‘I love the guy:’ Bob Uecker honored at Brewers’ spring training

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The Milwaukee Brewers are now officially back for the 2018 season.

Tuesday, Feb. 20 marked the first practice with the the full squad at spring training -- and there was another big event in Arizona, involving Brewers' radio announcer Bob Uecker.

Bob Uecker

Spring training is really about reunions. As the squad reunited for the first day of practice,  Uecker reunited with some friends, as he and Gaylord Perry went into the Cactus League Hall of Fame.

"Oh, it was great! I served food. I didn't get the award. I was serving dinner, lunch. They asked me to come and serve lunch to the guys who got the Hall of Fame award," Uecker said.

"Well, going in with Bob Uecker is very special. You know, he didn't play ball very good, but he makes great conversation. I love the guy," Gaylord Perry said.

"All this stuff is really good. It's all baseball," Uecker said.

While they were being honored for their contributions, it was the honor of being together again that made this particularly special.

Bob Uecker

"These guys are all friends. They are all longtime friends. To be able to see them and, I don't know how long all of us are going to be around. After a while, you have to slow down a little bit," Uecker said.

"He's just a caring guy. He's doing so well in everything he takes on," Perry said.

Uecker's unique bond with former players is no different than the one he shares with the current Brewers.

"He does a really good job of just staying hip with everything. He's cracking jokes that are kind of this age. This millennial group connects with him right away. He's just an incredible personality. He's one of those personalities that's generational," Brent Suter, Milwaukee Brewers' pitcher said.

Yovani Gallardo

"My son, when he was a young age, would love him every time he'd see him walk into the Clubhouse or Miller Park or here. He would make sure to go up to him to say hello. It's kind of the person he is," Yovani Gallardo, Brewers' pitcher said.

"I do that for all the kids. Every day when I come downstairs from the game, broadcasting the game, all those kids are downstairs and I know them and I get to know them and I talk to them every day and they kind of look for me now once in a while when I come downstairs or if I don't talk to them they wonder where I was -- so that's all part of it," Uecker said.

It was all about the stories and on this day, another blast from the past was recalled.

Gaylord Perry

FOX6's Brandon Cruz: "He mentioned something about hitting a home run off of you. Is that something you recall?"

"It was the most embarrassing moment of my life when I come back into the dugout, because in the Clubhouse before the game, we would go over the hitters and 'Bob Uecker was playing today. Don't worry about it. He can't catch the ball to stop throwing it, so he can't hit anything' and that's when he hit his home run. When I go back to the dugout, my teammates all on one end wouldn't let me sit there," Perry said.

"I hit a home run against him and he said it's the worst day of his life, not his baseball life, but his whole life that I hit a home run against him and every time he walks into a place he sees me, that's what he says. 'There's the worst day of my life,'" Uecker said.

While Mr. Baseball said it's about the fans and enjoying the game so much, you could tell for him, it was truly about sharing the experiences with the likes of Perry as well as Frank Robinson who also went into the Cactus League Hall of Fame on this day.

There is a lot of excitement with the team after contending for a playoff spot most of last season, before being eliminated during the final weekend of the 2017 season.

Exhibition games start on Friday, Feb. 23. The Brewers open the season March 29 at San Diego. The home opener at Miller Park is Monday, April 2 versus the St. Louis Cardinals.