MILWAUKEE -- For the uninitiated: No, they were not booing before the Brewers even took the field for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Friday night, a 6-5 win over the Dodgers. They were saluting Mr. Baseball.It was "UUUUUU" for Bob Uecker, the Milwaukee kid turned .200-hitting
MILWAUKEE -- For the uninitiated: No, they were not booing before the Brewers even took the field for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Friday night, a 6-5 win over the Dodgers. They were saluting Mr. Baseball.
It was "UUUUUU" for Bob Uecker, the Milwaukee kid turned .200-hitting big leaguer turned baseball broadcaster and Hollywood star, on the mound at Miller Park for a ceremonial first pitch to signal the start of the third LCS in Brewers history.
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Brewers manager Craig Counsell caught it. Just like the folks in the stands, he's a Uecker fan.
"We do a radio show every day before the game, and we spend … it's a four-and-a-half-minute radio show that takes us 20 minutes to do," Counsell said with a laugh. "That's one of my favorite parts of the day, that I get to laugh with him, and we get to swap stories and have fun and tell jokes. His are better than mine."
Uecker's jokes are better than everyone's, and he barely needs to try. As an MLB official led him to the podium for a laughter-filled news conference on Friday afternoon, Uecker asked, "Which way do you want me to face?"
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When the same official announced that Uecker would be throwing the first pitch, he looked startled.
MLB employs stenographers for such events, and that line made the transcript. But it was just the warmup. By the end of Uecker's 15 minutes on stage, the stenographers could be seen flexing their fingers.
"I like to make people laugh," Uecker said. "And I've gone through that with my kids: 'Why do you do that? Why do you talk the way you do?' To me, it's funny. I don't know, it doesn't bother me.
"As a matter of fact, the other day when we were in Colorado and Seunghwan Oh came into the game with his interpreter, and after they finished talking on the mound, I said that if I was a hitter here, I would probably face the interpreter; Seunghwan Oh would go to the dugout.
"I don't know why I think of stuff like that, either. All those little things just come to mind. I don't know why."
Counsell gets to experience it every day before the game.
"I think the bottom line is that Bob, like, he belongs in a baseball clubhouse, man," Counsell said. "He fits. He gets it. His sense of humor doesn't have an age span. It plays to all audiences. And so the guys love having him around. And I think if you ask every one of them, they're looking for: 'When is Uke here?' They're looking to go say hi to Uke every day."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.