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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

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Jim Irwin (right, seated next to longtime partner Max McGee, who died in 2007) has died at the age of 77 in California.
Jim Irwin (right, seated next to longtime partner Max McGee, who died in 2007) has died at the age of 77 in California. (Photo: Journal Broadcast Group )

Jim Irwin remembered

When I first met Jim Irwin, he didn't have much to say to me.

After all, here I was, this 20-year old kid, sitting at his desk in the first week of my internship at WTMJ Radio in the summer of 1993. He was a legend; I was nothing. I was waiting for my supervisor, Bryan Belmer, to emerge from a meeting with then-program director Tom Baylerian and I happened to pick Jim's desk to park myself in front of.

Looking back on it, I've probably been brusque with an intern or two in my day as well. Especially if you were sitting at my desk.

That was my first encounter with Jim, who passed away Sunday at the age of 77 in California.

Over the summer, the few times we would encounter each other, I tried to chip away at the iceberg. Granted, I may have been this snot-nosed kid to him at the time, but with each encounter, our exchanges gradually got more and more pleasant. Mind you, that summer I wouldn't describe him as "warm" but the day he learned and used my name was a watershed moment for me indeed.

Fast forward three years later, when I was hired at WTMJ in the spring of 1996. Jim knew that he wanted to retire; he just wasn't sure of the exact timetable quite yet. And while his exterior initially was a gruff one, the day his first granddaughter was born, he simply could not wait to show me pictures of her. She was his pride and joy. The smile on Jim's face when he was showing her off is my most indelible memory of him, far more so than any football call of his.

Over the next few years I tried to pick up as much as I could from Jim. Granted, he was very old-school about certain things; my favorite story was that one year on his employee evaluation he simply wrote in "I'm great" to all of the questions posed to him and turned it in.

But while Jim Irwin did not suffer fools lightly, yeah, he did have to re-do that evaluation, rolling his eyes the entire time. "What do they have to evaluate?" he would ask. After all, what were they going to do, fire him?

Until his last…

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The Brewers affixed the 2011 NL Central Division banner to the Miller Park facade this morning.
The Brewers affixed the 2011 NL Central Division banner to the Miller Park facade this morning. (Photo: Doug Russell)
The lift occurred this morning at 9:00 on the left field warning track.
The lift occurred this morning at 9:00 on the left field warning track. (Photo: Doug Russell)
Soon, the 2011 banner will have the same ball marks from home runs as the 2008 Wild Card banner.
Soon, the 2011 banner will have the same ball marks from home runs as the 2008 Wild Card banner. (Photo: Doug Russell)
The 2011 banner now hangs alongside the banners from 1981, 1982, and 2008.
The 2011 banner now hangs alongside the banners from 1981, 1982, and 2008. (Photo: Doug Russell)

Brewers add NL Central Division banner to Miller Park facade

The Brewers today affixed the latest postseason banner above Friday's Front Row Grill at Miller Park this morning. 

At 9:00, workers installed the metal banner alongside the banners from their previous postseason appearances in 1981, 1982, and 2008. 

Pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix on Feb. 18; Opening Day at Miller Park is Friday, April 6 vs. St. Louis.

Andrew Bogut, in his first game back since returning from Australia to deal with a family emergency, scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds Tuesday night.
Andrew Bogut, in his first game back since returning from Australia to deal with a family emergency, scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds Tuesday night. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
Tobias Harris finished with 6 points.
Tobias Harris finished with 6 points. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
Another impressive night from Jon Leuer: 10 points in 30 minutes.
Another impressive night from Jon Leuer: 10 points in 30 minutes. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
Delfino had 18.
Delfino had 18. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
Jackson led all scorers with 34.
Jackson led all scorers with 34. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
Jennings for 2 of his 15.
Jennings for 2 of his 15. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
Coach Skiles' team is 3-0 at home this season.
Coach Skiles' team is 3-0 at home this season. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Bucks with a huge win

The Bucks did something Tuesday night at the Bradley Center that they had not done since April. They beat a quality opponent, defeating the San Antonio Spurs, 106-103, in front of 11,585 fans.

Returning for the first time since a family medical emergency in Australia, center Andrew Bogut scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in almost 35 minutes. With Bogut in the lineup, the Bucks seem to play with more confidence and aggression.

"Not having him is just like not having air," teammate Stephen Jackson said afterwards. Jackson had a season-high 34 points in the win. "That's one of the biggest things is having our big fella back. We need him down there."

Bogut only returned from Melbourne the previous evening, having spent almost an entire day in the air traveling.

"I wasn't too comfortable out there," according to Bogut. "I was just trying to grind it out and try to get a win for the team. I was on a plane for 40 hours there and back. Sitting on a plane when you're 7-foot (tall) is not the best, most comfortable thing in the world. My sleep pattern has been off. I've been getting tired at different parts of the day just from the jet lag."

Aside from Jackson's 34 points, the Bucks had balanced scoring, getting double digit points from Carlos Delfino (18), Brandon Jennings (15), and rookie Jon Leuer (10), who continues to impress his coach.

"Jon is always in the right place, seemingly at the right time," Scott Skiles said after the game. "He knows what he's doing out there. Playing his first game against the Spurs and being out there with (Tim) Duncan and (DeJuan) Blair and those type of players, he did very well."

With the win, the Bucks improve to 3-6. They are idle Wednesday before hosting the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.

"We made enough plays," Skiles concluded. "We'd like it to be a lot smoother than that. Neither team was great defensively tonight."

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