CHICAGO -- Bob Uecker held court in the cramped training room at Wrigley Field on Thursday, sending Brewers players into fits of laughter by telling about the night Andre the Giant scared Mary Hart so badly that she locked herself in the bathroom and refused to help Uecker host Wrestlemania.Uecker eventually coaxed his co-host out. The show had to go on. For his work on stage and screen, his famously average playing career and, most of all, for his entertaining radio broadcasts of Brewers games for the last 40 years, Uecker will be immortalized in bronze outside Miller Park on Friday. A seven-foot statue depicting Uecker standing casually, his hands in his pockets, will join similar tributes to Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Robin Yount, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig. "I'm looking forward to it," Uecker said. "It's a wonderful thing to have happen, and I get a chance to see a lot of old friends. I talked to Bob Costas this morning and he's in town already, all fired up about being the emcee. Henry Aaron is all fired up, and he'll be there." The list of attendees will be long and diverse, spanning the entertainment world and the baseball world. He extended special invitations to the doctors and nurses from Milwaukee's Froedtert Hospital, who cared for Uecker through two major heart surgeries in 2010. Does Uecker expect any heckling at the event? "I hope there is," he deadpanned. "I'm sure there's a lot of people who are still aggravated, that put money on games and I lost their homes." That famous sense of humor will be on full display in an afternoon ceremony at Miller Park's home plate plaza. Aaron and Selig will be among the attendees, and Yount filmed a video message because he is traveling overseas. Uecker, inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2001, the broadcasters' wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame earlier this year, has already seen the statue, and was pleased. There was debate about whether to include a microphone, but Uecker preferred it be left out. "And I didn't want to do it with a bat, because of where they wanted to put it," he joked. "It's where I had it most of my career." Who was the first person who told him he was so funny? "A couple of teachers that kicked me out of school, that's where it really happened," Uecker said. "My dad was at school more than I was." The Brewers have reminded their fans that there is extremely limited standing room available for the general public at Friday's unveiling. FS Wisconsin will air the 1:30 p.m. CT ceremony live, and MLB.com will have complete coverage -- including video highlights -- after the event.
Brewers players to take part in Uecker ceremony
CHICAGO -- Looking back, one of the best parts of Ryan Braun's big home run in the 2008 regular-season finale was having Bob Uecker's voice on the highlight."I've been fortunate to hit a couple of big homers, and to listen to his calls on those homers makes them all the more enjoyable," Braun said. The longtime Brewers broadcaster will be honored with a statue outside Miller Park in a Friday afternoon ceremony. Manager Ron Roenicke, his coaches and a slew of current and former Brewers players will be in attendance. The Brewers have a game against the Pirates later in the day with postseason implications for Pittsburgh, but this will be a can't-miss event. "You know what you see on TV, and what you hear [on the radio], the persona of what Bob Uecker has done through media, film, television, radio," closer John Axford said. "And when you get to the ballpark and talk to him, you realize that is him. He's a great character, he's great to have in the clubhouse, and he's great to have around all the time. He livens things up. What you see is what you get from him, and it's awesome." Roenicke has spent more time with Uecker than anyone. Uecker interviews the manager each day for a pregame segment, and he and Roenicke typically sit and chat before and after that brief Q&A. The conversation sometimes veers away from baseball. "He's a pretty special guy," Roenicke said. "I've really enjoyed the conversations when we're off the air. Every day, we usually talk about something other than what we're going to talk about on the show, and it's really been nice. I enjoy the friendship that we've had. It's incredible the stuff he has done in his career."
Roenicke not bothered by lack of complete games
CHICAGO -- The Brewers were going on their 287th consecutive game Thursday without a starter logging a complete game, and you might be surprised to learn that the drought does not bother manager Ron Roenicke one bit."I don't see what the importance of complete games are when you have six or seven relievers down there," he said. "Now, certainly, if they've been used every night and you need a break, that would be good. But if a [starter] goes eight [innings], to cover one should be nothing for a bullpen." Since Yovani Gallardo pitched all nine innings of an April 5, 2011 win over the Braves, the closest the Brewers have come to a complete game was Zack Greinke's scoreless, nine-inning outing against the White Sox on June 22. The Brewers won, 1-0, in 10 innings. No other Brewers starter has worked into the ninth inning this season. Ten times, including the Greinke gem, has a starter worked into the eighth -- Mike Fiers four times, Greinke three times, Gallardo twice and Shaun Marcum once. The Brewers are one of three teams -- the Cubs and Rockies are the others -- without a complete game this season. "I'm comfortable with it," Roenicke said. "With the way it has evolved in the bullpen with closers and set-up guys, you have that for a reason. You have that because once you get to that point, you feel like you have the game won. Last year, we were so successful once we got to the eighth, ninth innings, and I know that other teams felt like the game was over. "If you have that out there, and they're not overused, why not feel good about going there? Later in the game, a pitcher gets up in pitches to 110, 120, that's when they're more apt to make a mistake and get hurt."
Marcum's calf cramp forces him to exit early
CHICAGO -- Brewers starter Shaun Marcum did little to boost his trade value on Thursday, when he lasted only four innings and exited with cramping in his right calf before the Brewers lost to the Cubs, 12-11 at Wrigley Field.Now the question is whether Marcum will wear a Brewers uniform for his next start. The team reportedly placed him on trade waivers earlier this week, and may be motivated to move Marcum before Friday's 10:59 p.m. CT deadline for teams to acquire a player and have him eligible for Postseason Play. Such a move could save about $1.3 million in salary, and could give Marcum an opportunity to finish the season with a contender. He labored against the Cubs in his second Major League start since a two-month stint on the disabled list for an elbow injury. Marcum walked the leadoff man in each of the first two innings, and saw both runners score as Chicago built a 3-0 lead. Marcum said the cramping in his right calf began in the third inning. "There were a couple of pitches I felt it there, and it just didn't go away," he said. "It was a little bit warmer out there than I anticipated, but I was hydrated. I started cramping up there. I don't know what the problem was." He is 5-4 this season, with a 3.35 ERA in 15 starts. Asked whether the trading deadline would be on his mind Friday, Marcum said, "It will be a normal day for me."