems in place. What do you see as the starting lineup to start the season?

Anderson: Me too, John! RR hasn’t asked but my lineup would be: Weeks-4, Hart-9, Braun-7, Fielder-3, McGehee-5, Betancourt-6, Gomez-8, Lucroy-2, Pitcher

jakal351: Roenicke said he was going to run and run often. Do you think he will stay with that mentality as the season progresses?

Anderson: Yes I do. He’s a man of his word and he has strong opinions about aggressive baseball putting pressure on the opposition.

Mollybhappy: Any word on what is going to happen with Prince? Will he leave the Brewers?

Anderson: I expect Prince to be a Brewer and a major contributor in 2011. Hopefully, he’ll decide he wants to stay long-term. He’s certainly earned the right to test the free agent market next winter.

sagunsky: How did you become a play-by-play broadcaster and when did you know that it was a job for you?

Anderson: I wasn’t good enough to play at a professional level. Broadcasting was “plan B.” I was hired in 1994 by the San Antonio Mission in the Texas League to work the middle three innings. I think I made $25/game … which is about what I was worth that first year. The best plan B ever for me!

BrewersLoyalty: Hi Brian. With the need for depth in the modern pitching rotation, why did the Brewers not bring back Chris Capuano?

Anderson: Chris was a free agent and wanted more of an opportunity to start instead of relieve. The Brewers would’ve loved to have him back but could not make that promise. Chris is a smart guy and saw a better opportunity with the Mets. He’s a great story and I wish him well.

lynerz: How does your wife manage the kids when you are always on the road in the summer months?

Anderson: Is this my wife? Kidding. She’s amazing. She keeps everything in order at home while fighting an auto-immune disease. She’s my hero, believe me. We’ve been doing this dance for 17 years now. Can you believe it?

archerbarb: I love when you and Rock talk about your personal life … is that uncomfortable?

Anderson: Not at all. We are part of your family nightly for 7 months. I think we owe it to our audience to open up since we are invading your space so much during the baseball season.

johnjv: Do you anticipate that terms will be reached with Rickie Weeks before the season starts?

Anderson: Yes. That process has already started. I know Rickie would like to stay and the Brewers would like to keep him. If the $ works out, I expect him to sign a long-term deal. I think he’s one of the most underrated Brewers in the lineup. He is a force with the bat and as strong mentally as any athlete I’ve ever covered.

mraasch: What are your thoughts on Betancourt? I thought the SS part of the trade was a push, or maybe a bit better for KC, but I am hearing a lot of people saying Betancourt is a terrible player.

Anderson: I’ve heard he has great tools, plus power as **** and a strong arm. Concentration has been an issue, which would explain why he’s thought of as “average” at the position. Roenicke’s strength is reaching players and Betancourt will be a good case study.

nate1984: How many more seasons do you think Craig Counsell has in him, and do you think they’ll be with the Brewers?

Anderson: Counsell might be the Jamie Moyer of position players. He remains in great shape and such a valuable part of a team. I’d like to see him put a 3rd ring on his finger!

struedel: Do you and Bill always get along? How close have you ever come close to blows in the booth?

Anderson: Always. Rock is one of my best buds and I’m lucky to be paired up with him. I think he’s a terrific analyst. He smells, though.

000jac1: Brian, do you think with overall talent, pitching and hitting that we are ready and can make it to the World Series?

Anderson: Yes. As I said in a recent blog, I think the Brewers have the “bones” of a championship team.

mktk4: Earlier you answered my question regarding the bullpen, but what about the bench?

Anderson: Oh ya, sorry … the bench could use a power bat. It’s trending too left-handed again but there is still time to pick up someone. It’s hard to sign utility/bench players because playing time is limited with the current group of young stars. If the bench and middle relief are your biggest concerns, you’ve got a good club.

hof90: Do you think Carlos Gomez is capable of being the everyday center fielder, providing he gets on base at least once per game? I think we all are excited about the pitching but have concerns in center.

Anderson: Not from what I’ve seen but he is such an incredible athlete, who knows? He’s still young and worth more opportunities. I love his attitude. Great energy. Great teammate. If he hits a little, look out. Such a game of confidence.

struedel: What’s the plan for when you need to interview Takashi Saito?

Anderson: I’ll say, “Telly, Takashi is ready for you!”

trublucrw: Can you give us a scouting report on Saito?

