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PHOENIX – Brian Anderson is a busy man. The three-time Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year Award recipient is entering his 13th season as the Milwaukee Brewers’ play-by-play announcer on Fox Sports Wisconsin. That gig will be put on a brief hold, however, as the veteran announcer will begin to make the rounds calling some of the top national events on the sports calendar.
Along with Fox, he will call games from multiple sports on a variety of networks during the spring months. Although he acknowledges that the travel schedule can be stressful and tiring at times, he also calls it “exhilarating.”
After spending a few weeks in Arizona for spring training, Anderson’s next stop was Chicago to cover the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
Brewers TV analyst Brian Anderson
Brewers TV analyst Brian Anderson (Photo: Fox Sports Wisconsin)
“It’s the busiest stretch I have,” he said. “It really starts in late February. I will come out to Arizona, do spring training baseball on television, step down after a couple of weeks of that to go do the Big Ten basketball tournament, and then ultimately the NCAA Tournament. So that window is about a month.
“And then I come back and do the opening schedule of the Brewers’ regular season. And then I’ll have to step down after a couple of weeks or a week of that and then go do the NBA playoffs. And that’s about a three-week run and that leads into the PGA Championship, which is now in May this year.”
How does he handle the hectic schedule?
“You got to be organized with your prep and you’re constantly reading about every sport,” he said. “And once I get my teams for the NCAA Tournament, you’re solely focused on those eight teams in the first round that you’re calling the four games the first day. And you step back once you get past the first weekend and then tap back into what’s going on in the baseball world. I’m always curious to find out how the Brewers’ spring training is going when I’m doing basketball.”
Anderson’s broadcasting career launched in 1994, when he began calling minor-league baseball games in San Antonio, Texas. After nine years of play-by-play and numerous positions in other sports along the way, he wasn’t sure if his dream of landing a job with a big-league baseball team would come to fruition.
“I had actually given up on baseball because I couldn’t get a major-league broadcasting job,” he said. “I was having more success in basketball with the NBA and college basketball.”
An opening with the Brewers came up in late 2006 and Anderson became the voice of the team, alongside color commentator and former Brewers catcher Bill Schroeder. Shortly after, Anderson began calling MLB postseason games on TBS as well.
“Right away, I felt real comfortable,” Schroeder said of his partner. “He’s so prepared. He can do his job and my job, he’s that good. … He gives me room to do what I’m doing but he’s incredibly talented. Every one of my partners, I’ve enjoyed, but I think my rapport with Brian has gone beyond what I had with the other guys. Now we know what each other is doing before we do it.
“It’s like a marriage. In all honesty, we spend more time with each other than we do with our wives in the summer.”
Before the 2013 season, the pair was joined by Sophia Minnaert, who is a sideline reporter for Fox Sports Wisconsin and also employed by the team. For the last seven years, Minnaert has seen what type of broadcaster and person Anderson is on a daily basis.
“He’s extremely well-respected,” she said. “He’s obviously extremely talented, but anyone who knows him knows he’s just a good person and he’s a very loyal, kind, genuine person. He’s a great friend.”
Anderson’s versatility has put him in a position to call some of the most memorable plays in modern sports. Buzzer-beaters in the NCAA Tournament. Postseason walk-off home runs and no-hitters. Legendary plays and performances in the NBA playoffs.
You can find all of those on his résumé.
“My favorite (sport) is whatever I’m doing, whatever I’m assigned to do,” he said. “I truly mean that because there’s nuance in how you call play-by-play. The language and the vocabulary is different for all the different sports. But ultimately, the stories of the individual is the common thread with any of that. And that’s what intrigues me: to be able to tell a story in a path of a guy, how he gets to your television screen in my case now. That is always the same.”
As Anderson has become one of the most recognizable voices in sports, it seems he has also made an impactful and profound impression on his colleagues personally.
“He’s one of the best play-by-announcers in all of sports and I would put him up against anybody in the country,” Minnaert said.
“More importantly, he’s just a terrific person, especially in my position, you couldn’t ask for anybody better than to have as a co-worker, mentor, friend (and) support system.”
Kaleb Martinez is a senior majoring in sports journalism at Arizona State University. This story is a part of a partnership between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.