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Sunday, October 14, 2018

All jokes aside, Bob Uecker seriously loves baseball

A true legend.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2018 at 07:16 AM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, bob uecker, brewers

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   1. Jacob Posted: October 14, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5766200)
Nice read. Not too long... Love Uecker. Major League is close to being my favorite movie. I've pretty much always considered The Blues Brothers to be my favorite, but I think Major League holds up better after seeing them both more than a 100 times.
   2. PreservedFish Posted: October 14, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5766208)
Do you skip through the Rene Russo stuff? I think if I were to watch Major League 100 times I'd prefer an edited version.
   3. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: October 14, 2018 at 12:31 PM (#5766212)
Oh, what a bunch of bullshit! A Russo-inclusive version has a much better narrative arc than an edited version does!
   4. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 14, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5766239)
Was it Uecker who said his two career highlights were getting intentionally walked by Sandy Koufax and getting out of a rundown against the Mets? I always loved that quote.
   5. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 14, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5766243)
And Honus Wagner (this is from the James NHBA) said the highlight of his career was when an opposing batter hit a home run, and as he rounded second Honus said "Nice hit," and the batter said "Go to hell."

I'd been in the league two years, Honus explained, and it was the first time a player spoke to me.
   6. PeteF3 Posted: October 14, 2018 at 05:04 PM (#5766275)
Was it Uecker who said his two career highlights were getting intentionally walked by Sandy Koufax and getting out of a rundown against the Mets? I always loved that quote.


He also would mention the time he drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded walk in an intrasquad game in spring training.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: October 14, 2018 at 05:38 PM (#5766282)
Nice read. Not too long... Love Uecker. Major League is close to being my favorite movie. I've pretty much always considered The Blues Brothers to be my favorite, but I think Major League holds up better after seeing them both more than a 100 times.


Which version of Major League do you watch, I'm assuming the theater released version, and not the one the Wild Thing edition, in which Rachel Phelps was Billy Beane before Beane ever existed(as an mlb executive).
   8. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 14, 2018 at 06:15 PM (#5766293)
Uecker is awesome in every possible way.

Major League in my opinion does not hold up well. The concept is great, it’s got funny parts but it’s slow. The pacing of it is painful.
   9. Bote Man Posted: October 14, 2018 at 06:22 PM (#5766296)
When I first got XM and had the chance to listen to other teams, I thought Uecker was very plain and matter-of-fact. Upon further review, I really like that.

Compared to blowhards like Ted Leitner or truly boring, unlistenable broadcasts like the Rays, Bob Uecker is a breath of fresh air and comes across as genuine.

Although I recall an anecdote from somebody who visited him in the booth who reported that Ueck would mute the mic with the cough button and say something like, "Look at the rack on her down there!" then go right back to his routine play-by-play delivery. Gotta love it.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: October 14, 2018 at 06:35 PM (#5766299)
The pacing of it is painful.


Really? I thought it was pretty even paced to be honest, outside of the Rene Russo bits, which contrary to post 3 protestations were painful to watch, but everything else moved along smoothly. (I mean seriously he's making league minimum and they act like he's a bagger in a grocery store... that entire scene was just... uggh... add in the stalking aspects of his character and sorry...just no...)
   11. Obo Posted: October 14, 2018 at 08:16 PM (#5766367)
Although I recall an anecdote from somebody ...

I think that was Artie Lange on Letterman.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: October 14, 2018 at 08:53 PM (#5766408)
wrong thread.
   13. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: October 14, 2018 at 09:16 PM (#5766421)
I've listened to at least some portion of at least, around 1,500 Uecker called games in my life. He isn't the best pbp guy but he's the most interesting person to listen to call a baseball game on the radio.

It's his pace, vernacular, cadence, wit and energy which suck me in no matter what the hell is going on in the game.
   14. Jacob Posted: October 14, 2018 at 11:50 PM (#5766545)
blowhards like Ted Leitner


Yeah, I guess he doesn't realize how annoying he can be, especially when he says "My Padres" only when they're winning. I really hate that ####. I miss Jerry Coleman. He was actually cool and one hell of a model American.
   15. Leroy Kincaid Posted: October 15, 2018 at 06:18 AM (#5766554)
I think that was Artie Lange on Letterman.


Norm MacDonald too, I believe.