Anderson: RR will have to be careful with Saito. He still has great stuff but probably can’t go to the whip in consecutive games. Everyone I’ve spoken to about Saito says he’s a riot. Can’t wait to get him together with Uecker. Sounds like a Miller Beer commercial in the making.

cooptown1: To say that I am excited about the Brewers this year is an understatement, but I am concerned about the long-term effect on the team the trades may have. What are your thoughts?

Anderson: I say don’t worry about that. You’ve got a great owner, great fan support and plenty of opportunities to develop and win. The Brewers have an abundance of picks in the first two rounds of the June Draft and some rising stars in the lower-levels. Plus, the big league players are still young and talented. Sometimes you hold ‘em, sometimes you fold ‘em and Doug Melvin made some great moves this winter.

nate1984: Congrats on your postseason game-calling so far, you’ve seen some historic stuff. Is that something you plan to continue?

Anderson: Thanks. It was an honor to be a part of Halladay’s no-hitter. I am planning on doing TBS Sunday and postseason games again in 2011. I’m blessed that the Brewers allow me to do both. As was the case last year, the TBS games are mostly in the first 2 months. I want to be around for a Brewers pennant race!

lisaleelee: What is your favorite city for away games?

Anderson: Houston. Tex-Mex and Cajun food, one of my favorite golf courses (Shadow Hawk CC), mosquitos the size of buzzards, big booth and a roof with AC inside.

lisaleelee: Do you miss Bill “Rock” Schroeder and have you seen him since the end of the season?

Anderson: We talk all the time. I’m attending Brewers Fantasy Camp this year, which Rock runs, so he’s been harassing me about being old and out of shape. He runs the best fantasy camp in baseball and I’m looking forward to injuring myself again with some long-time friends.

streusel_2: Why do players during postgame interviews give shaving cream facials to players? Can’t they get a real cream pie? It’s the Major Leagues, shouldn’t one be on hand in the cafeteria?

Anderson: I’m done with pie-in-face … time to come up with something else.

rpbrooks: Hey Brian. With all of the offseason acquisitions — pitching most notably — do you think Axford should grab a “Run out” song like Hoffman. I mean, the guy has to be in line for at least 100 saves this year. If so, what song would you recommend?

Anderson: Has to be something Canadian … maybe some Tragically Hip?!?!

STUD_Lee: How many wins do you think it will take to take the NL Central?

Anderson: I’ll go with 94.

lisaleelee: How does the Miller Park broadcast facilities compare with the broadcast facilities of other ballparks?

Anderson: No joke, the best. Huge booth in a perfect location to see the game, great food, easy access to the field. There is nothing like coming home after a road trip and re-connecting with our crew in Milwaukee.

johnjv: How is Ueck doing? Look forward to hearing his great voice and commentary.

Anderson: Bob is doing well in Arizona. He’s a tough old dog to go through all that and still be on his feet. I’m anxious to see, and hear, him again. In other news, Cory Provus got married in December.

mlowwi: I can’t wait for all the big crowds at Miller Park this year. Is it too early to feel the energy in the city after all the moves this offseason?

Anderson: I feel it. Everywhere I go, people are talking Brewers. They’ve sold more tickets in the last 3 weeks than the previous 2.5 months. Miller Park is going to be rockin’ this summer. The new video wall is coming along nicely, 9-packs are soon to go on-sale and the 40 prizes in 40 days for season ticket plans of 20 or more is getting a lot of play.

struedel_2: Is Brian Anderson your “stage” name? Seems very generic, like your real name is Kasperitis Romaninski or something and you had to change it.

Anderson: My real name is AJ Squaredaway.

10PIN: What is the best way to get started in the broadcasting business?

Anderson: You need a second job or you’ll starve. I was a freelance cameraman while I did Minor League Baseball. Make sure you record yourself often and listen with a critical ear. That is the biggest challenge in the beginning. Make a promise to outwork everyone and be prepared.

Anderson: My time is up. Thanks for the great questions. We’ll do it again next month. Hope to see you at Brewers On-Deck at the Frontier Airlines Center, January 30. Most of the players will be there. God bless.

-BA

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

 

LET IT SNOW

im_millerpark_275x206.jpg…for now, anyway.

 

Something beautiful (and sad) about Miller Park in the winter.

 

Pretty soon those lots will be packed and the ballpark will be alive again.

Join me for an online chat Thursday January 6th at 11am.

Happy New Year!

-BA

Pick and Roll

If Christmas is a special holiday in your house, as it is in mine, here’s to a great day with family and friends.

