MARYVALE, Ariz. (WITI) -- Bob Uecker has served as a play-by-play announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers since 1971! He's gearing up for the Brewers 2014 season. FOX6's Tim Van Vooren talked with Mr. Baseball at Brewers Spring Training at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, Arizona.
Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training carries with it a certain romance. For a baseball lifer like Bob Uecker, Spring Training evokes memories of his playing days.
"Watching all these young pitchers get out there and heat up and nobody's hitting or anything, but they've got a guy standing there in the batter's box which was normally my job -- you look at Jeff Bianchi -- he's not a regular and he's not going to start, so throw him out there and if he gets drilled, so what? That was normally my spot during Spring Training -- right there," Uecker said.
This spring is a little different for Mr. Baseball. With the support of Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio, Uecker has announced that he intends to cut back a bit on his radio broadcasting schedule -- skipping some road games this Brewers season. He has other plans, though.
"I'm going to do some advanced scouting for the team. My first assignment from Mark is Germany. I dunno who we have over there or who he wants to look at, but if that's where he wants me to go, I'm gonna go," Uecker said.
Right now, Uecker is scouting this year's club.
"Guys like Jimmy Henderson, who is out there throwing now, we've got some guys that throw hard, and in all seriousness, the guys who -- you can't -- you know, guys who throw hard, you've either got a good arm or you don't. You can teach curveballs and sliders and the other stuff, but when you are talking about velocity, these guys like Jimmy Henderson and Peralta -- and there's others that throw up in that upper 90s and triple digit mark once in awhile, those are the guys that, you know, get you excited," Uecker said.
Uecker knows that he will not be in a radio broadcast booth forever. But he says he'd love to be.
"You know, when you've done this stuff for -- for me it's going to be 59 years now, I don't know what else I would do. There is a time every day when you know you're supposed to be at the ballpark. You know, every day. You are supposed to be at the ballpark from April through September, whatever -- and when I can't do that, if I didn't feel good, I wouldn't do it. Sooner or later everybody's gotta go, you know. I don't know when my dirt bath's gonna come, but I mean, sooner or later, you know, you've got lawnmowers on top of you. You know, I don't care what it is -- it just happens. That's the way it is, and there ain't nothing you can do about it, and I'm going to try to hang around until, you know, I can't do it anymore," Uecker said.
Uecker's connection with his fans goes both ways.
"To me, the fans -- I mean, who are you without fans? I mean, the people that listen and I mean, it's not only baseball. It's you know, the other stuff that I did or do. I enjoy people. I mean, you can tell me any comedian you want -- any actor or actress -- I don't care who they are. Without people, without fans, you're just like everybody else," Uecker said.
And Bob Uecker has never been like anybody else.