I like Uecker. One of the few announcers whose attempts at humor actually work (sometimes, at least). He can get a bit long-winded (like Scully) but I think they earned that.
   16. McCoy Posted: October 15, 2018 at 08:20 AM (#5766564)
I'll third the view that the Russo storyline is the worst and slowest part of Major League. In terms of aging Major League was on the cusp of being outdated when it first came out. For the most part this movie would have fit in well back in the late 40's and 50's during Hollywood's baseball craze.

(I mean seriously he's making league minimum and they act like he's a bagger in a grocery store

Well, league minimum was only 68,000 back then. The US average salary was something like 35k back then so it isn't nothing. But in the context of the scene and of the era the group was mentioning how baseball players were now getting serious money as players were getting million dollar contracts and that Cleveland and this group in particular were not baseball fans and had largely forgotten about the Indians and baseball. So they see this old guy who plays for a team in a sport they know nothing about other than some are making millions of dollars and he tells them he's making minimum wage. It's a funny line and works. Nowadays you'd have to set the scene up differently as the minimum wage is quite high and a player like Tom's character who has been bouncing around forever has likely made a good amount of money even if has been bouncing around between the majors and minors for 12 to 15 years.
   17. dlf Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5766658)
Uecker is awesome in every possible way.


Obviously a fan of Mr. Belvedere.

...

Major League is a collection of some fun scenes. It is a horrible movie.

...

I used to have to drive a lot for work and would listen to random MLB games in the evenings. Uek has been on my favorites list for a while. He *enjoys* the game, something far too few announcers are willing to show.
   18. McCoy Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5766674)
Major league would work on a channel like IFC for about a 8 to 10 show run. After the first season if it were to continue it would drift greatly away from baseball. Basically it would pull a brockmire.
   19. Batman Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5766688)
I remember thinking Uecker was past his prime during the 1997 World Series. I don't think I heard him again after that until I got XM about a decade later. He'd either regained whatever he'd had or he was just better suited for the local broadcasts instead of the national ones.
   20. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5766699)
always enjoy uecker on the mike. dogeared my copy of catcher in the wry as a kid as well...
--
"important" correction to the article: he was not a career .146 hitter (though that's what he hit for the atlanta chunk of his final season) - he hit .200 (thanks to rounding), which is much more poetic.

speaking of that last season, he spent most of it as a phil niekro's personal catcher (uecker had caught knuckleballers previously) and - holy hell - he put up some reason stinker stats in the process. in 180 pa, he hit .146/.236/.215 (OPS+ of 31), committed 9 errors and 25 passed balls (also allowed 31 wild pitches)*, and struggled to stop the running game (22% CS, versus a league average of 40%). put it all together and he was at -2 WAR, enough to drag his career numbers into the negative. (conversely, so many of niekro's allowed runs were unearned that he won the ERA title.)

(fast forward a year to '68 and atlanta catchers committed less pb collectively (14) than either uecker or torre (16) had in '67. this was likely partly a scoring change, partly niekro's knuckler dancing out of the zone less often (RA was similar but walks and k's fell), and partly a defensive upgrade in bob tillman.)
   21. JL72 Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5766720)
I remember reading Ueker's book "The Catcher in the Wry" when I was a kid. It was apparent to me even back then that, in no particular order, he (1) did not take himself too seriously, (2) loved baseball, and (3) could not believe he got to do it as a job.
   22. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5766759)
I remember thinking Uecker was past his prime during the 1997 World Series. I don't think I heard him again after that until I got XM about a decade later. He'd either regained whatever he'd had or he was just better suited for the local broadcasts instead of the national ones.


I think the national networks' expectations of their broadcasters are very different from those of local networks.

I always think of Joe Buck, who I've always detested as a play-by-play guy. A couple years ago I listened to him on a podcast and you could not have convinced me it was the same guy--he was articulate, clearly enjoying himself, had thoughtful opinions. Even his voice sounded different. It was an eye-opener for me, as far as realizing that many broadcasters for national networks are as bad as they are yet keep their jobs for years and years because (incredible as this might seem) they're doing exactly what their bosses want. The producers want Buck, and Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan, to sound the way they do when broadcasting games.
   23. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5766766)
reason stinker
I have no idea what was being autocorrected here.
   24. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5766790)
Obviously a fan of Mr. Belvedere.
Well, duh.
   25. wjones Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5766793)
Costas told a story during his Hall of Fame induction about Uecker that I loved. He was recounting the 1995 World Series, when he shared the booth with Joe Morgan and Uecker. Morgan was going on and on, with prodding by Costas, about the great Big Red Machine championship teams. Costas, wanting to get Uecker in the conversation, asked him if he had been on any championship teams. Uecker responded that he was on the 1964 Cardinals team, but wasn't on the active post-season list because he was on the DL. Costas asked him why, and Costas replied that he had hepatitis. Costas asked him how he contracted it, and Uecker responded "The trainer injected me with it."
   26. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5766859)
One of the best parts of a Uecker broadcast is when he's hoodwinking his broadcast partners. I suspect they are already on guard and perhaps know that they are better off being the mark on a Uecker story than trying to interefere. From Pat Hughes, Jim Powell, Cory Provus, Joe Block, to Levering and Grindle today. They all get set up nicely. He also does inter-inning commercial readers so naturally.