Aside from my local association with the Brewers Community Foundation, I wanted to share a special group with you that my family is involved with: Joseph Alliance

It’s a charity in the legal sense, but we don’t think of it that way. The gifts and talents of the people we join forces with are plentiful. We simply encourage with resources. In this particular case in Soddo, Ethiopia, we’re financing a building project so they can become a self-sustained Village using their own resources, inside their own culture.

If you are searching and are so led, I’d love to have you join my Joseph Alliance team, or our Brewers Community Foundation this Holiday season. The need is overwhelming. I try not to get caught up in the numbers. It’s not up to us to “fix” everything. I call it the “pick and roll.” Just “pick” a need and let it “roll,” wherever that may be.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here’s a great tune from Matthew West to keep in mind during the Holidays: click   

GAME CHANGER

The Brewers can win the World Series.

 


greinke1.jpgI know, I know, it’s December and a lot has to go right during the course of a long season to even make the playoffs. But, there is no question, the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers have the “bones” of an actual finish-line-championship team.

 

Zack Greinke is a game changer. He immediately goes to the top of Milwaukee’s rotation giving all subsequent slots an advantage on every other rotation match-up outside the Phillies. The offensive weapons are in place and will arrive to the ballpark each day burden-free, knowing they don’t need to score six runs to have a chance to win. In Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, and Shaun Marcum, you have three pitchers who were all Opening Day starters and aces of their respective staff’s last season.  

 

The current starting rotation of Greinke (10-14, 4.17 ERA), Gallardo (14-7, 3.84), Marcum (13-8, 3.64), Randy Wolf (13-12, 4.17), and Chris Narveson (12-9, 4.99) is perhaps…take a breath…on paper…THE BEST ROTATION EVER ASSEMBLED IN 41 YEARS OF BREWERS BASEBALL. 

 


greinke2.jpgOnly time will give us proper perspective on the impact of the deal. There are plenty of reasons for both the Brewers and the Royals to be excited. But, it’s not all roses. Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt don’t come to Milwaukee without strings. Honestly, every player in the six-man deal between the Brewers and Royals has red flags. That’s why trades are made. Greinke has impressively managed an anxiety disorder. It still remains a concern for a man who performs his craft in the public eye, however. He also forced his way out of Kansas City in the middle of a long-term contract. He has two years remaining.

 

Betancourt arrives with concerns about his focus defensively, which explains how a shortstop with a plus-arm, plus-glove, and plus-range can be labeled “average” at his position. That scouting report is similar to Alcides Escobar’s rookie label. The Royals hope Escobar is a cornerstone piece and that he and Lorenzo Cain will hit enough to keep their potential gold gloves on the field. Who knows if Jeremy Jeffress has turned the corner on substance abuse (I believe he has) and that he and Jake Odorizzi will rise to their scouting report. Of the four, for me, Jeffress could be the sleeper for the Royals.

 

Either way, it was a trade that had to be made. In a span of three December weeks, two trades were made that re-shaped a franchise. If you subscribe to the “bird in hand is worth two in the bush” theory, then the Crew made out well. Three established big leaguers, including a bona fide ace, for five prospects. If things do not go well, an opportunity still exists to trade an impact pitcher (Greinke) and an impact hitter (Fielder) and replenish the farm system to start over. That’s the bet-hedger.

 

The Brewers still need bench help. Infield defense is a concern. There are some bullpen questions (LaTroy Hawkins’ repaired right shoulder is a key). But, those are good problems, fixable problems. This is a team with two aces, great depth on the mound, a gutsy, young, power- closer already in place in John Axford. They boast a lineup with power, speed and youth. Put all of that together with the best fans in baseball and a college football atmosphere, we could have some kind of fun this summer.

 

Six weeks ’til pitchers and catchers report. Can’t wait!

 

-BA

RAGS TO RICHES

roenicke_1.jpg
 On November 4th, Ron Roenicke was officially presented as the next manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. It was great to see him in a Brewers uniform (#10). I first met Ron in the Double-A Texas League in a San Antonio Missions uniform in 1997 (I dug up some old photos below). That was a special year for me.

During the press conference, looking at Ron Roenicke shaking hands with Doug Melvin, I couldn’t help but laugh at how twisted this game really is.

