The Enquirer has three articles today on the Reds radio opening:
In the first of two articles by John Erardi:
Stewart’s replacement will probably be hired soon after the Reds season ends. Redsfest in early December at the newly expanded Duke Energy Center downtown would be a logical time and place to unveil the new No. 2, but the club hasn’t set a deadline.
But if it’s like so much else that new Reds owner Bob Castellini has done, the announcement figures to have considerable splash, and will reverberate among fans. Such is the power of baseball on the radio in Cincinnati that Castellini’s decision could very well be the biggest off-season move the club makes.
Let’s hope it isn’t the biggest off season move the club makes…
And Marty has (for the first time that I know of) made public his future plans:
Complicating the Reds’ decision on who should replace Stewart is the fact that Brennaman, the Hall of Fame announcer, said he wants to stop working full time after four more seasons. He has one more year on his contract, then wants to sign one more three-year deal.
Then, if the Reds give him the same opportunity the Dodgers gave the legendary Vin Scully – do home games, and a selected road trip or two – “I’d work forever,” Brennaman said.
Otherwise, Brennaman says, he’ll retire. He’ll be 68 in four years.
“If they (the Reds) said, ‘No, we need you more than (half a season),’ I’d say ‘Fine,’ and be out the door,” Brennaman said. “I believe there’s life after baseball. There are things I’d like to do and see while I’m still able to do them. And I say that even though I love my job and still find it to be a challenge.”
Brennaman’s plan to either retire or work part time after the 2010 season means the Reds will probably have yet another voice in the radio booth starting in 2011. The person will presumably have to mesh with Stewart’s replacement.
The Reds say they haven’t decided which direction they want to go yet for a replacement.
John Allen, the Reds’ chief operating officer, said the team hasn’t decided whether it wants a play-by-play announcer – who could ultimately serve as Brennaman’s successor – or a former player to be a game analyst.
There are advantages to bringing a former player into the booth now. Most listeners’ antennae go up when a former player is talking. Think about the folksy style of Joe Nuxhall, whom Stewart replaced.
“It’s just the way it is, and I think the Reds would do well to hire a former player,” said Roger Ruhl, who was involved with the search and hire of Brennaman 33 years ago, when the Reds needed to replace the popular Al Michaels and pair the new guy with Nuxie. “A lot of credibility comes with the (right) former player.”
“They (the Reds brass) could do it (hire a former player to be the analyst), but they’d have to be sure they got the right person,” Brennaman said. “It’d have to be somebody who would not be intimidated, has a good head on his shoulders, and would work his butt off.”
In his second article, Erardi covers some possibilities:
The Reds are believed to be leaning toward hiring a former player to be the No. 2. Several former Reds and a current coach fit Brennaman’s description of people who may have the right stuff: Tom Browning, Joe Oliver, Billy Hatcher and Todd Benzinger, all of whom were members of the 1990 World Champion Reds.
Hatcher is funny, a catalyst , a baseball lifer who has just the right motor for the game and most likely, the booth. Benzinger may be the most insightful, articulate Red since Joe Morgan. Oliver brings the catcher’s perspective, a guy who kept things loose in the clubhouse and always had his finger on the team’s pulse.
And Browning? Browning could easily be painted as “the new Nuxhall,” because Browning lives in Greater Cincinnati and has gotten to be almost as beloved as the Ol’ Left-hander, Joe Nuxhall.
It’s tough to voice an opinion on any of the players mentioned. The only one I’ve heard on the radio is Browning, who has done some Dayton Dragons games. But the thing I find most curious is the name that’s missing, that of tv broadcaster, Cincinnati resident, and former Red, Chris Welsh.
If the Reds are looking for a future replacement for Marty though, his son Thom’s name is the first mentioned. But John Fay writes:
Brennaman said Saturday that he has had no contact with the club. The Reds would have to get permission from the Diamondbacks to contact Brennaman.
Brennaman has been with the D-Backs since the club’s beginning.
“They’ve been very good to me for 11 years,” he said.
Fay also says that Thom is in the 2nd year of a 5 year contract that he says he fully intends to fulfill.
My hope is that the Reds bring in a player that can add some energy to the booth, someone that could possibly counteract some of Marty’s negativity (which I don’t think anyone would deny goes overboard at times), but that would also bring some freshness and some statistic based insight to the booth.