His biggest shortcoming as a broadcaster is on any bunt. I swear he described 9/10 bunts as a 'beauty' and of course they aren't. Lead runners get nailed, double plays are turned. I learned a long time ago to ignore any bunt call by Uke. The other thing that takes getting used to, he often has a very matter of fact conversational call of an opponent's HR. 'Chacin from the stretch....the 2-2.....here it is.....Votto to right.. and deep, this is going to be trouble, It's now 4 2 Reds......Mmmmph' This really works well for a road game, not so well for a home game.
   27. winnipegwhip Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5766873)
I always saw Major League being the "Big Chill" to Bull Durham's being "The Return of the Secaucus Seven". Both of the latter films were small successful movies with no blockbluster names. Major League and Big Chill took the concepts and storylines and tried to make them big time with bigger stars.

Where Bull Durham's plot and antics are believable, Major League's plot and antics are over the top, forced and implausible. Major League is more akin to Airplane than a real baseball movie.
   28. winnipegwhip Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5766884)
Costas told a story during his Hall of Fame induction about Uecker that I loved. He was recounting the 1995 World Series, when he shared the booth with Joe Morgan and Uecker. Morgan was going on and on, with prodding by Costas, about the great Big Red Machine championship teams. Costas, wanting to get Uecker in the conversation, asked him if he had been on any championship teams. Uecker responded that he was on the 1964 Cardinals team, but wasn't on the active post-season list because he was on the DL. Costas asked him why, and Costas replied that he had hepatitis. Costas asked him how he contracted it, and Uecker responded "The trainer injected me with it."

Another story probably occurred around the same time with Costas Morgan and Uecker. It was and NBC post-season game and I think the batter was Mariano Duncan or another free swinger. One of the guys in the booth stated the line that Dominican players are aggressive swingers and it is natural because "you can't walk your way off the island." There was a small pause in the booth and all three men stated at once "in Uecker's case he would still be there!!!" The natural timing and the laughter of all three made the moment awesome.
   29. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5766949)
Costas told a story during his Hall of Fame induction about Uecker that I loved. He was recounting the 1995 World Series, when he shared the booth with Joe Morgan and Uecker. Morgan was going on and on, with prodding by Costas, about the great Big Red Machine championship teams. Costas, wanting to get Uecker in the conversation, asked him if he had been on any championship teams. Uecker responded that he was on the 1964 Cardinals team, but wasn't on the active post-season list because he was on the DL. Costas asked him why, and [Uecker] replied that he had hepatitis. Costas asked him how he contracted it, and Uecker responded "The trainer injected me with it."

Now that is seriously funny. I've only heard Uecker in small doses, but I wish I'd heard him a lot more. That statue of him in the Miller Park upper deck is sheer visual poetry.
   30. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5766950)
contrary to post 3 protestations

The people complaining about the Rene Russo scenes would be well served to pay attention to them even once.
   31. McCoy Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5766956)

The people complaining about the Rene Russo scenes would be well served to pay attention to them even once.


I'm missing what this is supposed to mean.
   32. Traderdave Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:38 PM (#5766968)
Citizen Kane it's not, but Major League is fun. And it's a movie that loves baseball.
   33. Batman Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:51 PM (#5766981)
The baseball scenes in Citizen Kane were almost as bad as the ones in The Babe Ruth Story.

Almost.
   34. winnipegwhip Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:20 PM (#5767003)
The baseball scenes in Citizen Kane were almost as bad as the ones in The Babe Ruth Story.


You need to clarify.....William Bendix or John Goodman Babe Ruth movie?

