Bremer excited for unknown of new season
Twins' play-by-play announcer discusses ins and outs of broadcasting
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Dick Bremer has long been a familiar voice for Twins fans, as he is entering his 31st season as the club's play-by-play announcer.
Bremer, who got his start with the Twins as a broadcaster in 1983 and has been working with Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven in the booth for 19 years, took time out of his busy schedule for a Q&A with MLB.com.
MLB.com: First of all, how did your offseason go and how do you spend your offseason when you're not broadcasting the Twins?
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Bremer: I spent a lot of time with the family trying to make up for lost time during the baseball season when there doesn't seem to be enough free time to spend with the family. I live in Minnesota year-round, so I do a lot of hunting and fishing. I enjoy the wintertime sports activities that are available in Minnesota, but like everybody else, I was sick of winter on Feb. 1, so you can imagine how anxious I was to get down here on March 1.
MLB.com: So in that sense, how excited are you to be back in the booth calling Twins games?
Bremer: It's always fun this time of year. The one thing I've learned over the course of time is that you don't really know at this stage of the season what type of team you're going to be following the upcoming season. I do get a chuckle out of people who try to predict win totals and all that. The Twins are probably the best example of how you really can't tell in March how many games a team is going to win before a season starts. The hope, of course, is that the Twins will be this year's version of the Indians or Royals, teams that caught a spark. Baltimore did it a couple years ago, and they rode it out to the end of the season. A lot of things have to break for that to happen, but there is that type of hope.
MLB.com: Bert Blyleven has been your partner in the booth for a long time, but what will the breakdown be this year in terms of how many games he'll work with you?
Bremer: It's going to be pretty much the way it has been the last few years. Bert is going do 100 games, and Roy Smalley will do something in the neighborhood of 25 games. The one change is that Ron Coomer, who did such a great job for us on Twins television, took a job with the Cubs as their radio analyst. So Ron is going to be working in Chicago. So in essence, to do what Ron had been doing, the Twins got Jack Morris to do in the neighborhood 20 to 25 games, and do pre and postgame work, too. So I don't know how many complete games on the field the Twins are going to have, but we're going to have a lot of them in the booth with Bert and Jack.
MLB.com: How do the styles contrast between the other broadcasters you work with?
Bremer: It's different. My job as a play-by-play guy is take whatever the perceived strengths are of somebody who has done it for a long time such as Bert, or even someone who is doing TV really for the first time like Jack or Tom Kelly, and try to extract that from them on the air. So it's fun. But I guess it can be challenging. But it's fun because the people I've worked with are all so different and have brought different experiences, backgrounds and personalities to the booth.
MLB.com: What are some of the other responsibilities that come with being a broadcaster? Are there other events that maybe Twins fans don't realize you do outside of broadcasting Twins games?
Bremer: Well, we do a lot of public appearances for the ballclub. Most of them come in the offseason. The Twins Winter Caravan is kind of the nucleus of all of that. I guess I've always looked at it like you're on the air three and a half hours a night times 150 -- so you're on the air an awful lot -- but you're always representing the ballclub, whether you're on the air or going to the grocery store to get a gallon of milk because people recognize you and associate you with the team. So whether it's a formal, structured public appearance or not, you just kind of feel like you're always out there as a representative of the ballclub.
MLB.com: How much prep work goes into your job?
Bremer: It's changed an awful lot with the advent of the Internet. When I started in the early '80s, we would come to the ballpark and there would be one sheet of paper that was the notes for both teams. So you'd go through that and kind of sort out what you could use for the broadcast and what you wouldn't. But now, as you know, there's so much available to you. Generally, now in the morning, one of the first things I'll do is spend an hour and a half or two hours on the Internet reading things. And not so much on the Twins, because if you're doing your job, you have a pretty good handle on that. But the teams the Twins are playing, reading their local newspapers and Web sites and trying to get more up to speed on what's been going with that team. So for a 7 o'clock game, I've always made it a point to never be there later than 4 o'clock, or three hours before a ballgame. Generally, I'm usually there about four hours before a ballgame. And then you spend that time talking with the managers, coaches, players, other broadcasters, writers to again get as much background as you can for that game that night.
MLB.com: You mentioned talking with the coaching staff, I know something you like to do is participate in the media sessions with manager Ron Gardenhire, so how important is that to get the pulse of the team from the manager?
Bremer: Well, it's very, very important in this day of satellite television where anybody in the world can be watching your broadcast on any given night. Ninety-nine percent of the audience you'll have that night are very biased. They're Twins fans, or they're interested in the Twins so they want to know what's going on with the ballclub. They want to know who's healthy, who's not, why this was done, why that wasn't done. So there's no better person to talk to than the manager. That's why if you're in the job that I have, you really have to establish and maintain a good relationship with the people you need to do your job well, and certainly the manager is at the top of the list.
MLB.com: Can it be tough to balance that fact that you're employed by the Twins but you don't want to be biased when you call the games? How do you balance that?
Bremer: Well, I think the best way to go about it is that the fans aren't stupid. They know good baseball. They know bad baseball. You're not going to fool them by covering up or painting a rosy picture of something that isn't very rosy. The last three years for the Twins, the fans know the team wasn't very good. The balance that comes, or the counterbalance I guess, is that you're still in the business of trying to attract an audience. So if you give the fans the benefit of the doubt that they know that the double-play needs to be turned, then you don't need to harp on it. They can see that. And then you move on, and you try to give them a reason to keep watching.
MLB.com: Obviously, the last three years have been tough for the Twins. Do you believe the future will be brighter for the team?
Bremer: I'm very bullish on the future of the Minnesota Twins. Every organization, all 30 teams, try to convince their fan bases they have great prospects coming up and that future is going to be bright. So there's nothing unique about the Twins lauding Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano and some others. But when you have other organizations and people in baseball who are objective and have seen prospects come up, say, 'This kid is really special, and that kid is going to be an impact player, and that guy is going to be a No. 1 starter sometime,' that's when you realize the corner is being turned here. The immediate future looks very bright for the Twins.