MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who finds himself managing the team he grew up cheering, experienced a special moment Monday afternoon, hours before his official debut, when legendary broadcaster Bob Uecker recorded the pair's first pregame show.
"I think it's one of the things that go through your head before the first day," said Counsell, who was raised in nearby Whitefish Bay, Wisc., and still makes his home there. "It went through my head, without a doubt, it went through my head because you've listened to [Uecker]. The summer nights throwing the ball around -- and I'm starting to sound corny and nostalgic here -- but I can see it. I was looking forward to it. I said, 'Let's have fun with this every day. It doesn't have to be serious every day.'"
Fun is no problem for Uecker. He pulled off a prank at the top of the very first show, Counsell said, by keeping a straight face while launching into a line of questioning that was decidedly unsuited for family radio.
Counsell quickly got the joke, and they started over with the "real" taping.
"With 'Ueck,' you better expect anything," Counsell said. "That's how I approach it."
Counsell has known Uecker for decades. Counsell's father, John, worked in the Brewers' front office from 1979-86 and often brought Craig to the ballpark. Longtime Brewers clubhouse manager Tony Migliaccio remembers Counsell helping the likes of Robin Yount and Paul Molitor open fan mail, and Uecker remembers a high school Counsell taking early batting practice at County Stadium before heading off to college at Notre Dame.
"He's born and raised here, and he's got a passion for being here," Uecker said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.