Milwaukee Talks: Matt Vasgersian, 2006
In five seasons as the Brewers television play-by-play voice, Matt Vasgersian developed a cult-like following with his freewheeling style and encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture.
Roughly 4½ seasons have passed since the California native left Wisconsin to work in San Diego, and his popularity in these parts hasn't diminished much, if at all.
The admiration is mutual.
Vasgersian, 38, who is in town for a four-game series this week at Miller Park, looks forward to visiting the area with the Padres each season and usually makes at least one other trip a year to see friends and the family of his longtime girlfriend, Emily, a Milwaukee native.
Although he has experienced some professional highs (Olympic ski jumping) and lows (XFL play-by-play) during the past decade, Vasgersian has fond memories of his time in Milwaukee and often acts as an unofficial ambassador for the city that adopted him as one of its own.
"I love it here," Vasgersian said. "Every time I come back, whether it's for baseball or around the holidays to see Emily's family, I have a great time. Milwaukee has grown so much since I got here in December of '96. That's only 10 years, but the changes are unbelievable."
Two hours before the first pitch on Tuesday night, Vasgersian sat in the visitor's TV booth and talked about the city, the evolution of his broadcasting style and his future plans. Enjoy this updated Milwaukee Talks interview with Matt Vasgersian.
OnMilwaukee.com: On the radio this morning, you mentioned how much the city has changed since you left. One thing that hasn't changed much is your popularity in town. How do you explain that?
Vasgersian: I'm not sure I can. It has to do with the fan base. This is one of the last markets where people really care and you're seen as something more than just the soundtrack to the games. It's hard to put it in words. If the Brewers are ever worth a damn on the field, this place will just erupt with love. It's going to be awesome. It's close. They're closer than they ever were when I was here, that's for sure. The market is so special, I find myself defending Milwaukee all the time.
OMC: How is that?
Vasgersian: When we go there, I was on the bus and this unnamed person in our traveling party who is from Cleveland was having a conversation on his cell phone. I heard him say "Yeah, we've got to go to beautiful Milwaukee," with a tone of sarcasm. I turned around and said "Wait a minute -- you're from Cleveland and you're going to come up on Milwaukee? You better step off, right now. Just because you don't know where to go because you don't travel more than a block away from The Pfister (hotel) and you think there is nothing in Milwaukee … don't be that stupid."
OMC: That's pretty inspiring. It sounds like maybe the convention and visitors bureau could use you in a commercial.
Vasgersian: This is such a sleeper town. The lakefront is alive. (Monday) was an awesome day. I went for a run / walk -- mostly a walk, given my physical condition -- and I was thinking to myself the whole time that to do this in this clean a setting, this pristine a setting, this safe a setting in California you'd have to pay to go onto private property somewhere.
If you're doing that on Venice Beach or Mission Beach, you're stepping over homeless people. You've got to make sure that you've got really good shoes on because you're going to be stepping on broken glass. There is going to be a shakedown around the next corner and an arrest on the next block.
There is still -- it sounds corny -- but there is still a quality of life factor that I have not found since I left Milwaukee -- before or since, actually.
OMC: The other day, (former Bucks announcer) Eddie Doucette spoke highly of your broadcast ability. He said you did some fresh things and you had a "young sound." How has your style changed since you started with the Brewers?
Vasgersian: Ten years ago, the ESPN culture had not permeated sports as it does now. You didn't have every ESPN news guy on a 20-minute loop trying to do their own schtick. It's not that I invented it, but it came naturally to me back then and I was having a good time. Now, if I tried to do that, it would be perceived as trying to rip off an ESPN deal.
OMC: I can remember the anchors on "SportsCenter" making fun of your home-run calls. Not too long after that, they were all trying out their own.
Vasgersian: They acted like I was a dickhead, which was true. It was accurate.
OMC: How have you changed?
Vasgersian: It's not that I started all that wild stuff, but I think I've kind of dialed it back a little more. I get a little more sensitive to criticism now. Believe it or not, I was much less sensitive (when I started in Milwaukee). My finger was up to anybody who didn't like me. I couldn't give two sh**s. I was doing it for me. Now, you start thinking about your longevity and your career. The only criticism that bothers me is people who say that by virtue of having fun on the air that you don't know what you're talking about or that you don't respect baseball.Page 1 of 3 (view all on one page)
Daron said: I heard that Vaughn. How's that job pumping gas going for you?
Greg Vaughn said: Too bad Matty won't come back, Sutton really sucks!! Oh, and don't even try to compare Matt to Uecker, there IS no comparison!!
eaglescout said: "You can miss Matt and not dis Daron." sure you can, but if you don't like sutton you can dis away!
Madison Fan said: You can miss Matt and not dis Daron - Daron does a great job with Bill. And anyway, hello, Matt chose to leave, so be glad we have Daron!
JJ said: he said dickhead, that is cool. we miss ya matt. darron, i know matt and you are not matty v! go brew crew.
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