There is a long list of reasons why I call “Rags” Roenicke one of the most impressive human beings I know. Aside from his incredible baseball mind, he introduced me to Baseball Chapel. He also helped encourage me through some challenging times in my career. But, one of the first encounters I had with Ron was one that involved my brother, Mike.

 In 1996, Doug Melvin, then the General Manager of the Texas Rangers, released Mike. Mike was a right-handed pitcher in Major League camp with Texas. He had already been to the big leagues and was trying to earn a roster spot with the Rangers. He injured his shoulder in Spring Training that year and was eventually let go. His release was devastating. The shoulder required surgery and while the Rangers paid for the procedure, he was without the medical care of an employer. Mike was on his own to rehab his injury. It looked like his career was over. There was not going to be much demand for a released, 30 year-old, broken down pitcher.

roenicke_4.jpgAfter surgery, Mike moved in with me in San Antonio. Aside from broadcasting Missions games on the radio, I was Mike’s full-time catcher/rehab partner as he began the long process of trying to salvage his career.

 Fast forward one year to May of 1997. Mike’s rehab was complete. He was pain free and pitching well in Monterrey, Mexico trying to prove to Major League clubs that he was healthy. He was having no luck finding a job. I decided to take matters into my own hands and approach Ron Roenicke, the new manager of the SA Missions. I had known him only a few months but drummed up enough courage to cross that fine line between media and manager to play “agent” for my big brother.

I gave him a passionate plea, selling him on the fact that Mike could help his team both on the field and in the clubhouse as a veteran pitcher. It was a young team that included future Major Leaguer’s like Alex Cora, Paul LoDuca, Matt Herges and Wil Brunson.

Roenicke made no promises but with unexpected compassion, went to work inside the Dodgers organization to see if there was a fit. Long story short (too late, I know), Mike flew in from Mexico for a tryout, went through a series of discussions, and just as I hit the air that night to open the broadcast, out popped myandersons.jpg brother from the third base dugout in a San Antonio Missions uniform! I could barely compose myself. Ron Roenicke helped keep his dream alive. 
 
The Missions won the Texas League Championship in 1997. Roenicke was the Manager of the Year. My brother won 4 games for the Missions and bounced up and down the Dodgers chain that year. He returned for the Texas League Championship Series and to this day, one of my greatest memories in the game was Mike and Ron spraying champagne on each other in the Shreveport clubhouse. Mike would pitch for two more seasons in Korea before beginning a professional baseball coaching career himself. Oddly enough, he is now a scout with the American League Champion Texas Rangers.

roenicke_3.jpgSo, there is my first Ron Roenicke story. When he says he cares about his players and the people around him, he means it. In 1997, he was a minor league manager trying to make a name for himself. He took the time to help a minor league broadcaster he barely knew. He made an impact on me and my family that still resonates today. Mike calls “Rags” one of the best baseball minds he’s ever played for.

 It’s a crazy gumbo, this game. I’m a big fan of Doug Melvin these days. But that name was a “four-letter” word in our household for a few years in the late 90′s. I tease him about it all the time.

Now, with dozens of stories just like mine surfacing about Ron Roenicke, he sits as the 18th manager in the history of the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Rags” is a man who has impacted many careers and many lives without asking anything in return. The man who takes great satisfaction in watching others’ dreams come true, finally gets a chance to realize his.

 

-BA

 

View from the booth in STL

Happy 4th of July everyone!

 

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Mr. Baseball’s Gallery




uecker.jpgEveryday is a good day for Bob Uecker. Today, is a really good day for Bob Uecker.

The Brew Crew is taking on water. Eight straight losses and more questions than answers in mid-May will do that to a ballclub. At this point, you’ll hear things like keep perspective, don’t panic, it’s early, keep plugging away, etc…All true. But, the best remedy might be a good belly-laugh. Only Mr. Baseball can deliver such a potion in times like these.

Bob is recovering nicely from major heart surgery. He said he wanted to have the procedure done quickly so he wouldn’t “take a dixie” on the road! The road is a little “dixie” without him. He asked us to keep things light and in perspective. Good advice for him. Good advice for the Brewers. I’ve been told Bob could be back full-time around the All-Star break. That doesn’t mean I don’t expect him to show up unannounced before then, maybe in a Gorilla suit.

One thing is for sure, in the days leading up to surgery and in the weeks Bob has been away from the team during recovery, everyone on the travelling party has realized the sizeable canyon that was left. To know Bob Uecker means knowing arguably the most famous personality in baseball. Wherever he goes, even today, he is hounded by adoring fans. I’ve seen autograph seekers blow right past Prince Fielder to get to Uecker. I’ve seen movie stars turn into stargazers with him. 

