Voice of Badgers debuts on Brewers TV

Matt Lepay has called seven Rose Bowls and two Final Fours as the statewide radio voice of the Wisconsin Badgers for the last 26 years, his latest basketball national semifinal not two weeks ago. Yet he was a nervous rookie before his first Major League Baseball broadcast on Thursday.

“If I told you anything else, I would be lying,” Lepay said as the Brewers prepared for batting practice Thursday. “I am a nervous dude.’”

Lepay is the newest member of the FS Wisconsin television team, and is teaming with veteran color analyst Bill Schroeder during the Brewers-Pirates series this week while regular play-by-play man Brian Anderson works the NBA playoffs for TBS.

Lepay has very little experience calling baseball, and was clear with Brewers officials about that as they conducted their search. As a budding broadcaster in southwest Ohio, he called some American Legion games for a local station, and later broadcast a Class A Madison Muskies game as a favor to that team’s GM.

“I told them, ‘I did it, but you’ll have to take my word for it, because I have no idea where the cassette tape is,’” Lepay said.

The Brewers and FS Wisconsin announced the addition of Lepay in January, and the plan called for some practice broadcasts during Spring Training following the Badgers basketball season. But Frank Kaminsky & Co. had other plans, beating American, Oregon, Baylor and Arizona to earn a date in the Final Four against Kentucky.

Each time, Lepay had to push back his trip to Maryvale Baseball Park. In the end, the Badgers’ run extended into the Brewers’ regular season. So how did Lepay brush up on baseball?

“It’s hard to explain, but guys who do what I do — at least I think this is the case — can sit at home, watch the game, and in my mind, I’ll call it,” he said. “The At-Bat app became my very good friend. Even toward the end of the [Badgers’] regular season, I could be in a hotel in Lincoln, Neb. or you name it after my Badger work was done, and I’d be watching Brewers [Spring Training] games on my phone or my iPad. That was how I did it.”

It will be a significant adjustment from the pace of football and basketball.

“The pace will be different, the fact it is TV will be different, but I’m trying not to make it more than it is,” Lepay said. “Baseball is my first love, but it’s one thing for it to be your first love, and another to be the guy calling the game.”

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