The Brewers announced today that Bob Uecker is getting a statue outside of Miller Park this summer. This led to the same Twitter joke being told over and over again, but Tyler Kepner said it best:
I laughed. Don’t pretend you didn’t.
As for the merits: it’s so easy to remember Uecker as Harry Doyle from “Major League” and, if you’re a tad older, as the funniest guy in those old Miller Lite commercials. But if you were unaware, Uecker is one of the best play-by-play guys around and has been for decades. Seriously: if you’re not in Wisconsin, get MLB.tv or XM radio or something and listen to some Brewers games this summer. He’s just fantastic.
And that’s definitely worth a statue. Especially in Milwaukee, where they honored Bud Selig with one. The least they can do is honor someone who has brought millions of people actual enjoyment.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.