Telly Hughes Interview

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Telly Hughes Interview
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

First off, congratulations on joining the Brewers broadcast, Telly. We’re happy to have you here.

Thank you so much. It’s good to be here and I’m definitely looking for another exciting season. I just hope I didn’t come a year late because you guys had such a magical season last year and hopefully I’ll be a part of one this season.

Yeah, hopefully. And can you talk a little bit about how you got the position? Was it something that you were interested in right away when you saw it open up?

Absolutely. It was my choice. I was at Fox Sports-North, and Fox Sports-Wisconsin we’re obviously pretty much joined at the hip and once Wisconsin lost Trenni Kusnierek, who I thought did a great job for the Brewers last season, I thought it would be a good fit. And I’m definitely familiar with the NL Central. Before moving to Minneapolis a year and a half ago, I covered the St. Louis Cardinals for two years so I always kind of kept my eye on the NL Central and just have always been intrigued by it. And on top of that, last season I had an opportunity to fill in for Jeff Grayson on several occasions to host a lot of Brewers live pre-game and post-game shows. So, I just thought it would be a great opportunity to come over here and work with B.A. and Bill. They’re great guys. And fortunately my superiors felt the same way and it was a mutual kind of deal and once I made up my mind to do it, we made it happen.

And you mentioned that you have worked some Brewers Live broadcasts before and things like that. Did you get a chance to get to know some of the guys you’ll be working with this season?

As far as the players or my colleagues?

I’m talking about the other colleagues at Fox Sports-Wisconsin.

Yes. Last year, I mean he’s no longer with us, but Jeff Cirillo and I did numerous shows together. With B.A. and Bill we used to have a lot of internal meetings and they would come over to Minneapolis so I got a chance to talk with them then. Also I spent six days down in Arizona and every day we all hung out and had a chance to get to know each other and plus we got a little trial run when we televised the Brewers-Padres game back on the 31st of March. Yeah, it seems like we’re going to have a lot of fun. They’re baseball guys and I’m a baseball guy. I played baseball in college. So, I think it’s definitely going to be a fun year on the broadcast side.

It sounds like your role on the broadcast will be similar to what Trenni Kusnierek did last year—down on the field for pre-game and post-game, interviews, updates and stuff like that. Is that correct?

That is correct, but in addition I will probably do a little bit more hosting than Trenni did last season. Craig and I, we’re pretty much going to be interchangeable. There will be times when I host and he’ll do sidelines, but primarily, yes, I will be doing sideline. And also, in addition, we’ll be doing some radio after the game on Brewers Extra Innings.

OK, can you describe your style? What should Brewer fans expect from you when they’re watching games this season?

Pretty much an outgoing guy, I mean, a guy that you sit next to in a sports bar and talk sports. I mean, that’s pretty much my style. I would like to think that I bring a lot of energy. Also just someone that you can get to know. I look at myself as a fan who happens to have a really cool job. You can really expect hopefully very in-depth interviews as well as just information that you can’t get through blogs or the Internet or anything because I do realize that I can serve as a link between the fans and the players because I am around them all the time. But just energy, a guy that likes to have fun. I mean I’m pretty much a guy that once I get going the fans will definitely make their own judgments, but it’s pretty much a relaxed approach.

And you played baseball at Illinois State, right?

Correct.

What position did you play?

I pitched.

OK, how good were you? Are you going to be giving Manny Parra and Yovani some pointers?

(Laughs) I doubt it. I think the most I could do at this point is convince Ken Macha to let me throw BP at some point this season. But outside of that, I think those guys’ jobs are safe.

Alright. You’re from St. Louis originally. Is that right?

Originally from East St. Louis, Illinois. On the Illinois side of it.

OK, so we have to ask then, did you grow up as a fan of an NL Central team?

Uh, that’s a trick question (laughs), but you can’t pick where you’re raised and, yes, I did grow up as a Cardinals fan.

OK, but, you’re allegiances are now with the Brewers?

Absolutely. The Cardinals don’t pay my bills. It’ll be the Brewers. But I mean, I’ve definitely made the adjustments. I’ve been in sports television almost 10 years so I’ve covered a lot of teams, a lot of teams I grew up not liking, but, hey, you’ve got a job to do. And fortunately, this is a team, once again I was in Arizona and I got a chance to meet a lot of the guys, Mike Cameron, Billy Hall, Ryan Braun , I mean, all the guys seem to be really good guys. And once you’re around a team every day and you get to know them personally, you do, as a journalist covering a team, want to see them do well. So, I don’t think it will be hard at all to cover the Brewers and hopefully cover them well.

Yeah, that Cardinals/Brewers rivalry has really heated up over the years, especially the last half of last season. Did you notice that at all? I know you weren’t covering either of the teams last year, regularly anyway, but did you see that rivalry heating up?

Yes, I did, and I think just to sprinkle a little spice in it several Cardinals are now Brewers including the latest addition, Braden Looper, but, yeah, it really makes sense. Proximity wise it’s very feasible for both Brewers fans to go to St. Louis and for Cardinals fans to come up here to Milwaukee. Obviously the rivalry dates way back before us, you know, 1982 in that World Series. People don’t forget. I did notice it and I think it’s good for baseball. A lot of us Midwesterners, I think we all get kind of tired of everyone talking about the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry being the best rivalry and I’m not comparing the Brewers and Cardinals, but a good comparison would be the team they will host the home opener against and that’s the Brewers and Cubs. Last year, they had some great games.

Mhm, that’s another hot rivalry. Speaking of the Cubs and the Cardinals and the Brewers, how do you think the Brewers will do this year? Do you think they have a shot at the NL Central title?

You know what? I really do. And trust me, I’m not just saying that because I now work with the Brewers. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with the starting rotation. I mean, yes, every starter is not going to win 15 games. We all know that. And last year was a very unique situation having Sheets pitching well and you get a guy like CC Sabathia. This rotation really reminds me of the Minnesota Twins rotation last year. At the beginning of the year, if you were to ask anybody outside of Minnesota to name at least two starters for the Twins, they couldn’t do it. But when the season got going, it was Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and then they got Francisco Liriano. I mean, they really found a way to get good pitching from young pitchers. Yes, we all know that Suppan is going to be great, especially in the second half. Braden Looper is dealing with some injuries in spring. With Parra and the rest of them and definitely Gallardo, unfortunately the injury last year kind of slowed him down. And even Dave Bush. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see him reach double digits in wins this year. So, it’s definitely a good thing. And then you have a guy like Seth McClung who is definitely a guy who can step in for some spot duties at times. With all that being said, a lot of attention will be placed on the favorites, which will be the Cubs, and people think with Chris Carpenter healthy this year, the Cardinals will contend, but one through eight batting order wise I think the Brewers are as solid as any team in baseball. So, with that being said, they’re going to score runs and I think they have good enough pitching to be in there once September and October rolls around.

Alright, do you have anything else that you wanted to add at all?

No, I think just to let everyone in the bleachers and all Brewers fans know that I’m very excited to be here and I’m really looking forward to a great season and I think all of us will be treated to that, I mean, not just from the broadcasting side, but especially on the field. But I am excited to be here and I’m looking forward to another great season here.

Alright, well, thank you very much.

Thank you and please let me on some more.

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