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In Sports Commentary

Brewers TV announcers Bill Schroeder (left) and Brian Anderson have been on top of their game.

Anderson, Schroeder form solid double-play combo


I'm falling in love and if I'm not careful, this could easily become a ménage a trios.

Just so we're clear here, this love affair has absolutely nothing to do with sex. As a matter of fact, the objects of my affection are two men.

I'm sure you know the two guys involved here, Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder.

Anderson and Schroeder are the television broadcast team for the Milwaukee Brewers on Fox Sports Wisconsin. They have become so good that they've matched the broadcast gold standard set in Wisconsin by Jim Paschke and Jon McGlocklin.

Going way back to the days when Ray Scott did Packers games, I've held a long interest in broadcasters. And we've had our share of standouts. Bob Uecker, of course, is in a class by himself. Jim Irwin was a workhorse on our airwaves.

The thing that has always fascinated me is the broadcast teams. Right now we have six high-profile broadcast teams.

Anderson and Schroeder on Brewers TV; Paschke and McGlocklin on Bucks television; Ted Davis and Dennis Krause (home games only) on Bucks' radio; Uecker and Corey Provus on Brewers' radio; Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas on Wisconsin football and basketball; and, Wayne Larrivee and Larry McCarren on Packers radio.

As I said, I think Paschke and McGlocklin have set a broadcast team standard that is hard to beat. Paschke tells you what's happening on the floor and McGlocklin has matured into one of the best analysts I've heard. He understands players and he understands concepts and he's grown very skilled at communicating those things to listeners.

Lately, though, I'm beginning to believe that Anderson and Schroeder are climbing onto that same ledge reserved for the very best.

It's impossible to think of broadcast teams in an individual sense. It's their work together that makes them either enjoyable or a bore.

And these two guys -- working their third season together -- are a wonderful team, with complementary strengths and the ability to cover possible weaknesses.

Anderson is very bright and quick with a quip. He can pull Schroeder's chain and everybody is in on the joke, with the possible exception of Schroeder. Anderson gives you play by play with sparkle and tells you what has happened and what to look out for as the game moves along.

Schroeder, who began this role in the mid-1990s, is the voice inside the head of the player or the manager or the coaches. It's not enough to say that Schroeder knows what he's talking about. That's clear. The big thing is that he can also explain it to the average viewer.

Don't ever confuse ability as a player with ability as an analyst. Robin Yount, for example, knows an awful lot about what it takes to win a baseball game, but he'd be an absolute disaster as an analyst. So, too, would Brett Favre. We introduce Emmitt Smith as Exhibit A in this category.

The rise of Anderson and Schroeder, of course, coincides with the rise in popularity of the team they cover. They have benefited from that, but I could also make the case that the team has benefited from the coverage of Anderson and Schroeder.

Sure, the two of them are fans of the team. But when mistakes get made, they are quick to point them out. I'd have a hard time describing them as indiscriminate homers. They know that credibility is the big thing they're selling, and they deliver.

Anderson is relatively new to a market that normally makes it hard on newcomers in the broadcast world. But he's proven the exception to the rule and has become a recognized value in this community.

I'd put Anderson and Schroeder even with Paschke and McGlocklin at the top rung of our broadcast ladder.

Davis (who operates more like a solo act) is a solid pro. When he teams with Krause, they give a fan almost more information than you can digest in a game as fast as the NBA is on radio.

The jury is still out on whether Uecker can lift Provus into the rarefied air where he operates. Lepay and Lucas provide solid descriptions and have developed a strong chemistry over their many years together.

Last place belongs to Larrivee and McCarren, and by a big margin. I know McCarren pretty well and he's a nice guy and he had a great career with the Packers. But, the only reason he's got his job is that he is an ex-Packer and he reads the sports on a local TV station. You don't get much insight from McCarren, but you do get lots of cheering.

Larrivee is kind of hard to understand. He ought to be great. He does lots of broadcasting around the country. He talks about how he gets inside with coaches and players on the Packers.

But you don't get anything special from him. Listen to him on the morning news on WTMJ and you may come away thinking that Gene Mueller knows more about football than Larrivee does, by a long mile.

Being a broadcaster is often a battle between style and substance. Larrivee has opted for style, and that seems to work for him. Anderson and Schroeder understand that content is what drives the bus and they've driven their bus into the fast lane with the big boys.


Talkbacks

jk1522 | April 29, 2009 at 9:26 p.m. (report)

Bigbmm-So let me get this straight, BA has to make sure he visits places like Watertown and Marshfield because he does tv for the hometown baseball team??? Are you kidding me?? Maybe he should take Braun with him too when he makes that "field trip", as im sure he has never been to either city himself. To be honest with you, ive lived in wisconsin all my life and have never been to Marshfield. As you can tell by my post, that to me has nothing to do with how he calls a game on tv for the Brewers!

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rojoyt19 | April 29, 2009 at 12:26 p.m. (report)

I have to disagree with your opinion of Bill Schroeder. I don't understand how he's kept his job for so long. He truly doesn't give much insight or insider knowledge to the viewer. If you want to listen to someone who knows baseball, just head down the road and listen to Steve Stone. In my opinion, Bill Schroeder hasn't had an original thought in the last five years. If I hear him say "that was a good approach" one more time, I think I'll pull my hair out. He plays favorites by sticking up for certain players (i.e. Jason Kendall and Corey Hart) and coaches (Dale Sveum) and ripping those he apparently doesn't get along with. Anderson is ok. He's better than Sutton but not as good as Vasgersian. Finally, I think you're missing the boat on Wayne Larrivee. He is the best play by play guy in any sport in Wisconsin. Bob Uecker is a close second but the rest pale in comparison. He is dragged down a bit by having Larry McCarren as a partner, but that's not his fault. And, how do you know if Brett Favre would make a good broadcaster? Have you heard his demo tape?

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bigbmm | April 29, 2009 at 8:05 a.m. (report)

I think they do a good job but Anderson needs to spend some time getting to know Wisconsin. Waterton (Watertown) Monday night and not knowing where Marshfield was Tuesday night. He seems to come up with one of those a day.

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mikeb | April 28, 2009 at 7:58 p.m. (report)

The one problem I have with the Anderson/Rock announcing team is they can't seem to say anything bad about the home team. I realize that they are employees of the Brewers, but I'd appreciate them more if they didn't sugar coat everything and called it the way they actually saw it. Other than that they are solid. I know people will disagree, but I think Uecker has really slipped the last few years. He calls the game as if he assumes everyone is watching it on TV. There's too many calls where I'm wondering "What happened."

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Broner | April 28, 2009 at 6:51 p.m. (report)

Is it me or is John McGlocklin the only person in the world who uses the phrase "popup zone"?

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