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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast

"NAH... WE'LL FIND IT BUDDY."

MY BOB UECKER STORY

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This one time... I played golf with Bob Uecker.

I had the pleasure of golfing in a media event ahead of the Vince Lombardi Memorial Classic at North Hills Country Club. It was a few big timers from Journal Broadcast Group, Bob Uecker, and me in our 4-some. Talk about intimidating!

I had met Bob in passing once or twice out at the ballpark, but we'd never really conversed or spent time together. For hours on a golf course, it was interesting to watch him "out of character." As funny as we all know Bob Uecker to be, he was hardly a "cut-up" out there on the course. He was just a guy playing golf with some other guys.

He did, when prompted by another member of our group, offer up the horse sound he'd been making for home runs by then Brewer Carlos Lee, AKA "El Cabillo." That was pretty good.

The thing about it was, I was having a pretty decent day on the track. These guys, including Bob, were all better golfers. My goal was simply not to embarrass myself, and I was living up to it... right until the last hole. 

I'm on the 18th tee, with a chance to shoot in the high 80's... a really nice score for me. I just have to finish out with a decent hole, and I'm home. 

Brutal hook right off the tee!  Dang. (I'm pretty sure that's what I said) I'm thinking, okay fine. Take my penalty, hope for a 5 or 6 and still end up breaking 90.

VINCE: "That's lost. I'll just hit three of the tee."

UECKER: "Nah, don't do that. We'll find it, buddy."

VINCE: "I don't know, Bob. I think that's lost."

UECKER: "Nah, we'll find it down there."

Okay... what am I going to tell Ueck no? So off we went. Here I am... looking around in the bushes for a golf ball, and next to me is Bob Uecker, also looking for my golf ball.

Now I'm having an out of body experience. I'm looking down on this scenario playing out, and wondering how it can't be some kind of deranged dream. I half expected the "dream" to continue with my making a speech in the clubhouse in my underwear, being late for work, and also showing up for a test at school realizing I hadn't studied.

I'm losing faith my ball will be found, but Bob is convinced he can locate it. He's pushing around in the bushes and tall grass, even up against a fence. "Went in right around here, buddy."

Of course, he found it. "Nike?" It's about a half inch from the fence and "Out of Bounds." So I say, "Thanks Bob. I'll just take the penalty then."

He wasn't having it. "Nah... just give yourself a little room there. Move it on outta there."

Now what am I supposed to do? Mr. Uecker is basically telling me to "improve my lie" a little. I should have just done it and said to heck with it. It wasn't like I was trying to qualify for the pro tour.

But no, I decide to try to play it, then. Takes me two or three shots just to get out from next to the fence and back into the fairway. I finish with a 9 on the hole, and my score for the day is blown!

So, that's my Bob Uecker story. I sure hope some day I have another, but if I don't I'll always treasure that round of golf, even if I shot a 92 instead of an 89.

Good luck with the surgery, Mr. Uecker! Can't wait to hear you back on the air again soon.

If you'd like to send your thoughts to Bob Uecker, please do so. The email is bobuecker@todaystmj4.com

We're making sure he gets all of your well wishes.

emails: vvitrano@todaystmj4.com

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