It is great to hear baseball on the radio once again. Even though the weather in Wisconsin is, quite frankly, lousy as I write this (rainy and cold with snow and sleet on the way), it somehow feels just a bit like summer when I hear Bob Uecker and his new sidekick Cory Provus calling the Brewers game.

Today the Crew took on the Cubs in Mesa. It’s the second practice game with about three dozen still to come before the real season starts. So there is probably not much of value to be taken from what happens on the field. In fact, my major take-away from this game is that Provus has apparently learned that his job security is closely linked to his ability to channel Jim Powell (who was, in turn, channeling Ed McMahon) when it comes to yucking it up with the star of the broadcast.

They did a bit fairly early on that was typical Uecker, riffing on the contract Manny Ramierz is working out with the Dodgers. It was entertaining, but Provus seemed to be enjoying Ueck’s shtick just a little too much. But, on the whole, I can’t blame him. He’s got a sweet gig and probably wants to keep it. And there is probably no quicker way to the unemployment line than to fail to gel with Bob.

That aside, Provus seems competent behind the mic. At this point, he’s not as polished as Jim Powell, but that is to be expected given Powell’s dozen-plus years with Uecker and following the team. Moreover, Powell got as good as he was because he had the benefit of calling games for so long. Provus, on the other hand, was only doing a single inning in relief of Pat Hughes during Cubs games.

I will admit that knowing Provus’ affection for the Cubs makes it hard for me to get with him at this point. This might be a Wayne Larrivee situation. When he came to broadcast the Packers from his previous assignment with the Bears, I was suspicious. He professed to being a Packers fan as a kid, so that helped — I want my announcers to feel as passionately about the team as I do. Wayne won me over early on when a Green Bay player was stopped near the goal line, and as the refs dithered Wayne exclaimed, “It’s a touchdown, damn it!” He apologized later (unnecessarily, I think), but from that point on I knew he was my man.

Here’s hoping there is a “Damn it” moment in Cory Provus’ future with the Brewers. I mean, if I am going to let this guy into my headset all summer, I need to know he’s feeling it, too.

 

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