Bye Bye Football…Hello Uke & The Brew Crew
Now that the NFL season has closed up shop, at least the games are done, the NFL never really ends. Next on the NFL schedule we have the draft combine, then the draft, etc. etc. The NFL is a machine that runs 24-7.
In a couple weeks we get to hear the crack of the bat, and also one of the best sounds of all…Bob Ueckers voice. Baseball is just about back. The Brewers have 2 teams of good announcers. On the TV side we have Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder who are both capable and entertaining guys. The radio side is where the fun starts. Most probably don’t even know who Bob Ueckers partner is as Bob casts a pretty big shadow. The sidekick to Mr. Uecker is Joe Block, Joe does a nice job of making sure we all know it is Uke’s booth and not get in his way. Bob Uecker is one of the reasons I am a Brewers fan.
Ahhhh, the early 70′s, listening to Uke and Merle Harmon announcing the games. Merle was calling the play by play and Bob Uecker was doing the color commentating. Sitting out on the front porch or playing night games out under the street lights with the radio blaring out the Brewer games. I remember the old names like George “The Boomer” Scott, Pedro “Pistol Pete” Garcia, Bobby “The Italian Stallion” Coluccio, Davey May, and the rest of this obscure bunch of ball players. The smooth voice of Merle Harmon and the great one liner’s that Uke would come up with. The two of them made a great team and were able to make me envision exactly what was going on under the lights in County Stadium.
I loved County Stadium, even though it was not an elite state of the art stadium it still was where I saw my first ball game. I remember my first visit to County Stadium in 1974. As I walked into the stadium that May afternoon with the bright sun shining and the green green grass it was an amazing sight. I still remember the song Rock the Boat by Hues Corporation was playing loudly over the PA system. Every time I hear that song it takes me back to that May day and the double header I was able to watch against the Minnesota Twins [Brewers lost both games and Tony Oliva crushed a long HR that day].
There were many other games I was able to see at County Stadium. I remember nights sitting in the bleachers for 2 bucks and bringing in a pony barrel of beer for my buddies and me to enjoy. Back in the day it may have been allowed or then again maybe nobody ever said anything because they were just looking to fill seats. With the legal drinking age being 18 in 1977, well needless to say….a good time was had by all.
I remember opening day in 1980 when Sixto Lezcano hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the Brewers to a 9-5 win over the Red Sox. I went to that game with a bus load of guys who liked to wager on almost anything. I was definitely not the gambler the rest of these guys were. There was a pool organized on the bus on the way down to Milwaukee. Who would hit the game’s first homer.
Names from both line-ups were placed in a cap and for $25.00 you could pull a name. I had all of $30.00 with me but what the heck, I pulled Ben Oglivie and it turned out to be my lucky Day as Benji hit the first HR on that chilly overcast day. I was $425.00 richer and beer was forcibly bought by me the rest of the day and evening. At the end of the day I still had about $250.00 more than when I started that day thanks to Ben Oglivie. Benji will always have a special place in my heart. So many fond memories.
Now we go to Miller Park to watch the Brew Crew. Miller Park is an amazing venue to watch a game. You know you will always see a game…bad weather, close the roof. My wife and family love going down to Brewer games, the tailgating is as fun as ever. The Brewers have an owner who wants his team to be in the hunt for a play-off spot every year. Even though the Brewers have never won a World Series I love my crew and always will. I look forward to the upcoming season and of course believe the youngsters on the pitching staff will all come through with flying colors and Mat Gamel will be back 100% and fill in just fine for Corey Hart at 1B until Hart is ready to play. It is almost spring training and optimism reigns. Ya’ Gotta Believe!!