Sidetracked: The Midwest’s Own Major Leaguer Trenni Kusnierek (2 of 2)


By: Melissa S. Wollering

To read Part 1 of  this two-part series on Trenni, click here.

The velocity of a pitched baseball is about 8 miles per hour faster as it leaves the pitcher’s hand than when it reaches home plate, regardless of the initial speed of the pitch. Reaching back to the depths of your high school physics class, the obvious reason for that is the front of the pitcher’s plate is always 60 feet from the rear-most point of home plate in the majors.

Another predictable journey home is the one Trenni Kusnierek makes regardless of where she is covering baseball during the adventure that is training, regular and post-season. New Jersey is first; it’s the location of MLB Network studios. Road trips may take this MLB Network Reporter to any corner of the country where one of her 30 teams resides.  Still, rounding home means heading back to Wisconsin; a base from which Trenni literally surrounds herself with family and close friends.

“I’m very lucky to have extremely flexible and understanding managers at the Network,” says Kusnierek.  “I make my home in Milwaukee, which means when I am home, I’m HOME.  The pace is perfect.”

The pace from Spring Training to post-season is a different story, but Trenni enjoys that aspect of her job, too. It wears her down, like it would anyone. Trenni fought a terrible cold during this year’s playoffs but says the schedule is absolutely worth the occasional cough and runny nose.

“Nothing compares to actually being at the games and interacting with the players and managers you talk about on a daily basis,” says Trenni. “And yes, I do watch games when I’m not working. You are not seeing things in the middle of July—that is me, donning a Brewers hat and enjoying the atmosphere at Miller Park!”

Covering 30 teams gives Trenni a whole new perspective on the one near and dear to the fans in her home state.  After covering every team in the league this year, Trenni has a much greater appreciation for what the Brewers have accomplished.

“When you see the payroll teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Dodgers, it is pretty amazing to see teams like Milwaukee, St. Louis, Minnesota and others compete year-in and year-out. It is a true testament to the success of the scouting departments and minor league systems.”

She’s not breaking any news when she discusses the Milwaukee Brewers’ lack of pitching at both the major and minor league levels.  However, she cites fundamental challenges in arms scouting and the exponentially growing expense and risk clubs assume when shopping the free agent market as reasons why Brewers fans shouldn’t become overly critical.

“I know people get very frustrated in Milwaukee and other ‘mid-size markets’, but when you look at the big picture, it really isn’t prudent to sign an AJ Burnett or CC Sabathia,” says Kusnierek.  “Then your hands are tied at every other position.”

“On a national level, the Brewers get more respect than people in the Midwest believe.  It is no secret around the country how difficult it is to build a team, and most folks I talk with have been really impressed with how Doug Melvin has gone about building a competitive squad.  I’ve also noticed outsiders are most impressed when they visit Miller Park and realize how many games are sold out and the enthusiasm of the fans.”

Fans appreciate Trenni’s loyalty to the Brewers.  They tune into 1250 WSSP, among other sports talk radio stations in Milwaukee, where Trenni can be regularly heard over the air waves.  Fans call in and continue conversations they started when she covered the Brewers for FS Wisconsin in ’08.  They remember Trenni’s willingness to discuss every outstanding performance, every dismal outing, every injury and every roster move over the course of a season.

“I love, love, love doing sports talk radio!  It is such a great way to voice your opinion, something that isn’t my job at the Network.  I leave that to the analysts.  [Talk radio conveys] more of the ‘real you’.  On TV, there is a level of professionalism you must carry at all times.  The Network isn’t the place to make a funny Tiger Woods joke. On the radio, however, you can get away with a little more.”

Trenni is not dating Tiger Woods, A-Rod or anyone else we need to scare off for creating ridiculous drama, ripe for Internet fodder. She does, however, believe many off-the-field issues are increasingly becoming distractions in the sports business.

“Ahh…rumors! The sad thing is, lately, the talk has often been true.  I think, despite the public statements that are often made, the off-the-field issues are a distraction, especially if you are part of a team.  When guys end up in the news because of what they’re doing off the field, it becomes a hot topic at the ballpark.  Inevitably, managers and teammates are answering questions about ‘transgressions’ and suddenly the talk is no longer about the game, but the person.”

It is what’s on the inside of a person that counts; and Trenni stays focused on the real issues by making the world a better place.  Trenni still makes time for charitable efforts throughout the Milwaukee community, particularly involving children. She currently volunteers as a tutor and mentor on the city’s Southside, further strengthening her physical and emotional ties to the area.

“I always say that when you give back and volunteer you often get more in return than you give,” says Trenni.

During this giving time of year, I asked Trenni what she wanted for Christmas.  Aside from peace and health for all, I gave her the option to be completely unrealistic.  After all, Christmas is magical.

“I want someone to pull some strings and get me on ‘the Amazing Race’!  I love to travel and I’m very competitive.  What better way to combine two passions!”

And if I can’t swing that for you, Trenni?

“I’ll just take an all-expense-paid, one-year, trip around the world for two.  And no, I’m not telling who my guest will be.  But trust me; the person would never cause any internet fodder!”

Trenni Kusnierek is a former writer, herself! Click here for some of her previous articles on this site.

To read Part 1 of  this two-part series on Trenni, click here.


  1. I’m glad she addresses the fact that she is an analyst and a fan, at different times, at different moments. You can do both; easily be objective on occassion, and subjective on other occassion. Mostly because it’s impossible to really be non-partisan as a reporter, any time you report on anything you’ve shown bias. you’ve choosen to report on one topic and call attention to that topic because you feel it’s more news-worthy than other phenomena occurring at the time.

    like cornbread, ain’t nothing wrong with that.

    sports talk radio is super fun, I agree with what she said there about it

  2. Nice article! Good Job Melissa!

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