If you've listened to Brewers games on the radio over the past three decades, you've undoubtedly heard Bob Uecker talk about some of his favorite local products and stores.
When he's not describing the action on the field or pulling one of a million baseball stories from his mental Rolodex, Uecker often will talk about eating a Usinger's bratwurst covered with Silver Spring mustard and washed down with an ice cold Miller Lite.
Or, he'll talk about stopping at Barnacle Bud's during a fishing excursion or shopping at Empire Fish on Watertown Plank Road. Sometimes, he'll mention his friends at Harvey Moy's, a Chinese restaurant in Menomonee Falls.
Uecker is a strong supporter of Milwaukee and Wisconsin businesses, so it's no surprise that he's also a fan of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
"That's a great company," Uecker said before a recent Brewers game. "It really is. I used to see Billy Davidson all the time at Ray Jackson's (the famous bar / restaurant near County Stadium). He would come in there for lunch all the time. Great guy.
"I really like Harley. I checked the schedule and we're going to be out of town (in Pittsburgh) when they have their reunion (at the end of August). I would have liked to have been around to see that. I'm sure it's going to be great."
Uecker has owned a Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider, which is distinguished by a custom "Mr. Baseball" paint job, for roughly two decades. At the end of the baseball season he shipped the bike to his winter home in Arizona and then put it on the Brewers' equipment truck at the end of spring training so that he could ride around Milwaukee during the season.
"I've always loved riding, both here and in Arizona," Uecker said. "When you go to Arizona in the winter, there are great places to ride. You can go around Cave Creek or up around Sedona. It's really beautiful.
"I've always enjoyed it, but the last couple of years, since I had my knee (replacement) surgery, I haven't really been riding as much as I did.
"The bike is actually here at the ballpark. I keep it here and let visiting managers and coaches ride it if they want. A lot of guys in baseball ride them. A lot of people everywhere ride."
The popularity of Harley-Davidson among motorcycle enthusiasts has been steady for decades. But, Uecker has noticed an occasional spike among casual hobbyists.
"I don't know if it's a culture thing or what," he said. "But they went through a period where it seemed like every guy in the world wanted to ride a Harley -- doctors, lawyers, priests -- everybody wanted to ride a Harley. Everybody was talking about them. Then, there was a little bit of turnover and then -- boom! -- it took off again."
A few years ago, Uecker helped a friend in Arizona get a bike and they would go riding on Sunday mornings.
"He had told me that he had ridden a long time ago, but he never really seemed comfortable," Uecker said. "He would never ride alongside me. He was always in front or behind.
"One day, I called him and said, 'Let's go,' and he said, 'I'm not going to ride today.' This went on for a couple weeks and when I stopped by his house, his wife was doing something in the garage and I said ‘Where is the bike?' and she said 'He sold it two months ago.'
"I couldn't believe it. I asked him what happened and he said ‘I just felt uneasy about it.' He thought I would be mad, but if you're not confident on a bike it really makes no sense to ride one."
When thousands of riders arrive in Milwaukee at the end of the month, Uecker will be with them in spirit.
"I remember the other reunions and they always seemed like a great time," he said. "It's funny because one of the things I've always wanted to do is go to Sturgis. I've never been able to go because of the baseball season, but I've always wanted to go. I just want to see what it's like."
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.