No alternative to the Brennamen today. No opposing team radio. No TV. No internet video.

In the bottom of the second, Joey Votto struck out. Marty Brennaman dutifully cranks up his rising-pitch alarm voice about how many times Votto has struck out this spring. There’s pretty solid evidence that spring training performance isn’t terribly correlated to regular season performance. But fair enough.

Then, under his breath, Brennaman said in a sarcastic manner: And he’d also tell you that striking out is better than an RBI.

It took a minute to find words to describe that twisted, insulting nonsense. It’s also hard to comprehend how that idea could rattle through his creaky mind, let alone that he wouldn’t have enough of a filter not to say it aloud. But it slipped into the broadcast.

Reds fans apparently have to put up with it, though, as along as Brennaman wants to go on. How can a professional organization tolerate one of their employees, the voice of their organization, making such derogatory statements about their best player? How can that possibly be good for their business?

Look, I know that Marty Brennaman is popular with many of you. Rightfully so. I grew up in Cincinnati during the 70s and like others, loved the Marty and Joe broadcasts. But I sure don’t remember him ever criticizing Reds players like this, especially in such an ill-informed manner. It’s heartbreaking to hear what he has become. I wish he’d stick to just calling the game and telling stories. He’s still plenty good at that.

I exercised my freedom of choice by turning the broadcast off. I’ll read about the game later. And I suspect that being critical of Marty Brennaman may make a few of you less likely to read what I have to say. So be it. Free country.

But Marty Brennaman has crossed so far over the line of good judgment that he’s lost sight of his job, which is to describe the play-by-play action of Cincinnati Reds baseball games. Not to systematically and unfairly attack the team’s franchise player.

129 Responses

  1. vanwilder8

    it’s bad enough that he’s hypercritical of the best player the Reds have had in a generation. That he feels the need to make things up that Votto would NOT say is just ridiculous.

  2. Michael Smith

    I have to ignore marty when he is on the radio. Its a darn shame because I really like the cowboy and think he does a great job.

  3. charlottencredsfan

    My interpretation was his comment was more aimed at the “stat geeks” than Votto. Could be dead wrong but that is how it struck me.

    • vanwilder8

      Except NOBODY thinks a strikeout is better than an RBI.

      • jdx19

        Yeah, exactly this. There is no way you can dress up Marty’s comment. He’s ignorant, old, and hates Votto as a ballplayer. With Votto signed for 10 years, or however long, I don’t see why Marty just doesn’t walk. How can he put up with seeing Votto’s ineptitude day-in and day-out?

      • Daytonian

        I am not a Marty fan as he has become quite overbearing (and I am of his generation). But, Redlegnation people, please have some tolerance for sarcasm. Marty was NOT literally claiming that a Votto strike out is good.

    • Steve Mancuso

      It’s not a whole lot better to tee-off on a segment of your fan base. At least if I were the owner, I wouldn’t want that.

      • charlottencredsfan

        He is not alone Many of the older broadcasters do the same just maybe not to the degree. Doesn’t make it right but it’s Old School thinking. Just wish Marty could be more respectful, he still is one heck of a broadcaster.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Steve, have you considered that BC might agree with his POV? Reds management doesn’t seem to have Vottos’ back and hat bothers me more than Marty’s ignorant commentary. Not that both don’t.

    • docmike

      I have never, ever heard any baseball fan, stat geek or otherwise, say a strikeout is better than an RBI. That’s just a ridiculous statement to make.

      • charlottencredsfan

        In all fairness, I think he was being a tad sarcastic.

      • jdx19

        Well yeah. I thought it was pretty obvious, but I guess some folks don’t see it! It was another uncalled for dig at Votto for not expanding his strike zone to get RBIs like Marty thinks he should. The OBP vs RBI debate again, and Marty is going to just keep bringing it up, even when it isn’t relevant to what is happening in the game.

  4. 666wolverine

    Votto is the best player the reds have period!!! The thing that is making others loathe him out of pure jealousy is his contract! Votto is in a now win situation! The man could hit .400 and people will still be on his back!!!! So sad really!!!! The man is always class which is more than I can say for Marty B.

    • Chris Miller

      I don’t think people are jealous. I think many are upset that he changed his philosophy of hitting to some degree, and said out loud that he won’t give himself up for the team. I absolutely have a problem with that. There are times that striving for a walk, are not better than hitting a ball to the right side and scoring a runner. Secondly, sure he’s the best player the Reds have period, but value for dollar; I’m not so sure.

      • jdx19

        Taken out of context, you may be right. Scoring a runner by giving up an out in the early to middle innings is generally bad. Get on base and score more than one. That is good.

