Q and A with author (and Middleton Times-Tribune sports editor) Rob Reischel

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Q: What made Wayne Larrivee a choice for one of your books? Why do you think he resonates with the Packers fan base?

 

A: Triumph Books, the publisher of the majority of my books, has a nationwide series going right now in which many national play-by-play men are telling their stories. Having Wayne give his thoughts from the booth after nearly 20 years of calling Packers games was a natural fit.

Wayne is the ultimate pros-pro. He does his homework. He’s thorough. He’s smooth. He misses next to nothing. I think Packers fans really appreciate how lucky they are to have him.

 

Q: What sort of access does Wayne have that others may not? Is he treated like a journalist around the team?

 

A: Wayne flies on the team plane and stays in the team hotel. He certainly sees and hears things most others don’t.

Having said that, I know he keeps his distance and respects the privacy of these guys. The world we live in today isn’t like 50-100 years ago, where journalists and athletes drank together. There’s certainly more clear-cut separation between athlete and media.

I know Wayne gets a little more time each week with people like Aaron Rodgers than some other media members might. I’m sure that’s a huge help in doing his job better each week.

At the end of the day, I would say Wayne wholeheartedly understands the boundaries between media and athlete — and is as professional as it gets.

 

Q: Who are some of the other players interviewed in the book, and which interviews did you find particularly meaty?

 

A: The majority of the book are Wayne’s thoughts, observations and opinions on Packers football since 1999 — the year he started calling games on WTMJ. But I also talked to several people for the book, as well.

Bob Harlan. LeRoy Butler. Marco Rivera. Jordy Nelson. Charles Woodson. Clay Matthews. The list goes on and on.

But my favorites were former assistant coaches like Jeff Jagodzinski and Johnny Roland, who had really bad experiences with Mike Sherman. Many players and coaches from that era didn’t care for Sherman and weren’t shy expressing their thoughts.

 

Q: How does the tone of this book compare to the tone of the Leroy Butler book? On an even broader level, what does this book offer that you haven’t been able to offer in other books you’ve written on Packers topics?

 

A: The biggest difference is this book contains stories largely through one man’s eyes. We talk to other people and others have voices, but this book is largely the views of Wayne.

With Packers Pride — the book I did with LeRoy Butler — we did several chapters on former players talking about their time in Green Bay and what made it so special.

I think the biggest thing this book offers are stories and views from someone extremely close to the team. Many are positive. Some are quite negative.

Like many others, Wayne had a really tough time working with Mike Sherman, and doesn’t hold much back when talking about his strained relationship with Sherman.

 

Q: From a “behind the curtain” perspective – how does the success of the team impact book sales?

 

A: That’s a great question. Perhaps we’ll find out this year.

Most of my books have come during this period when Green Bay has been at, or near, the top of the football world. That doesn’t appear it will be the case in 2016.

My best guess is sales will be affected slightly. But this is a fan base filled with diehards, and in thick or thin, they’ve traditionally bought most green and gold items.

 

Q: What other Packers-related projects might you investigate?

 

A: Right now, I don’t have anything in the hopper. This was my 8th book, which I’ve done while trying to stay gainfully employed.

We’ll see what happens with this season — and the years ahead. But for now, I’m using my free time to coach my 5th graders basketball team!!

 

(Editor’s Note) To get a signed copy of the book, send an email to robreischel@gmail.com.

 

 

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