Baseball is steeped in a long-term relationship with the people who cover the sport, probably more so than any other professional sport. The relaxed pace of Major League Baseball allows us to invite the broadcasters into our homes in a way that other sports simply can’t touch.
That’s why, in the grand scheme of arbitrary awards handed to sports broadcasters, the Ford C. Frick Award is by far and away the most coveted.
Late last week, the Baseball Hall of Fame released the 2013 ballot. And wouldn’t you know it, one former and one current Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster found their way on the list.
Two of the men chosen for the honor include Jim Powell and Bill Schroeder.
Just to refresh your memory – the Ford C. Frick Award is given annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame to Broadcasters deemed to have made “major contributions to baseball.” In order to take home the prize, a broadcaster must have served in a broadcast booth for at least ten years with a single ball clue or network – or some combination therein. Once again, this year, you the fans are allowed to vote via Facebook for your favorite broadcasters to make it on the final ballot.
I now present to you the ONLY two people you should vote for.
1995 – Present (all with Milwaukee Brewers)
Bill Schroeder, or “Rock” to most Brewers fans, has spent 18 years in the broadcast booth as a color commentator on both WTMJ Radio, the Brewers flagship radio station, and Fox Sports on television. He is a former Milwaukee Brewer catcher, and currently works along side Brian Andersen for Milwaukee Brewers games. In the nearly two decades of Brewers Baseball I have been witness to, only Bill Schroeder and Bob Uecker have been the consistent ties in my baseball experience.
So why should Bill Schroeder win? Easy – because there are very few broadcasters that can relate to their audience the way that Rock can. Rock is so Wisconsin it’s almost mind-boggling. Here’s a man who lives for the Tavern of the Game – and he’s been to most of them. He can comment on almost every local in-game promo with actual experience. He can be genuinely funny, and brings color and a different dynamic that meshes well with Brian Andersen’s more straight-man style. More than that, he opens up to the audience, as is OK with letting us know that deep down, he’s an old baseball guy and prefer to keep it that way.
He’s also a genuinely good analyst – bringing his experience and insight to every game. Though he may not always deliver it in the flashiest way, he has knowledge of the game and is able to keep it interesting to people who are new and old to the game alike.
In my experience talking to fans of other teams, I’ve been hard-pressed to find a TV analyst with a fan following quite like Bill Schroeder. You can chalk it up to longevity if you’d like, but Rock’s ability to bring the game home on Television isn’t something everyone can do. How many TV analysts do you know have had an entire section of a stadium dedicated to them? Do you think the Rangers ever had a Buckethead Brigade for their TV team? (Full Disclosure: I didn’t do the research, but I feel pretty safe about that.)
Bill Schroeder is not well known outside of Wisconsin – but he has the goods and the longevity to be seriously considered for this award. He’s not your traditional mikeman, but he’s somewhere in that gap between old and young baseball fans, trying to do a job that enhances the experience for all of them. That, in and of itself, is a major contribution to the Brewers baseball fandom.
1993 – Present (’93-’94 Twins, ’96-’08 Brewers, ’09-Present Braves)
Jim Powell is a man who needs no introduction to Milwaukee Brewers fans – for twelve years he was
one of the two voices day in and day out for Brewers Radio. He was named Wisconsin Broadcaster of the Year in 1998 – adding to his three Sportscaster of the Year titles he nabbed during his work coming up in South Carolina. He was also one of the only people who could consistently keep up with Bob Uecker in the Brewers broadcast booth – a job worthy of accolades all its own.
Powell provided a great conversation with baseball fans through his connection to Bob Uecker. The pair fed off each other, and were able to inform and entertain baseball fans simultaneously without taking anything away from the game itself. We all know that Ueck is a bona-fide star of baseball broadcasting – but if he’s Carson, then Powell was his Ed McMahon. He’s insightful, to-the-point, and still personable. Even though he’s been in the game for nearly 20 years, he continues to learn and adapt his style to his audience – one of the big reasons he was picked to provide coverage of one of America’s most followed teams – the Atlanta Braves.
Jim Powell is highly deserving of the Frick Award. He is well-respected throughout the industry, and he has made his mark in two teams that have a long legacy of broadcasting excellence.
The Milwaukee Brewers have had plenty of excellent broadcasters, but Bob Uecker has, in all this time, been the only one to be noted for his contributions to Major League Baseball. Your votes for Rock and Powell can help to change that. These are the broadcasters that help keep you in touch with your team, and bring the game to life their passion, dedication, and talent. They deserve to be recognized for that.