        I specifically remmeber him saying he’d do whatever to get a run in if it were the winning-tying run near the end of the game. So, as usual, nothing to see here…

  5. Thegaffer

    Grew up on Marty and Joe, I used to turn on 700 WLW instrad of the TV broadcast. But first he got in the HOF and then they hired Thom. Now I cannot listen to ANY reds broadcast. I am not sure 20 good years have been worth the last 10. Castellini needs to make a move.

    • Tom Diesman

      Kelch is pretty much the only current Reds broadcaster I enjoy listening to, be it on the radio or TV broadcast.

      • Grand Salami

        I think it’s Kelch’s show after Marty hangs it up with is fine by me. He is subtly funny and leaves the color to his color guy (at which the Cowboy has become consistenly better since his debut a couple years ago).

        Marty (with Thom) sounded a little creaky a few days ago. He called the score 6-2 all inning long before correcting himself on the final out. That along with a few other mis-calls had me thinking he’s lost a step.

        Of course listening to the debut of Brennamen and Jones today allayed many of those concerns. Those guys are regular Crosby and Hope or Laurel and Hardy routine.

      • Matt WI

        I hope you’re right about Kelch… so much preferable to Marty at this point. So nice to hear a game without the editorial comments.

      • Bill Lack

        Really Tom? I think Kelch is dull as dirt. Different strokes… I know I’m prejudice, but I’m still a Chris Welsh fan. I can handle Thom in small doses and even can handle Brantley, as long as it’s not on the radio trying to do play by play (gawd awful).

  6. jdx19

    I sort of feel sorry for Marty at this point. How pathetic must his life be to feel the need to do such things and not just do his job?

    He can’t retire soon enough. Thank the Lord for away team broadcasts on MLB.tv.

    • Eric Sullvan

      You’d rather listen to the away team rather than marty? Can’t people disagree with you?

      • charlottencredsfan

        Good point, there are Milquetoast broadcasters nearly everywhere. MB along with a few others are a dyeing breed. I’m not a real sensitive person so when he says something I find annoying, I just shrug my shoulders. Marty is not boring and that to me the most important thing he is. Same with Bob Ueker, Harry Caery, Skip Casey, Milo Hamilton, etc. I know baseball and don’t need it spoon-feed in a dull manner..

      • jdx19

        I’d rather not listen to my team’s announcer berate its players. It isn’t just Votto. Marty is not enjoyable to listen to. I have been listening/watching “away” broadcasts for the last 3 years. You learn more about the other teams that way, and usually about baseball.

        And I don’t understand how you can’t see the difference between someone “disagreeing” with you and having someone use his position to spout unfair, uninformed words about the team’s players.

        And, also, when someone disagrees with fact, yes, I tend to take offense. I like facts. The sky is green, you know.

      • charlottencredsfan

        JDX19, I have four interests in my life: my wife, my dog, my work and baseball. I watch so much baseball it borders on insanity. I watch/listen to games until I fall asleep each night, I have MLB.TV, on satellite radio in my cars, my iPhone, regional baseball on satellite TV and until this year MLB Extra Innings. I watch/listen to baseball year round, at work, in the car, on vacation. Everyone in my life thinks I’m nuts over this obsession but I’m the same with work. It’s just me, I quit worrying about it ~5 years ago.

        I don’t think twice about anyone spouting uniformed opinions because I think most people do. I don’t listen/watch broadcasts to be enlightened about the game. Entertainment is much more important to me. If I learn something, it’s a bonus. You’re like everybody, including me, you like your facts. Marty is off base, “in my opinion”, on advanced statistics. So you and I agree here. I don’t lose sleep over it. Our viewpoints come from different places though, I’m focused almost exclusively on how things work not the outcome so much. I care if my team wins, or loses, but the process is my fascination.

        Joey can takes care of himself and does so, quite well. Honestly, I don’t care if Marty loves or hates Joey Votto. Can he call a game competently while providing some entertainment? That’s it. Heck, I really like Ken “Hawk” Harrelson. A couple of fellows I do actually learn things from: Steve Stone & Keith Hernandez.

      • jdx19

        Charlotte. We’re on the same page most of the time. I appreciate your response.

      • Norwood Nate

        It’s not that he just goes after Votto, which is deplorable in itself, but he often goes after Bruce too. His time has past, he bitter,cantankerous, and out of touch. He should move on and stop embarrassing himself.

    • sezwhom

      I actually like it when Thom takes a few weeks off during the season. Then we get Jim Kelch, Jim Day or my personal “great” favorite: George Grande! Get ‘um on, get ‘um over, get ‘um in…right Chris. It’s the Reds vs. The Buccos today.

