Milwaukee Talks: Brewers announcer Cory Provus
Spring training is over, and so are the dress rehearsals.
This afternoon, Cory Provus will settle into the seat next to Bob Uecker inside the visiting radio booth at AT&T Park in San Francisco to call his first regular-season Brewers game and begin building a bond with baseball fans across Wisconsin.
When Jim Powell left Milwaukee after 13 years to become the lead announcer for the Braves in his hometown of Atlanta, the Brewers turned to Provus, 30, whose previous job was as a pre- and post-game host on the Cubs radio network.
OnMilwaukee.com caught up with Provus during spring training and asked him about his new job, his new team and the prospect of working next to a legend like Uecker.
OnMilwaukee.com: How hectic was your spring? You were announced as the Brewers' new radio announcer in mid-February and had to scramble to get down to spring training and get on the air. Have you been able to catch your breath?
Cory Provus: It hasn't been that bad. I've got a place to live in Milwaukee. My stuff will be there when I get back. It hasn't been bad. Actually, the situation is similar to the one I faced a couple years ago. When I got the job at WGN, it was almost the same situation. Andy Mazur accepted a job with the Padres in San Diego and I got the job with the Cubs on the last Monday of spring training. I packed my house and left on Wednesday for Chicago. I had one day to find a place to live, then I flew to Las Vegas to meet the team. It really hasn't been that bad. With e-mail and cell phones and faxes, you can take care of a lot of things remotely. It wasn't like I was going to Mongolia. It was only Phoenix. I wasn't all that stressed out about it.
OMC: Given the proximity to your hometown, the opportunity to work alongside Bob Uecker and the fact that the Brewers are a young, exciting team, this seems like a pretty good fit.
CP: It really is. What a great time to join the Brewers, the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. There is so much passion right now, and deservedly so. I saw this team play a bunch the last two years. It's a great, young, exciting team that has a lot of promise. How could anyone not want to be a part of this?
OMC: Now that you've got a few games under your belt, what is it like working with Ueck? You're going to be spending a lot of time with him and Kent Sommerfeld this summer and for the foreseeable future.
CP: Bob has really been tremendous to me. I have so much respect for Bob and the man he is, the Hall of Famer he is. Before I got the job, we got together for dinner in Arizona and everybody asked me if I was nervous, but it wasn't like a job interview at all. It was exactly like I thought it was going to be -- two guys laughing and talking baseball. We talked about the job for five minutes. After that, it was all stories.
OMC: Ueck has a lot of stories.
CP: I love the stories. Ron Santo is a dear friend of mine and he's got a million stories. So does Bob. We had a blast.
OMC: What about Kent? He can be difficult ... I'm kidding, of course. He's one of the nicest guys on the planet.
CP: Kent has been great. He's been part of the broadcast team for more than 20 years and he makes my life easier because he knows the format so well. He knows everything.
OMC: You worked with Uecker's former partner, Pat Hughes, down in Chicago. I'm sure you spoke with Jim Powell when you applied for this job. What did they tell you to expect?
CP: To be honest, in the conversations I've had with Pat and Jim the lasting impression I've come away with is that you're going to have fun. Bob wants to have fun. He wants to call some winning baseball, but he also wants to have fun. I love the fact that he's a former player, especially a catcher, because they see the game differently. I want to ask him about that. That's something I look forward to bringing out in the broadcasts.
OMC: How would you describe your style as a broadcaster?
CP: I don't think you can be too descriptive in a game. You want to paint a vivid, detailed picture of what is going on during the ballgame. You have to challenge yourself to do that.
OMC: Do you have any role models or mentors in the field?
CP: My first mentor was, and probably still is, my cousin, Brad Sham, who has been the voice of Dallas Cowboys for about 30 years. When I was old enough to realize what he did for a living, I realized that he was like me. He loved sports, but he couldn't play. I went in that direction since I was 13 or 14.
I also was fortunate enough to have a front-row seat to learn from one of the best guys in the game, Pat Hughes. I'm a bit of a baseball purist and there is a throwback nature to his style. I love the way he calls a game and uses just the right words. A lot of guys can give you the bells and whistles, but Pat has a knack for using the perfect words to describe the action. I learned a lot from him.
OMC: When it began to look like you were going to get the job, some hardcore Brewers fans bristled at the notion of having a Cubs "fan" and former announcer in the booth at Miller Park. Even though it seems ridiculous to think that you'd secretly be rooting for the enemy, what do you say to those people?
CP: I can't fault people for having passion. The Brewers are a terrific team. It's a challenge I took upon myself to prove to fans that I can do a professional, credible job. There are a lot of things in life we can control. Where we grow up is not really one of them.
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It's going to take some time for us to get used to a Cubbies announcer but time heals all wounds but he is still a Cubs announcer in my eyes and I want Jim Powell back.
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