Lopsided Cincinnati Loss Cannot Detract From the Pleasure of Listening to Marty Brennaman
Everyone Was Predicting a Pitching Duel, But Of Course Marty Brennaman Knew Better
Spring Will Return, But Not With One Of Its Best Associates
Never again, I had just rea!ized, would I be eating my favorite ice cream while listening to Marty Brennaman on a beautiful weekday in the summer. The store was putting its soft serve machine away, now that the resumption of school had virtually marked the end of summer.
While that soft serve sensation will reappear next spring, I must from now on partake of its delight without the component that made this afternoon so special. I will not be listening to the legendary Reds announcer come next spring, for Marty is retiring after this season.
The broadcast proved to be a reminder of everything great about listening to Brennamann, which I have been doing for forty years. Because the current crop of baseball broadcasters have become corporate and therefore mostly indistinguishable, we fans are not going to be fortunate enough to ever hear the likes of Marty again.
An example of his refreshing skepticism occurred prior to the first pitch even being delivered, when he and booth partner Danny Graves were discussing the starting pitchers. Most current announcers would be praising the matchup between All-Star pitchers Trevor Bauer of Cincinnati and Stephen Strasburg of Washington, expecting a low-scoring, quick game on getaway day.
Not Marty, whose curmudgeonly manner has been well-earned through five decades of experience.
"These pitching matchups seldom live up to the hype," he warned. Few of today's announcers would be bold enough to utter such a statement, fearing it might upset the fragile ego of the star pitcher.
Guess what. After nearly four hours, nine innings were finally completed and the score was 17-7, anything but a pitchers duel. Bauer gave up nine runs before being lifted in the fifth, and by the next inning Strasburg himself was given the hook.
While Bauer was suffering through the fifth, Marty did something else few of today's announcers would dare. He criticized the decision to leave him in, since Bauer had allowed five straight batters to reach.
Brennaman admitted to bring stunned that there was not at least someone warming up in the bullpen, give the game was still not quite out of reach at 4-1. Seven runs and two homers later, Bauer was finally pulled from the game in what Marty characteristically described as "the obligatory double switch."
It was not all seriousness,though, which has been typical of the Hall of Fame broadcaster. Marty had his usual fun with the regular visit from a Reds reporter in the second inning, something he has been doing for well over a decade.
On this occasion it was USA Today reporter Bobby Nightengale, who was teased by Marty about favorite tourist attractions in Washington DC. Nightingale admitted to going to only one site which charged admission, prompting Marty to joke about the reporter's frugality.
Obviously there were numerous other laughs elicited by Brenneman, given that the game lasted four hours. When you are listening to Marty, you often wish the game would last even longer.
Speaking of long, it will certainly be a much longer off season than the ones in the past. Sure, spring will arrive and my taste buds will find pleasing that soft serve ice cream. But my ear buds will be missing the long familiar voice of Marty Brennaman.