THANK YOU.


This is a bittersweet time. I am elated to be joining the Pirates' broadcast team but saddened that I'll no longer be a part of the Brewers' organization.

We have loved living in Wisconsin, touring small towns and parks from Weston to Two Rivers, from Salem and Belgium to Honey Creek. We've enjoyed every minute being a part of Milwaukee's East Side. We'll miss the friends we've made around our workplaces and their smiling faces. In a short time, they went from folks you'd simply wave to, to knowing them and their families. We'll miss the tailgating through good times and bad weather -- or vice-versa -- the dairy and the beer. Wisconsin does it right! It was home to us as we began our married life, and we are so appreciative of the warmth you've shown us through the years.

Working with Bob Uecker is unquestionably the greatest privilege I've had as a broadcaster. Our relationship has developed into one of the truest friendships I've ever known. I hope you've felt that fun as you've listened. I will miss this, a lot.

Since 18 years ago when I was a mop-haired intern, Tyler Barnes has believed in me, and enough so to bring me on as a full-time play-by-play man in the big leagues for the first time in my career. For that, and for this opportunity to be coming home, I'm forever indebted and grateful.

When I say "home," it's a little convoluted. I didn't grow up in Pittsburgh, but a part of me always wished I had. My buddy and I loved tuning into KDKA to hear Mike Lange's call of the Penguins during the Lemieux-Jagr-Francis heyday. (Ronnie was my guy.)

Once we could drive, Tom and I would go to games at The Igloo on high school Spring Break. Three Rivers wasn't open for the season yet, but we'd try to sneak in. After these visits, I always felt drawn to the area.

But I wouldn't be back for many years, as I was building my career at Michigan State, in Charleston, S.C., St. Paul, Minn., Jacksonville, Fla., Great Falls, Mont., New Orleans and Billings, Mont. I owe so much to folks there, too, who believed in me and helped my career grow.

I met my wife, Bethany, a South Park graduate (and Nurse Practitioner -- she's the brains of this operation), in New Orleans, where she had moved post-graduation from Wheeling Jesuit, to work as a registered nurse at the main recovery hospital post-Katrina. Her service work is extraordinary, spanning the hills of West Virginia to the villages of San Salvador. She is one of my idols, and a big reason why Pittsburgh is -- and always will be -- home.

My family patriarchs came over from Europe to work in the mines and settled in Wheeling, and Byesville, Ohio, not too far west. Beth's grandfather worked as a deliveryman for Isaly's. Her grandmother, as a teen, baked pies for Ralph Kiner, her favorite Pirate! And Beth's dad worked in the mills before they shut down.

Beth and I were married in Scott, had our reception at Duquesne and will reside in the South Hills. Our daughter, Nancy, was just born, and will always know Black and Gold, but, most importantly to us, now, she'll always know her extended family.

Baseball can be a tough game in that regard. We're infinitely blessed to be able to marry family and careers and we're incredibly eager to be a full-time part of the Western Pa. community for decades to come.

Thank you in advance for welcoming me into your homes, cars and smartphones. I'll strive to inform, entertain and enlighten all those soggy spring nights and sultry summer days -- and, hopefully, many crisp autumn evenings.

I'm looking forward to meeting you at the ballpark, through Twitter or over the airwaves. Until then, thanks for your faith in me and for your belief in our Pirates!




ABOUT


ABOUT ME
I grew up in Roseville, Mich., near Detroit, a devout baseball fan who always knew he wanted to talk about the game for a living. I'm lucky through decades of focus and hard work, that I realized my career dream.

INTERESTS
Hanging with my wife, daughter and dog, family, friends. I like small towns, state and national parks, beer, cooking, character acting and comedy, pick-up basketball, sports cards, Words With Friends, statistics, social media, wine, presidential history, poker, public policy and cheese.
 
MISSION
In our opinion, service is one of the great joys in life. Working in major league sports has permitted me to reach more people. My wife, Bethany, has been active throughout her academic and professional nursing career in helping those less fortunate. Together, we look for initiatives in which we can help enrich the lives of others, because we are so thankful for those who have helped us be able to follow our dreams, personally and professionally.

We want to know more ways we can make a difference. Pirates Charities contributes greatly to worthwhile efforts in Western Pa., Please reach out if you have a project or event where you could use extra hands. We'll do what we can to help.

Thanks for receiving us so warmly.

Sincerely,

The Block Family