As the snow continues to fall and we drive and slide around slush-filled corners and pot-holed roadways, I find it is relaxing to think of the sun-soaked days ahead.
There’s no better reminder of summer than baseball players reporting for spring training. The players are getting ready now as OnMilwaukee sports writer Jim Owczarski has been reporting. The first preseason game is only a few weeks away as the Dodgers face the Brewers on March 1 at Maryvale Baseball Park.
The ball clubs, and all of the staff members who work on game day are making preparations for another season, and I can almost smell the brats and burgers on the grill.
Those who work in media are getting ready too. The sports radio talk show hosts, producers, photographers, graphic artists, sound mixers and many others are looking over notes, checking all of the recording gear and getting everything prepared for what can be a promising year.
One person who is also getting ready is Andy Olivares, who is entering his seventh season as the Spanish play-by-play announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers.
"Depending on how the schedule goes, I should be doing around 30 games this year," Olivares said.
When we last chatted about baseball, we talked about his early love for the game that developed when he was a child in the Dominican Republic. I was telling a friend about how Olivares when he was 8 or 9 years old would ask to have the volume turned down on the television set and he’d do the play-by-play.
"That’s right," Olivares said. "I’d be doing the play-by-play and before I knew it, other people would come by and listen to me do it. They would tell me that I should go out and do that. Their support was incredible."
This year, Olivares believes the Brewers have all the pieces they need for a good season.
"I’m looking to some of the younger players to see how they develop," he said. "I think they could step up and make a contribution."
Olivares will be making the call for a number of the home games on WRRD-AM ESPN Deportes 1510 and some will be broadcast on WYTU-TV Telemundo Wisconsin Ch. 63. You can also hear his weekly show "En La Jugada con Andy Olivares" (On the Play with Andy Olivares) on Saturday mornings on WRRD ESPN Deportes 1510.
In the fall, Olivares did football play-by-play calling for the Green Bay Packers on Telemundo Wisconsin with WDJT-TV CBS 58’s Kevin Holden. In their second season, the pair saw ratings success covering three of the team’s preseason games. He’s now known for his signature "ta-ta-ta-touchdown" scoring call.
Beyond sports, Olivares has been keeping busy as well. He recently launched Olivares Communications and Marketing in Milwaukee to serve area firms, organizations and businesses.
"This has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time," Olivares said. "This really is a culmination of a 20-year-dream to meet the need of connecting a diverse community of businesses and consumers."
Leveraging his contacts in the area Latino community and the sports and media world, Olivares told me that he is really looking forward to helping others build their business with his firm and through that, building a better community.
What I’ve found in dealing with my peers in the media world, that perseverance is a key trait needed to survive a rough and unforgiving industry. Seeing Olivares come from doing pretend broadcasts for his family members in the Dominican Republic to doing real ones a few doors down from Bob Uecker at Miller Park … I know that he will be successful with any venture he takes on.
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