Broadcaster Block departs; Levering promoted

Broadcaster Block departs; Levering promoted

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers ramped up efforts to bolster their broadcaster lineup Saturday after the Pirates announced they had hired Joe Block to work games on radio and TV.

Milwaukee immediately promoted Jeff Levering to replace Block, who had spent the past four seasons on the Brewers Radio Network alongside the legendary Bob Uecker. Levering joined the broadcast team last year to provide content for the Brewers' website and social media platforms and to call games with Block when Uecker did not travel to road games.

"We're thrilled for Joe, but we're equally happy for Jeff," Brewers spokesperson Tyler Barnes said. "We're really lucky to have Jeff in place. If this was two years ago, we would have been starting from scratch, but now we're in a place where we can seamlessly move Jeff up. We think he is a really talented guy."

With Brewers pitchers and catchers scheduled to report for Spring Training in less than three weeks, the timing of Block's departure is not ideal, but it was a matter of necessity after the Pirates lost a broadcaster to the Red Sox. So the Brewers approved the Pirates' request to interview Block, and they pre-emptively began reviewing applicants in the event Levering was promoted. In the first two days, the club received 150 resumes.

That job posting remained active Saturday, and Barnes indicated that qualified persons with play-by-play experience could still apply.

If past searches are an indication, the Brewers will probably have a new hire in place by the time Spring Training games begin.

"We've got a really good start on this," Barnes said. "We have been reviewing demos for the past week, and this is going to be a very thorough process."

Block, 37, posted a message on his website thanking Uecker, Barnes and Brewers fans for giving him his big break in Major League broadcasting. He explained that his wife, Bethany, hails from Pittsburgh, and the Pirates' opening offered an opportunity to raise their new family at home. The couple recently welcomed a daughter, Nancy.

"We have loved living in Wisconsin, touring small towns and parks from Weston to Two Rivers, from Salem and Belgium to Honey Creek," Block wrote. "We've enjoyed every minute being a part of Milwaukee's East Side. We'll miss the friends we've made around our workplaces and their smiling faces. In a short time, they went from folks you'd simply wave to, to knowing them and their families. We'll miss the tailgating through good times and bad weather -- or vice-versa -- the dairy and the beer. Wisconsin does it right! It was home to us as we began our married life, and we are so appreciative of the warmth you've shown us through the years."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.