I’ve played golf with Bob Uecker. I’ve been on planes, buses and cars with him. I’ve attended functions, shared the microphone and countless of moments “off” the air. His comedic genius doesn’t end with his broadcasts. It flows out of him like a well-watered Chia. I don’t even bother going to stand-up comedy shows anymore. What’s the point? The best 20-minute set in the country happens daily on the 4-o’clock bus to the ballpark with Bob Uecker.
 
The front row sits empty again today. Hopefully soon, the doctors will clear the way for Uke to re-join the party. The doc’s should take into account what’s best for our health, not just his!
A great artist needs a showroom. Thankfully, there is plenty of wall space in this great game for Mr. Baseball.

-BA

 

 

Ernie Harwell

Legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell passed away Tuesday. While the cancer silenced the voice, it cannot touch his legacy. A legacy of character and faith that outweighs a legendary career.

harwell2.jpg

In 2007, I was in my room at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. It was only moments after I had been introduced as the new television voice of the Brewers. My mind was racing with pride and doubt, excitement and fear.  I was sitting on the bed wondering what in the world I’d gotten myself into…trying to digest just how dramatically my life was about to change. Then, the hotel phone rang. I picked it up expecting the Front Desk. Instead, a deep, booming, unmistakable voice came pouring through. “Mr. Anderson, this is Ernie Harwell calling from Michigan.” I was shocked and silent. This was a voice I knew well. I had spent hundreds of hours listening to Ernie’s play-by-play. I had a dozen cassette tapes of his games and had mimicked his delivery down to the “looooong gone” during my early years in broadcasting in San Antonio.

There was “the voice” on the phone. My first congratulatory call came from my broadcasting hero Ernie Harwell!

harwell.jpg

His call came eight years after I spent a memorable evening with him in Arlington, Texas. Lance Parrish, then the Tigers hitting coach, knew my admiration of Ernie and arranged a meet and greet during a Tigers/Rangers series. We met at the team hotel and five minutes into our conversation, Ernie invited me to spend the evening “shadowing” him at the ballpark. He said, “It might do you some good, if you don’t mind hanging out with an old-timah.” I jumped at the chance and was right by his side from pre-game prep to the post game wrap. Ernie was so gracious and willing to share. But when the day was done, our paths did not cross again – until the phone rang at the Pfister.

“Brian, I remember you.” Ernie continued. “I want to congratulate you, young man!” “I’m sure you have a lot to think about but I want you to know that you belong in the big leagues. Welcome to the club!” Ernie then went on to tell me how much he loved Milwaukee and how much he missed traveling there after the Brewers changed leagues. He told me how nervous he was during his first year with the Brooklyn Dodgers and warned me that I’d be fighting some “jittuhs.” He admitted that he worked his entire career with a healthy dose of paranoia about not being good enough (Crazy, I know!) and shared his affection for the Midwest despite growing up in the South, like I did. “You’re going to love working up here,” he said. “The people are friendly and passionate about their teams. Just be honest and be yourself and you’ll fit right in. You might want to buy a heavy coat, though!”

harwell3.jpg

I have always thought of Ernie Harwell as the perfect broadcaster. Having known him, I found out he’s as close to a perfect man as we mortals can be. Before I met Ernie, I wasn’t sure how to live in this fantasy world without losing one’s family, faith and peace of mind. He kept all of those intact at a “hall of fame” level while soaring to the top of his industry. As impossible as it sounds, Ernie Harwell was a better man than he was a broadcaster.

Every time the Brewers travelled to Detroit, I called him. He joined me on the air in 2007 during Justin Verlander’s no-hitter against the Brewers. “That’ll teach ya!” he says. I spoke to him last June and he was pleased to tell me that (at age 91) he just signed a 10 year contract with a 10 year option as a spokesman for a large corporation. Classic Ernie!

Ernie Harwell passed away Tuesday at the age of 92. When I heard the news of his illness, I wasn’t sad. I smiled. I know where his “next adventure,” as he puts it, is headed.

Today, Ernie Harwell fans all over the world, like me, mourn the loss of a great man and mentor. I was blessed to know him. He set a gold standard for character. 

Mr. Harwell, thanks for taking the time to make an impact on me. I’ll do my best to follow your lead, both on the air and on the ground.

-BA

 

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