MILWAUKEE - Bob Uecker said Thursday that he plans to curtail his travel schedule in 2014, a first for the Brewers' beloved radio broadcaster.
And as usual, he had a really good explanation.
"I saw [Brewers manager Ron] Roenicke at the 'On Deck' deal Sunday," Uecker said, "and I told him I'd like to take one more shot at becoming active during those games I'm not going to broadcast."
He delivered the line with his trademark deadpan before a chuckle escaped.
The truth is that Uecker, at 79 years old and entering his 44th season calling games for his hometown team, is finally heeding the advice of his friend and Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio by easing his workload. Uecker said he plans to continue working most or all of the Brewers' home games, but he will skip some longer road trips.
Uecker stressed that he is in good health, and suggested that his travel schedule would be fluid.
"Sooner or later, you have to bend a little bit," said Uecker, who is getting a second statue at Miller Park this summer. "And that's what I'm going to do. I'm not saying that I won't work games down to the end of the season, and if indeed there's the possibility of the playoffs or anything else, I'm going to do that. But now is the time for me to kind of take a few games off once in a while and enjoy myself. Not that I don't enjoy the games, because I always do. You guys know that. I'm at home at the ballpark as much as I am in my own house.
"But I had some hip surgery in November, and I'm regrouping from that yet. We've got Spring Training coming up a few weeks down the road, and I'm going to work the spring games and then go from there. It's just a personal thing. This is my 59th year [in professional baseball] coming up, so that's enough on an everyday basis. I know I'm going to miss it, each and every game. The games that I don't do, I'll certainly be listening to, and I'll miss them. I know I will. You don't do this stuff -- especially in Milwaukee -- for 44 years and not miss it."
When Uecker opts to take a game or a series off, the Brewers will likely fill his seat with an analyst from among a small group of former players, said Brewers vice president of communications Tyler Barnes. Joe Block is entering his third season as Uecker's partner on the statewide Brewers Radio Network.
"We will keep this loose," Barnes said. "There is no set plan."
Block has occasionally paired with guest analysts before when Uecker was away, including Brewers special assistant Craig Counsell, who sometimes travels with the team anyway as part of his front-office role. Wisconsin Badgers play-by- play man Matt Lepay, who was recently added to the Brewers' television broadcast team as an occasional fill-in for Brian Anderson, will probably focus on his TV duties.
HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.
The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."
The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.
Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander factory that makes smoke flavoring caught fire early Monday morning.
Shortly before 6:00 a.m., Rhinelander, Crescent and Newbold Fire Departments responded to a fire at Red Arrow Products on Rhinelander's west side.
An employee says there were about eight workers inside at the time.
No one was injured.
"Flames were coming out of a conveyor area as high as the roof. We made an interior attack and knocked that flame down. Came in from the other side of the partition wall, then made another interior attack and knocked that down," says Chief Terry Williams.
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