Pirates hire Joe Block as play-by-play announcer

The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the hiring of Joe Block as the club's new play-by-play announcer. Having called play-by-play action for more than 1,400 professional baseball games, Block joins current play-by-play announcer Greg Brown and color analysts Steve Blass, Bob Walk and John Wehner to complete the Pirates five-person broadcast team.

Prior to joining the Pirates broadcast team, Block worked for the Milwaukee Brewers calling radio play-by-play for all Brewers games since 2012. Block primarily worked alongside Hall of Fame Broadcaster Bob Uecker, while also taking the lead play-by-play role for more than 40 road games each season.

Before joining the Brewers, Block spent the 2011 season hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers radio postgame show on KABC-AM in Los Angeles. Prior to that, Block honed his craft while calling nine seasons of Minor League Baseball, rising up the ranks through five different markets during that time.

Block's diverse broadcasting experience also includes more than 10 years of television calling major Division I college football and basketball games for various regional networks. He also worked as radio studio host for the National Basketball Association's New Orleans Hornets from 2007 through 2011.

"Joe's hiring is a result of an extensive search that involved more than 225 qualified applicants and a group of final candidates all of whom are Major League caliber broadcasters," Pirates President, Frank Coonelly said. "Joe's play-by-play ability, diverse experience, strong work ethic and genuine desire to become a permanent part of the Pirates family and Pittsburgh community, made him our top choice."

Born in Roseville, Michigan and a graduate of Michigan State University, the 37 year-old Block has strong family ties to Pittsburgh. His wife, Bethany, is a South Park native, whose family remains in Pittsburgh. The couple, who exchanged their wedding vows in Scott Township, recently welcomed their first child into the world.

"I want to thank the Milwaukee Brewers for allowing me to pursue this opportunity. They are a top-notch organization with hardy, loyal fans," said Block. "Wisconsin was a truly great place to live, but now that I'm a parent, it was impossible to ignore a chance for our children to grow up around family and make Pittsburgh our home."

"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to join the Pirates family," added Block. "As an observer, I have long since been impressed with the Pirates organization, from their on-field smarts and success to their expansive community efforts. The Pirates have one of the most passionate fan bases in arguably the most passionate sports city in the country. I'm eager to be a part of all the great moments to come, on and off the field."

Block replaces former Pirates play-by-play announcer Tim Neverett, who recently accepted a similar position for the Boston Red Sox on the Red Sox Radio Network.