When he was a child in the Dominican Republic, Andy Olivares would watch baseball games on TV and turn the volume down. He’d watch the players approach the plate and await the pitch, providing his own play-by-play.
Now, Olivares is preparing for this sixth season delivering play-by-play for the Brewers on WRRD-AM ESPN Deportes 1510.
"Here in America, there’s football and then everything else like baseball and basketball. In the Dominican Republic, it was baseball. That was it," Olivares said.
For Olivaries, he played baseball growing up and into college, and he would watch and listen to the commentators on ESPN Classic talk about great players from the Dominican Republic like Tony Pena and George Bell. As a kid, doing his own play-by-play, Olivares said his neighbors would hear him and encouraged his passion.
"I was very, very young, maybe 8 or 9," Olivares said of his first try at announcing games at his home. "Cool thing is I would get some attention. People would feed me, tell me I had talent and that I should do it."
When he was 17, Olivares said he met a radio station owner by accident, who gave him a chance to start work in broadcasting, including basketball games.
For Olivares, coming from a family with very limited resources, it was a dream come true when he was able to come to the U.S. at the age of 20. With a background in biology he was able to get a job at Froedert Hospital, which brought him to Milwaukee. He started working at WJTI, a Spanish language station, doing news and worked his way into hosting a radio show. In 2008, he started work at ESPN Deportes and did play-by-play of a few Brewers games.
"It was a dream to do play-by-play at this level. Everyone wishes to do the call for a major league team. I can only look at is as I’m living a dream," he said.
This season he’ll be broadcasting all day home games on 1510, and some of those games will be simulcast on Telemundo. He said he’s looking forward to the season and thinks we will either be in for a really cool surprise, or we may be disappointed and see some changes early on.
"About 30 to 35 games in and we’ll see what kind of team we will have," he said. Olivares is looking forward to see if any of the younger players on the squad who have showed some potential will take the opportunity to step up this season.
Being able to do play-by-play is a skill set that only a few in radio truly master. As Brewers fans, we have been spoiled with Bob Uecker. Olivares knows first-hand how great and how much a character the man three cubicles to his right is, and said he would be honored to have even a portion of the respect and community standing Uecker has earned when he gets older.
"I remember seeing all those clips and how (those announcers) would use the color, body, substance and have such a superb use of Spanish," Olivares said, remembering what he calls the poetry from those broadcasts.
Now, he’s the one to be the sportscaster and communicator, using poetry and storytelling to inspire another sports-loving generation in our community.
Besides the game-day broadcasts, you can her Olivares every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on his show "En La Jugada con Andy Olivares" (On the Play with Andy Olivares) on ESPN Deportes 1510.
SEE IT AGAIN: If you missed it on Wednesday, or only saw clips, you can see Donald Driver’s retirement from the Green Bay Packers again on Saturday on WISN-TV Ch. 12. The celebration from Lambeau Field will air from 4-5 p.m. Then, later in the evening, the WISN staff will run its special "Inside the Huddle: Donald Driver Retirement Celebration" at 6:30 p.m. The show features one-on-one interviews, clips and messages from current and former teammates as well as highlights from Driver’s involvement with ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars."
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.