History will be made on the baseball diamond tonight when two of the Major League’s hungriest and most exciting ball clubs take the field for Game 1 of the World Series. But one fan’s impossible dream to make Mr. Baseball a part of the 2016 Fall Classic could bring history to the broadcast booth as well.
The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians have the two longest championship droughts in baseball, but one of those teams is about to end that streak in true Hollywood fashion.
So who better to be sitting in the broadcast booth when that happens than legendary broadcaster Bob Uecker, the voice of the Hollywood Cleveland Indians.
That’s the question Chicago sportswriter and long-suffering Cubs fan Tab Bamford asked himself last Friday night. That moment of inspiration became a hastily posted Change.org petition, calling to replace Fox’s announcer Joe Buck with Bob Uecker for the World Series broadcasts.
“I posted it at like 10 PM on a Friday night, expecting it might get 500 to 750 signatures from my friends, but never expecting it to go viral, which is absolutely insane,” Bamford told me.
Three days later, the campaign has nearly reached its goal of 50,000 signatures and has taken on a life of its own. It’s being discussed on sports radio, written about in the media, and even tweeted about by Joe Buck himself
As Uecker might say, “Holy Cow! Do you believe it, folks?”
Allow me to pause the story here for a second for non-baseball fans (I personally don’t associate with people who don’t like baseball, but I’ll try to be inclusive).
Depending on how old you are and where you live, you may remember Uecker as the father on Mr. Belvedere, the “I-must-be-in-the-front-row” guy from Miller Lite ads, or as Harry Doyle, the broadcaster for the Cleveland Indians in the movie Major League. In real life “Ueck” is the longtime voice of the Milwaukee Brewers, and is one of the most beloved and talented baseball personalities ever.
Many people undoubtedly signed the petition to put Uecker in the World Series booth because they think it’d be funny to get the Hollywood Indians’ announcer in the booth for the real Indians’ World Series bid, or because they despise Joe Buck, or because Mr. Belvedere helped them get through some difficult times in middle school. But Bob Uecker really is uniquely qualified to call the game from the broadcaster booth. And his involvement would be a great move for TV ratings.
So this petition isn’t about mocking the World Series. On the contrary, it’s a celebration of everything that’s great about baseball.
“I did this for the love of game,” Bamford says. “Uecker is a Hall of Fame broadcaster. This World Series is going to be a Biblical level event for baseball, and we need to add some entertainment to the booth.”
There is, of course, what Bamford calls “that mythical connection” between Uecker and the Indians through the movie Major League, but says there’s no denying that Uecker represents “the history that runs through this game.”
So what actually happens when the Change.org campaign hits its goal of 50,000 signatures? “Honestly, I have no idea,” Bamford says.
It seems highly unlikely that Fox would change it’s broadcast plans because of an online petition, but weirder things have happened in the World Series.
Bamford says the fact that Joe Buck is tweeting about it means that Fox execs are aware of the ask, and he even heard through the grapevine that Uecker learned of the petition and “is flattered.”
So maybe Uecker gets invited to make a guest appearance during one of the games? Who knows? Buy the World Series is that magical time of year when impossible dreams can come true (sighed the Red Sox fan).