Babe would have been better with Babe being like Walter Sobchak
   35. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5767016)
Was it Uecker who said his two career highlights were getting intentionally walked by Sandy Koufax


That actually checks out - he truly was intentionally walked once by Koufax. However, on July 24, 1965, he hit a home run off Koufax, which is a bit more impressive. His lifetime line against him was .184/.244/.316, but he does have that home run. And no-one but Mr. Ed could hit a home run off Koufax every time up...
   36. Batman Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5767028)
Ueck only hit 14 home runs, but he hit one each against Koufax, Fergie Jenkins, and Gaylord Perry. He also hit HRs off 100-game winners Ray Sadecki (TWO off Sadecki!), Ken Holtzman, and Dick Ellsworth. Maybe part of his problem was that, playing in the 1960's NL, so many of his at bats came against really good pitchers.
   37. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5767030)

I strongly disagree with those putting down Major League. It is probably my favorite baseball movie of all time. Of course it's implausible -- though, no, not remotely Airplane! level, winnipegwhip -- but so what? It's a comedy. It's eminently rewatchable, and quotable. (Though I admit that most people don't get it when I say "Too high" when Orioles pitchers give up a big fly.) And the Russo segments are fine.


EDIT: Oh, and for cfb: no, rewriting Phelps' villain status is terrible and an abomination.
   38. Batman Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5767037)
I watched A League Of Their Own, The Office, and the NLCS this weekend, and although the timelines don't match up, Ryan Braun is definitely the son of Lori Petty's character and Ryan from The Office.
   39. Rally Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:04 PM (#5767043)
I would really like to know the backstory for Willie Mays Hayes. I get the rest of the players, they may not have been expected to be good, but they were all clearly professionals. And Vaughn we know was pitching in the CPL.

Hayes shows up out of nowhere and wins a job with his speed. He's no Rickey or Raines, he's got a problem popping the ball up too much, but he's no Herb Washington. He clearly is at least a competent MLB hitter. We don't have his stats other than that he does reach his goal of 100 stolen bases. To do this he has to get on base at least a bit.

Maybe he's like Otis Nixon, who coming into the 1989 season (mostly with Cleveland) had hit .225 with a .290 OBP. But you can't even find Otis Nixon level hitters off the street. Nixon played a bunch of years in the minors and had a .403 OBP there.

Was Hayes ever drafted? Did he play for another organization and get cut? Where did he develop the talent to be a passable hitter at the game's highest level?
   40. Batman Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5767058)
Tomlinson came close to hitting a walk-off homer before Willie Mays Hayes came up in the ninth. That would have changed things. Rene Russo would have left with Tomlinson. Maybe the sequels wouldn't have happened.
   41. Traderdave Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:20 PM (#5767062)
Hayes flamed out in A ball but clung to the dream, playing in indy leagues, in Mexico and even tried out in Korean minor leagues. That spring he was hanging around Phoenix going from camp to camp looking for any NRI slot he could find, when he ran into Rachel Phelps' lackey at a gas station & signed a contract for nothing more than a food per diem.
   42. Baldrick Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:23 PM (#5767064)
I would really like to know the backstory for Willie Mays Hayes. I get the rest of the players, they may not have been expected to be good, but they were all clearly professionals. And Vaughn we know was pitching in the CPL.

This is discussed at moderate length in the most recent PosCast.
   43. spycake Posted: October 15, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5767139)
   44. Rally Posted: October 16, 2018 at 08:17 AM (#5767408)
Thank you!

One more of life's greatest mysteries can be crossed off my list.
   45. cardsfanboy Posted: October 16, 2018 at 06:35 PM (#5768083)
Hayes flamed out in A ball but clung to the dream, playing in indy leagues, in Mexico and even tried out in Korean minor leagues. That spring he was hanging around Phoenix going from camp to camp looking for any NRI slot he could find, when he ran into Rachel Phelps' lackey at a gas station & signed a contract for nothing more than a food per diem.


Hays didn't sign a contract with Phelps lackey, he snuck into camp.
EDIT: Oh, and for cfb: no, rewriting Phelps' villain status is terrible and an abomination.

Technically it was the other way around, she was originally a good guy and audiences hated that take so they made her a full fledged villain.
   46. cardsfanboy Posted: October 16, 2018 at 06:48 PM (#5768100)
If you go to the link on 43 and only care about the Willie Mays Hayes part, it starts at 52 minute mark.
   47. cardsfanboy Posted: October 16, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5768104)
Just in case you were wondering, this is the alternate ending.

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