Posts Tagged ‘Bob Uecker’

Uecker happy to be back at ballpark

July 23, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — A familiar face and voice has returned to the Brewers’ broadcast booth.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker, who had been gone since April after having heart surgery, was back Friday in his familiar role alongside Cory Provus as Milwaukee’s play-by-play announcer.

Before the series opener with the Nationals on Friday, Uecker was his usual self.

“I’m ready to rock and roll,” Uecker said to open his news conference. “The doctors kind of said, ‘OK.’ They knew I was coming back anyway, so there was nothing they could do.”

Uecker announced that he would work every home game through the end of the season while also covering select road trips.

As for where he might travel, Uecker suggested close cities such as Chicago and Cincinnati, as well as San Francisco because he “likes it there.”

“I’m really looking forward to coming back and working,” Uecker said. “Depending on how I feel, and I think I’m going to feel OK, I’m going to go back to work.”

Surgeons replaced Uecker’s aortic valve, a portion of his aortic root and performed a coronary bypass on one vessel on April 30. He was expected to return within 10-12 weeks, but a staph infection slowed his progress.

Uecker said the infection, his inability to put the weight back on — he’s still 10 pounds down from before the surgery — as well as getting the right mix of medications have been the biggest struggles since he’s been away.

Even with the setback of the staph infection, however, Uecker’s return Friday came exactly 12 weeks to the date of the surgery.

“It’s been a long haul,” Uecker said. “Not from the surgery. I got that staph infection right after we had the last [news conference]. That was the thing that really put me down. I don’t know if it ever goes away. I’m still on a lot of medication for that.

“It something that attacks new things in your body.”

Uecker said he had an 80 percent blockage in his aorta, though he “never had a pain, never had a problem.”

“I noticed the first night I was breathing better,” Uecker said. “I was breathing easier, not that I ever had a problem. … Now I feel stronger. I really do feel better.”

While he was away, Uecker joked that he was renting people to come stay with him due to the boredom of being away from Miller Park for so long.

That, he said, was what he missed most during his time off: being in the clubhouse, around the guys and being with Provus and producer Kent Sommerfeld in the radio booth.

“Every day at a certain time, you’re supposed to be at the ballpark. When you can’t go to the ballpark, it’s terribly boring,” Uecker said. “When you’re around here as long as I’ve been here and you make friendships, you miss that stuff.”

Uecker’s doctors, Aldred C. Nicolosi and Jim Kleczka, in recognition of the work they did on the Brewers broadcaster, were given the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitches before Friday’s game.

After mentioning it, Uecker — right on cue — shared his thoughts about how they might do.

“I hope they do better than they did on my incision,” Uecker joked. “I hope they throw a good pitch tonight. They’re all fired up about that.”

Provus said earlier in the week that Uecker would have his usual pregame show with Brewers manager Ken Macha while doing play-by-play for six innings to Provus’ three.

So how would Uecker make his return to the broadcast booth even better?

“I’d like to win, I’d like to win all the time,” Uecker said. “I don’t worry about what I say or do. I could make stuff up. In my mind, we’ll win. But I want them to win. I always want them to win.

“Winning is a lot more fun in the broadcast booth.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves beat 5/10

May 10, 2010 Comments off

Powell visits old friend Uecker

MILWAUKEE — Before Braves broadcaster Jim Powell arrived at Miller Park on Monday, he visited an old friend, legendary Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker.

Powell, who worked with Uecker for 13 years in the Brewers’ radio booth, was encouraged by the health of his longtime friend, who had successful heart surgery just 10 days earlier. Uecker has been scheduled to return to the broadcast booth 10-12 weeks after his surgery on April 30.

“He looks really good, he sounds really good and he’s got the exact same sense of humor for which he’s well-known,” Powell said. “We had a great visit, and I feel like he’ll be back before people expect him to.”

After joining the Braves’ broadcast team before the 2009 season, Powell has kept in close touch with the 75-year-old Uecker over the phone, and surprisingly enough, through text messaging.

In fact, Powell was among the few people who knew the surgery was coming before the official announcement on April 27 at Miller Park.

“We’ve stayed in pretty good contact,” Powell said. “So I knew what was going on with him, and like everybody else, I was really worried about him.”

Uecker’s positive energy and humor, for which he is well known, had a profound effect on Powell when the two met Monday.

“We’ve been texting since the day after, but today was the first day that I’ve spoken to him since the surgery,” Powell said. “To see him today up and around on his feet, with good color and in great spirits, certainly picked up my spirits.”

Uecker’s humor and positive outlook were among the things noted by those closest to him when the surgery was announced, especially the comedic way with which Uecker opened the press conference on that day.

When asked about his best memories from their time together, Powell shared similar thoughts.

“When you work with Bob, you come to the ballpark to have a good time,” Powell said. “He has a healthy perspective about the game and about life. For a young broadcaster like me, I learned a lot of great lessons from him. I learned you’ve got to take the game seriously, but not too seriously and just have a good time and enjoy yourself on the broadcast.”

Jurrjens aggravates left hamstring

MILWAUKEE — Right-hander Jair Jurrjens suffered a setback on Monday that will likely keep him out beyond Saturday, when he becomes eligible to be activated from the disabled list.

While running in the outfield at Miller Park before Monday’s game, Jurrjens felt something pop in his lower left hamstring. According to Jurrjens, it was not the same part of the hamstring as the original strain that put him on the disabled list and kept him out of his last scheduled start against the Phillies.

“It wasn’t even 100 percent sprinting, I was just trying to get back to normal strides,” Jurrjens said. “Before it happened, I was feeling good and just starting to put a little bit extra in it.”

Braves manager Bobby Cox said Jurrjens would stay with the team in Milwaukee before having an MRI upon returning to Atlanta.

Cox did not say who he expected to start for the team Saturday against the D-backs.

Jurrjens is one of a handful of Braves sidelined recently after the team went relatively injury-free through Spring Training and the beginning of the season. Shortstop Yunel Escobar remains on the disabled list and is eligible to return on Saturday as well.

Third baseman Chipper Jones returned to the Braves’ lineup Monday night against the Brewers and right fielder Jason Heyward is expected back for Tuesday’s matchup.

With so many teammates dealing with various injuries, Jurrjens is trying to remain positive despite the setback with his strained hamstring.

“I’ve got to just try to [keep] a smile on my face … even if inside of me I’m not so happy,” Jurrjens said. “Everybody has their own issue on this team and the team is not doing well. For me not to be smiling, I don’t think it’s going to help with anything.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Extra Innings 4/29

April 29, 2010 Comments off

Uecker will be missed, but will return

By Jordan Schelling     The Badger Herald