Saturday Scorecard: Get well soon, Mr. Baseball
Welcome to Saturday Scorecard, where we think it's OK to put on nice clothes, funny hats and guzzle mint juleps the other 364 days of the year.
On to the notes...
Get well soon, Mr. Baseball: Brewers broadcaster/franchise icon Bob Uecker underwent successful heart surgery on Friday. If everything progresses as expected with his recovery, Uecker is expected to be back in the booth -- at least for home games -- some time around early August.
The Brewers just don't seem the same without him.
It's not as Uecker's presence helps Doug Davis pitch deep into games or Rickie Weeks avoid hitting slumps. It's just that Uecker has been so good and so indispensable for so long that it's tough to fathom games without him. He's as much a part of baseball season in these parts as daily box scores, tailgating and sausage races.
His voice Brewers accompanies fans in the car, on the boat, at the lake, on the patio, in the yard and just about everywhere else fans can take a radio, laptop or smart phone.
If you close your eyes tightly, even on the coldest night in the deepest part of a Wisconsin winter, you can hear him opening a broadcast --
"From Miller Park, on a beautiful evening for baseball, it's the Brewers against the Cincinnati Reds. Hello, again everyone. I'm Bob Uecker and tonight..."
Or, you can picture his spine-tingling signature home run call: "Get up! Get up! Get outta here! Gone!"
Uecker and the Brewers are synonymous. His recent health scare, which was preceded by an unpublicized surgery during the off-season, is a stark reminder that Uecker won't be in the booth -- not to mention our cars, boats, backyards and winter daydreams -- forever.
Fans in other cities have discovered that truth in recent years. Phillies fans lost beloved announcer Harry Kalas last season. Braves boosters are adjusting to life without Pete Van Wieren and Skip Caray. Tigers fans miss Ernie Harwell. Dodgers fans got a scare during spring training when venerable Vin Scully was hospitalized after a fall at his home.
At some point, hopefully several years from now, Uecker will step away from the broadcast booth.
"I'll know when it's time," he said earlier this week.
Thankfully, it's not time yet.
At this point, all Brewers fans can do is hope that Uecker makes a speedy recovery. And when he returns, fans should soak in and savor every inning they can.
Rough night: Just when it seemed that the Bucks were poised to provide a sellout crowd with a lifetime memory, Atlanta decided to play a little defense.
As a result, the visitors claimed Game 6 Friday night at the Bradley Center and evened the best-of-seven series, 3-3.
The Hawks' defensive intensity, coupled with Milwaukee's horrific shooting performance, paved the way for Game 7 at noon Sunday in Atlanta.
The odds are against the Bucks, big-time. But, it's been that way since the series began. Nobody envisioned a Game 7 when the Bucks lost the first two of the series on the road. Nobody picked the Bucks to win Game 5, but they did.
Given what has happened this season, it'll be difficult to be disappointed if Milwaukee loses the series. Sure, there was an opportunity at hand on Friday night and the Bucks failed to capitalize. That is offset, though, by the realization that the franchise has reached a point where situations like that won't be a once-a-decade experience.
What will it take? In order for the Bucks to win on Sunday, they will need superlative efforts from rookie point guard Brandon Jennings and shooting guard John Salmons. Neither player was effective Friday night.
On the skids: The Brewers' pitching woes have received plenty of scrutiny this season, and the slow starts by Davis, Yovani Gallardo, Jeff Suppan and Trevor Hoffman merit the attention.
Outside of a freakish series in Pittsburgh, though, the offense has been horrific, too. It's time for Prince Fielder to start producing. And, it will help when Rickie Weeks sheds his current slump, for he is the engine that drives the offense.
It's too early to panic, but not to early for concern that this team's flaws are greater than envisioned.
LARRY KING LOUNGE
Loved Andrew Bogut's white suit last night. Did anyone notice what Michael Redd was wearing?... Wake me up when the NCAA figures out what is going to happen with the basketball tournament. You know they aren't going to stop at 68.... The Bucks crowds for the three home games against Atlanta were outstanding. It's a reminder that this team will support an NBA team that is interesting... The George Koonce situation at UWM has been curious for much of the year. Now, it's bordering on disaster. It's best for all involved if they simply settle up and part ways.... Only 40 shopping days until the World Cup.... I finally got around to watching "Glory Road." My thought? Meh. It's not nearly as good as "Hoosiers" or "Remember the Titans.".... Is there are more compelling figure in the playoffs than Milwaukee's Kurt Thomas?... Congratulations to the Admirals on a successful season. Now, if they just could have won Game 7.... The first time Bryan Bulaga misses a block or gives up a sack, some idiot is going to scream "His arms are too short."... Wouldn't it be great if Brewers games were broadcast in FM?... Where does Mel Kiper, Jr., go for the other 46 weeks a year?... Some of the sunflower seeds in the Brewers' dugout are dill pickle flavor.... You should cheer for the Bucks to win tomorrow, just so we can see another new routine from the Energee! dance team.... What will the heat index be for Ken Macha if the Brewers play poorly in Los Angeles, where Mark Attansio lives, and Arizona?
Wonder if a grassroots movement could be started to get a bronze statue of Bob put up at Miller Park along with Yount, Hank, etc. It would be great to get that in place before he left. The biggest question would be whether to have him posed sitting and talking into a mike or dressed in his old Milwaukee Braves uniform.
Bob's recent absence reminded me how Brewer games are just not the same without him. We are privileged in Milwaukee to have a Hall of Fame Broadcaster calling our games. Bob has given a small market team a world class voice. Get well soon.
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