MILWAUKEE -- It is pretty clear, and has been for decades, who the main man in the Milwaukee Brewers radio booth is. A couple of generations have been raised with Bob Uecker being the voice of summer. In that time, Ueck has had a number of radio partners. This year, another new voice is calling a few innings each game, and Joe Block likes the sound of sticking around for awhile.
Like a ballplayer toiling in the minor leagues, Joe Block has waited a long time for his shot at broadcasting in "the big show!"
The 34-year-old has called more than 900 professional games, with stops in the likes of Jacksonville, Great Falls and Billings, Montana. Block handled select games for the Expos during their final two seasons in Montreal. Finally, Block was hired to be a Brewers radio announcer, and now, he's living the dream!
"I've wanted to do it since maybe about age eight or so. I would take a tape recorder and I would be in the bedroom and I would have the television on, an old black-and-white TV, and I'd have the Tigers game on because I lived in Detroit, and I would have the sound off, and I would try to call the game. I'd even do the pre-game and the post-game show, but I wouldn't do colors, because then I'd be talking to myself and that's a little weird," Block said.
Block, a native of Roseville, Michigan, and a graduate of Michigan State has a dry sense of humor, like Block's sidekick in the booth, Hall of Famer Bob Uecker.
"Ueck's got such a great sense of humor, so it makes it really easy to get along with. I think I have a similar sense of humor. I appreciate his humor and so I can really pick up on some things sometimes," Block said.
Block sounds as if he belongs behind a Big League microphone because he's done his homework - not only on a day-to-day basis, but in terms of getting to know a Brewers franchise history that spans over four decades.
"I've talked with as many people as I can about this event or that event. Game 7 of '82 - what was that like? The Easter Sunday home run by Sveum, or any of these events, and make it try to feel like I've been here for a little longer than I have," Block said.
Block says he and his wife, Bethany, are thankful not only for the chance to work in Milwaukee, but for the way they've felt accepted by the community.
"I had pretty high expectations coming in for the people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin. Just how nice people are from my interactions with people before. It has exceeded that. People are so welcoming and so passionate about the Brewers. Coming in I thought it was going to be very good, and it's even better than that," Block said.
This Block never felt like an "average Joe." He just worked and waited patiently for the Major League job opportunity to be presented to him.
"I don't know that I ever really doubted that I was going to be here, but in the same breath, I didn't really know if I was ever going to be here, because you can't really count on something that you don't have or don't know or can't really control," Block said.
Now that he's arrived in Milwaukee, Block has no desire to go anywhere else. "I just always kept believing and hoped that I would be able to do this, just because it's all I've ever really wanted to do - call baseball games at the Major League level. I will just keep trying to work hard every day so I can stay here for a long, long time," Block said.