The Brew Crew

Last week I interviewed Chip Caray about what it is like being a baseball broadcaster and about his time at the University of Georgia. But this weekend he will not be the only Georgia grad in the press box. Jim Powell has been one of the voices for the Brewers for over a decade. With Milwaukee coming into town to face the Braves. I thought it would be a good time to catch up with him.

Dave McMahon -- How long have you been broadcasting for the Milwaukee Brewers?

Jim Powell -- I am completing my 11th season with the Brewers without missing a game. I worked for the Minnesota Twins in 1993 and 1994, so this will make 13 seasons in which I have broadcast Major League games.

DM -- Do you just do radio... or do you do tv as well? Which do you like better?

JP -- I have worked some television games in a couple of seasons with the Brewers but this year will be 100% radio. Radio and baseball is the best marriage in all of sports. TV is fun also but in a different way... A TV play by play man is a lot like a traffic cop as he, in effect, hosts the telecast and incorporates all of the various elements into it. On radio I can do whatever I want at any time, taking the conversation in all sorts of directions while describing the action of the game. I think radio play by play of baseball is a true art form, although I don't dare compare myself to the true artists like Vin Scully and Ernie Harwell.

DM -- What other teams have you been involved with?

JP -- The Georgia Bulldogs, first and foremost. I've also called games for the University of South Carolina, Davidson College, the Columbia Mets, the Charlotte Knights and a lot of high school teams, including Athens own Clarke Central.

DM -- When you broadcasted minor league games, was there a player that you knew he was going to be a star, and he did become a huge star?

JP -- The number one talent I ever saw in a non-Major-League-game was Bo Jackson. I saw him try to knock down the brand new lights at Foley Field with a prodigious home run and I was sincerely worried about the safety of Georgia infielders as he swung an aluminum bat. He remains the greatest athlete I have ever seen in my life even if he went to Auburn.

DM -- Everytime Brewers outfielder Corey Hart comes to the plate, do you think of the song "Sunglasses at Night" or "Never Surrender"?

JP -- The shades, of course.

DM -- Bob Uecker is one of the other Brewers announcers, what is it like traveling with him?

JP -- I was surprised at how well known he was when I first started working with him. His Hollywood persona created popularity which took him well beyond the world of baseball. No matter what players we have on the Brewers, he is always the number one attraction.

DM -- Which sausage do you cheer for when the sausage races occur during the 7th inning stretch?

JP -- The Hot Dog. This dates back to my youth when Willie Montanez was my favorite Brave.

DM -- Even want to do that?

JP -- I would like to run the sausage race someday but it happens during one of my innings of play-by-play and you don't take time off in this business, not even to whip a bratwurst.

DM -- Do you stay in Wisconsin during the offseason? Do you go to Packers games?

JP -- I am married to UGA graduate Emmy Webb Powell and we have three incredible daughters and live in a beautiful suburb of Milwaukee. I try to hit Lambeau once per fall and it is a lot of fun, but nothing matches the game-day-excitement of SEC football. I like the Packers because they generate an atmosphere as close to big-time college football as any professional team. Still, give me a Saturday in Athens, Georgia, over any NFL game.

DM -- What won't Wisconsin people put cheese on?

JP -- Their coffins.

DM -- Ever make it back to Athens for a football game, baseball game or anything else?

JP -- Of course. My kids are still young so we don't travel as much as we would like, but Emmy and I hit a homecoming game a couple of years ago and we go to Georgia-Georgia Tech every couple of years too.

DM -- Favorite non-sport memories of Athens?

JP -- I had so many great friends and great times in Athens that I couldn't possibly single one out. We had a great crew at WUOG back in the day and I enjoyed my time in O-house (is Oglethorpe still standing?) too. I loved my days at WRFC too and my old buds like Brent Johnson and Bob Doyle. Hugh Christian really got my career started when he hired me there. I worked with a lot of great young talents in broadcasting while in Athens, including Mike Sammond, Dave Stewart, Mike Stiles, Bob Behler, Condace Pressley, Roger Manis, and many others. Chip Caray was there too, but I didn't get to work with him much. My true buddies Doug Parker and Charlie Ehlers remain diehard Dawgs. I also keep in touch with Brooks Melchior of fame. Former Hugh Durham-assistant Ray Zetts is one of my oldest friends with whom I stay in touch. I apologize to everyone who I didn't mention!

DM -- Any funny broadcasting stories?

JP -- I worked a minor-league double-header between Columbia and Augusta by myself and the equipment gave out early in game one, so I did the rest of two extra-inning games with the phone pressed to my ear in 100-degree temperatures. Actually, now that I think about it, it really wasn't that funny.

DM -- You were a National Merit Scholar here at Georgia, what was your favorite class you took here?

JP -- Honestly, while I was in Athens my focus was on getting practical experience more than classroom lessons. If I had it to do over I would have taken a non-broadcasting major and given myself a better fallback position in the event that the sportscasting thing didn't work out. I got lucky that it did. Georgia is a great school and I would proudly send my daughters there. If I had failed in broadcasting I would have gone back and tried to earn a law school degree.

DM -- What was your best game you ever covered?

JP -- I have worked a lot of unbelievable games out of the almost 2000 Major League games I have been a part of, so that is hard to answer. I have never seen anything like the 18-strikeout game Ben Sheets enjoyed against my hometown Atlanta Braves in 2004 however.

DM -- Did you ever get a chance to go down the slide which Bernie Brewer goes down on Brewers home runs?

JP -- I must admit, I couldn't resist. The park was new and unopened and the security guy wasn't very quick. Bernie hadn't even seen the slide yet. I still think of it as MY slide.

DM -- Thank you for your time and your incredible answers... By the way I like the newest sausage in the race... the chorizo!

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