Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 4/4/12
Joe Block has paid some serious dues on the way to landing his first full-time major league play-by-play gig with the Milwaukee Brewers, who hired him Dec. 23 to succeed Cory Provus after Provus took the same job with the Minnesota Twins. Over the past eight seasons, the 33-year-old Block was the voice of the Jacksonville Suns, Great Falls White Sox and Billings Mustangs. That led to a job as the Los Angeles Dodgers postgame radio host last year and ultimately, a seat next to Mr. Baseball, Bob Uecker with Milwaukee. He's the best, Block said of Uecker. In the short time I've known him he's already been great in showing the willingness to mentor me. With two days left before the start of his first season in Milwaukee, Block, a Michigan native, is the subject of this edition of 5 Questions. 1. FSW: After spending over a month watching the Brewers play, what's your impression of the ballclub? BLOCK: They're the defending divisional champs. A lot of people base their projections on what has happened since the end of the previous season. Did they get worse, and did all these other teams get so much better that they don't deserved to get picked to repeat as divisional champs for this season? And I think a lot of people are making that mistake. The thought process going into the year is how do you replace Prince Fielder? He's got a unique skill set. You look at third base and first base and say can they get similar offensive production from those positions? Yes they can. Are they better defensively? Ron Roenicke thinks so. Their pitching returns. Now you have a full season of K-Rod. And Jose Veras will be a nice seventh-inning guy. Some nice moves there, real subtle. St. Louis is going to start without Chris Carpenter; the Reds lost their closer. So right now I would still pick the Brewers to repeat. 2. FSW: You've seen lots of Brewers fans in Maryvale. What is your impression of them? BLOCK: They're terrific, some of the best fans in all of sports. You think about the way that they've supported their team, and you don't hear the excuse of being a small market team or anything with the Brewers. Mark Attanasio is spending money. He wants to field a competitive team every year, and he does. And that's all the Brewers fans ask. And the team is going to be in the thick of things, and they are year in and year out, thanks to Mark and company and some good moves from the front office and on the field, too. It all has to come together synergistically. The fans are a big part of that. You see in Tampa Bay the fans don't come as they do in Milwaukee, and the Rays field a competitive team every year. But it makes it very difficult to keep those players because they don't have the revenue base because the fans don't come. So that shows you what kind of great fans are in Milwaukee. They're great fans. They're good people. They're not mean. They're not going to be mean to opposing teams like you see in other cities. All around, I think they're some of the best fans in all of sports. 3. FSW: What has it been like working with Bob Uecker? BLOCK: He's terrific. He's extremely kind to people I've seen him interact with. He's also someone who is obviously very funny but also extremely knowledgeable about the game with his experience, which helps rub off on me, and I get to learn things every day from him. He's just been very accepting, and it's been so much fun to be able to work with him every day, not just because of his stature and what he's accomplished. He's just a solid broadcaster. And I appreciate people who are very good at what they do, regardless of the craft. (I like) being able to pick up little things,, nuances from him, and to be immediately welcomed has been great. 4. FSW: You mentioned how funny he is. Are there times when it's tough to keep a straight face when he gets on a roll? BLOCK: He's probably of anybody I've ever met, he's the most naturally funny person. He will creatively twist words in such a way that you find yourself thinking, How was he able to come up with that? Something so funny, so witty, so quickly, and so poignant and on time. It keeps everything light. So on a day when the Brewers might be down a whole bunch of runs, it's always going to be entertaining. 5. FSW: How would you describe your style of broadcasting? BLOCK: I like to be thoroughly prepared. I like to know as much as I can about the participants in the game and bring that to the broadcast. I would say I have kind of an easy style. I don't get overly worked up over things. You have a full season ahead of you. Hopefully, the Brewers will have many exciting moments at the tail end of the campaign that we'll have all of our energy saved up for. I just like to bring you the game. My sense of humor is there, but I don't try to force it. Hopefully, my comments and jokes are a little bit better than not, although I've been accused of having some bad jokes now and then. I think an easy style would be the best way to describe it.
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