Sure, the Brewers have been slumping a bit lately — OK, maybe slumping a lot.
But the Major League Baseball season is about to take a fun-filled and positive step forward tonight, whether the boys from Milwaukee win or lose against the Washington Nationals.
Bob Uecker's back! As in, "Get up! Get up! Get outta here! Gone!," which is, of course, Uecker's signature call for a Milwaukee home run.
The 75-year-old Uecker returns to the WTMJ-AM (620) radio booth tonight for the first time since late April, when he announced he needed heart surgery. On April 30 Uecker had surgery to replace his aortic valve, aortic root and part of his ascending aorta.
It's been a long summer as Wisconsin baseball fans have waited for two things:
• The Brewers to put together an extended hot streak and climb into the pennant race.
• Uecker to return to the broadcast booth, with his ever-present wit and likeable style that fans in Wisconsin and around the nation have come to admire, even adore, during his 40-year broadcasting career.
Uecker's funny anecdotes from his playing days and broadcasting career are legendary, and as a Milwaukee native he's always been a big hit in Wisconsin. His "schtick" over the course of his broadcasting and comedy career — Uecker was a favorite of Johnny Carson, who dubbed him "Mr. Baseball," and the former Major League catcher appeared 64 times on Carson's late-night talk show — has to do with his less-than-stellar six years as a Major League player.
Among dozens of oft-quoted wisecracks from the lifetime .200 hitter:
• "How do you catch a knuckle ball? Wait until it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up."
• "You know, I was once named Minor League Player of the Year. Unfortunately, I had been in the majors for two years at the time."
• "I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for $3,000. That bothered my dad at the time because he didn't have that kind of dough. But he eventually scraped it up."
So, take heart Brewers' fans. Milwaukee might not be in the thick of a pennant race, but starting tonight all is again right with summer evenings. Mr. Baseball will be back in the booth.