Q & A with Chris Mehring, Wisconsin announcer

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers announcer Chris Mehring sat down with InsidethePark's Kevin Damask for a one-on-one interview recently, talking about everything from his life in the broadcast booth to the 2004 version of the T-Rats.

InsidethePark.com: How long have you worked as the Timber Rattlers' radio announcer?

Chris Mehring: This is my fifth season, I started in 2000.

ITP.com: What are some of the things you do before a game?

Mehring: I try to take care of my sales, because I do sales for the team too. I try to mix and match my sales and do my game notes in the morning. Then I am responsible for the lineups and getting the stat packs together. Pretty much taking care of everything that needs to be done before the game.

ITP.com: What's the most important thing a play-by-play announcer must do while calling a game?

Mehring: There's two really, inform and entertain. You have to keep the people interested and listening. If their listening you don't want them saying, ‘what's the score of this stupid game, why don't this guy give the score.' So, you just want to keep them informed and entertained.

ITP.com: Have you done play-by-play for any other teams?

Mehring: I did play-by-play for the Duluth-Superior Dukes in the Northern League for three seasons. That's the only other baseball team I've done.

ITP.com: Who are some play-by-play announcers that you admire?

Mehring: Bob Uecker and Vince Lloyd, who did Cubs' games in the 1970s. Those are the two big ones who have done baseball. Eddie Duccett, who used to do Milwaukee Bucks' games in the late ‘70s. Wayne Larrivee is one of the finest, he's the Packers' announcer and he's done Cubs' games and Bulls' games and a little but of everything. I also like Pat Foley, who does the Chicago Blackhawks.

ITP.com: Do you ever find it difficult to be unbiased?

Mehring: (laughs) No. You know I work for the team so I'm not hired to be unbiased. I did the All-Star Game the other day, I did a couple of innings there and even though Feierabend was on the hill and I was rooting for my guy, he gave up a home run to Willie Vasquez and it's an All-Star Game, it's exciting. But, I'm hired by the team to work for the team and a little Homerism is good.

ITP.com: How would you describe the Timber Rattlers' season so far?

Mehring: Inconsistent. Every once in awhile there's a flash where you see the team put together a winning streak, like earlier in the season when they put together a four-game winning streak. But, it just seems that there's just one thing or another that prevents them from putting that good run together. But, I think here in the second half; we have a good opportunity to put something together here.

ITP.com: What players for the Timber Rattlers' do you think have the best chance to move up the Mariners' system?

Mehring: I really like the way Chris Colton has approached the game this year. Tom Oldham, Jason Mackintosh, Ryan Feierabend, Adam Jones. That's just off the top of my head. I haven't really seen enough of Cho or Orlandos, or any of those new guys that have come up. Josh Womack has been good too this year. I hate to leave anybody out, but I know I'm going to.

ITP.com: What teams in the Midwest League have impressed you this season?

Mehring: Cedar Rapids, I like the Angels' prospects. I like Clinton, they've impressed me and all lot of their prospects have moved up. Kane County, they're a little old for this league, but that's just how the A's play, there's all lot of college age guys on their team. From the east, I like Lansing. The Cubs have some good prospects and they're strong on the pitching side. So, those are probably the three or four that impress me.

ITP.com: How does this year's team compare to Rattlers' teams of the past?

Mehring: Last year's team got off to a really good first half. They clinched a playoff birth in the first half, but they didn't have a great second half. In 2000 and 2001, they put together some very good halves and they were very consistent. In 2002, they went on a couple of 12-game losing streaks. That was a team that had some good players on it like Choo and Dobbs, but they just couldn't put a winning team together on the field. But, the guys that stuck through that 2002 team have gone on to have some success here in this organization.

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