Q+A: Jeff Levering
Jeff Levering joined the Milwaukee Brewers’ radio broadcast team this season and is loving every bit of it so far. I recently spoke with him about his first call, game preparation and what it’s like to work with Bob Uecker.
You got the job earlier this year. What exactly does the job entail and what has been the highlight so far?
Jeff Levering: I got the job New Years Day and officially started work in the beginning of February. Other than spring training my regular season debut was last week on Monday in Detroit. The Brewers got the win and my first run that I ever called was an Aramis Ramirez home run that wrapped around the left field foul pole. So I will always remember Aramis Ramirez no matter what!
I pretty much take over the role of the #2 guy whenever I do games, so I do innings 3, 4 and 7 with pregame and postgame show responsibilities as well. That’s the innings breakdown…I essentially take over what Joe Block does now with Bob Uecker. My schedule is predicated on what Bob wants to do. He’s 81 years old, been in baseball 60 years and earned the right to not call every single game. I’ll probably end up doing 50 or 60 games throughout the course of the year. When I’m not broadcasting I do some social media stuff and I host the official podcast of the Brewers every week. They’re having me write a blog as well…I’m doing a little bit of everything so far.
Walk me through that first game and how you prepared for it.
JL: Well I’ve been going to every game the last six weeks and I’m pretty much preparing for every game as if I’m going to be calling it. So the fact that I actually got to go on the air and call the game was a bonus for me. But the preparation is consistent for every day that I show up to the ballpark. The thing that I was most worried about wasn’t the actual game itself and calling the action. It was making sure that I had all the sponsorship elements right for the pregame and the postgame show. Not trying to ruffle any feathers in that aspect! I think that was the most stressful thing going into it. But the anticipation was fun and a moment that I’ll never forget was when I got a couple baseballs from our equipment guy. He had them authenticated and gave me a game-used ball, so I’ve got those as mementos which is really neat.
I imagine you had plenty of help with those sponsorship elements, right?
JL: Oh yeah I had the formats and again I’ve been listening to the games every day that I’m not on the air. Sitting behind Bob Uecker and getting an opportunity to listen to him on a day to day basis and hear how he goes about doing his reads – that has helped too. Again that was the most stressful part about the whole deal, but it was fun. To cap it off with a win and have a pretty good road trip too… We had some pretty memorable moments on that road trip and I feel like I had the call on every single one of them which is odd to say the least. We had three straight homers in a game, the first time we’ve done that since 2012 and I got to call that. We had an ejection for a foreign substance and I was on the call for that which was crazy. We had a bunch of reviews which were fun and I got to do some extra innings. Great experience overall.
Sounds like it might be a turning point in the Brewers season with Craig Counsell coming in as manager and Jeff Levering joining the radio team.
JL: [Laughs] Hopefully that has something to do with it! Fortunately the broadcast team doesn’t formulate too well what goes on out on the field but who knows? If my record is pretty good when we’re on the road and the team starts playing better when I’m on the call then I don’t know…
Thoughts on the city of Milwaukee?
JL: The city is great. My wife and I and our son who’s almost 8 months old are getting used to it. We bought a house as soon as we moved here. We’re just getting settled which takes up most of the non-baseball activities. It’s been really good…we love it here and it’s a really good spot for us.
Good stuff, sounds like a great opportunity!
JL: So far it is and I only have this opportunity because of Jeff Feldman and the folks over at IF. I wouldn’t even be having the conversation let alone the opportunity with the Brewers if not for them. They went to bat for me and had faith in me to bring me aboard and get me these opportunities. I’m forever grateful for it!