Pirates' new play-by-play man followed long road to Pittsburgh
January 31, 2016 12:00 AM
Tim Neverett, middle, left the Pirates broadcasts booth to take a position with the Boston Red Sox. Bob Walk, left, and John Wehner remain as analysts.
By Bill Brink / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Joe Block, the Pirates’ new play-by-play man, can’t get enough baseball. In 2010, when he worked as a radio studio host for the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets, Block called the general manager of the Billings Mustangs, the Cincinnati Reds’ rookie-level minor league affiliate.
Block had summers off, so he spent the season in Billings, Mont., calling some of the more than 1,400 professional games he has worked in a career that included nine seasons broadcasting in the minor leagues. His latest stop: Pittsburgh, where, the team announced Saturday, he joins the Pirates broadcasting team as a play-by-play announcer.
“The journey is just as good as the destination,” Block said. “ … I think that every step of the way, I’ve had a lot of enjoyment just doing baseball games. I really enjoy just calling baseball games.”
Block joins fellow play-by-play man Greg Brown and color analysts Bob Walk, Steve Blass and John Wehner on the crew that will work Root Sports television broadcasts and KDKA-FM 93.7 The Fan radio broadcasts. Block replaces Tim Neverett, who took a similar job with the Boston Red Sox.
Part of the reason Neverett joined the Red Sox was to move closer to home. Block, in a way, is doing the same thing. His wife, Bethany, is from South Park, and they recently had a daughter, making a move closer to family intriguing. So was the gig.
“The opportunity for me to kind of expand what I was doing with the Brewers and do nine innings and do some television as well, professionally, there was that lure,” Block said.
Block, 37, spent the past four years calling Brewers games, often alongside legendary broadcaster Bob Uecker. In 2011, Block played host to the Los Angeles Dodgers radio postgame show on KABC-AM, calling minor league games before that.
Block also has more than 10 years of experience calling college football and basketball games for regional television networks.
“Joe’s hiring is a result of an extensive search that involved more than 225 qualified applicants and a group of final candidates all of whom are major league-caliber broadcasters,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. “Joe’s play-by-play ability, diverse experience, strong work ethic and genuine desire to become a permanent part of the Pirates family and Pittsburgh community, made him our top choice.”
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @BrinkPG.
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