  7. bhrubin1

    Ok, so fun fact. I recently watched Game One of the 1976 World Series on youtube because a) that’s what kind of baseball nerd I’ve become and b) I’m too young to have seen it when it happened. Mostly it was background noise while I was doing dishes. But I was immediately jolted out of my passive-half-listening state, when I heard none other than Marty Brennamen extolling the virtues of Joe Morgan’s (the team’s #3 hitter’s) ability and willingness to take walks, and how much additional value that added to the team. I swear this is real. You can find it on youtube. It’s somewhere in the first 3 innings,. I want to say it’s actually Morgan’s first at-bat. I had to rewind to make sure I heard it correctly, and I have to say I didn’t quite know what to make of it.

    • Victor Vollhardt

      I too have been re-watching both the 75 and 76 series games on YouTube. Why? I have just finished a book “Game Six” by Frost and some little “bits” in the book did not fit with my memory bank.The book is right —my memory on those minor points was not correct, but I heard a version of what BHRUBIN1 heard the same way. Also in one of the first chapters the writer goes into great detail of why Sparky would sometimes have Morgan bat second (with Griffey moving to 7th) and under other conditions Morgan would bat third after Rose and Griffey. By the way Griffey was always being “pushed” by Anderson and Kluszewski to take more walks (67 in 1975 with an OBP of almost 400)–Also in 75 Rose was on base 40% of the time with -0- stolen bases. So then OBP was very important to this Astroturf team and Mr. Brennaman knew it and said so.—- One more thing (and I have been watching baseball (Reds) for over 60 years)–While I believe the above points are very important let me quote one sentence from the book…..Sparky lived and died with the percentages,but he also trusted his gut and right now it was burning a hole through him……—For game six Sparky moved Morgan back to the third spot (against the percentages) Mangers and the way lineups are put together based on the opponent and playing conditions out weigh OBP.

    • Chris Miller

      Quite a difference. In 1976, Morgan also drove in 100+ runs, and his walks often lead to two bases with his 60 stolen bases that year. Also, he was really a table setter, and not relied upon as the highest paid player on the team to do the most. The reality is, when the best player on the team comes out and says he won’t give himself up to score a run or move a player over, guys have a problem with that. I know I do. The best hitters out there do both. They drive in runs and they get on base. Votto seems to do only one these days, while striking out at an enormous rate. Consider Morgan only K’d 41 times in 1976.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You know that walks move runners over, without giving up an out. You know that Votto hit more doubles than Morgan and more home runs. You know that Morgan had fewer than 100 RBI in 1974, 1975 and 1977, surrounding the one year you mentioned. You know that Morgan walked as much as Votto, even batting third.

        You know that Votto said he would go for the RBI if it were late in the game and the team needed one run. Otherwise, he plays for more runs by not giving up his out.

        It’s just amazing that people can’t seem to understand that getting on base CONTRIBUTES to scoring runs, in every circumstance. It’s like the only role for the batter that matters is to drive in runs, completely ignoring the other half of run creation.

      • Chris Miller

        Steve, no one is bashing Votto for taking walks. No one bashed Bonds for taking walks either. Do you not see the difference in Votto pre 2012 injury? No one ever mentioned his walks then. It’s mentioned now because Votto has verbally talked about it now because Votto hangs his hat on OBP being his big thing. As for what Votto said, I guess I’m reading different things than you are, and his results suggest, certainly in 2013, that he’s not driving in crap for RBI late in a game, with his 10 RBI and .231 batting average late in close games. As for Morgan, I’m not going argue with you on the merits of the two. Morgan won the MVP in 1975. He did plenty more than drive in just under 100 runs. And as I stated before. Morgan wasn’t relied upon as the best hitter on the club, and was often a table setter.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Votto talks about a lot of hitting stats other than OBP. You can even find that in the recent Nightengale piece. He talked about slugging.

        The sample size in your 2013 stats is too tiny to draw any conclusions. In 42 at bats with a runner on third and less than two outs, he walked seven times and hit six sac flies. Here are stats with a larger smaple size that put Votto’s greatness in perspective. Through the 2013 season, he had faced 210 situations with a classic sac fly situation: runner on third, less than two outs. In those 210 plate appearances, Votto was intentionally walked 25 times. That leaves 185 AB. He hit 20 sac flies and walked 27 times. That doesn’t sound like a guy who isn’t trying to drive in runs. Oh, and he HIT .365 in those situations. HIT, as in not give up your out, he hit .365 and slugged .554. He is all-world in sac fly situations in his career.

        Votto did change his approach after 2010. But it wasn’t because of his injury. He’d already changed it in 2012 before the injury, while he was having the best season of his career, by far. So don’t conflate those two factors. His decision to hit fewer home runs was not related to his knee injury.

  8. jdx19

    I guess Marty liked Morgan, in general, whereas Marty dislikes Votto, in general.

    • vegastypo

      Morgan never had a year like Votto had in 2010. Marty wants Joey to do everything possible to be like 2010 Joey, which even Joey says is not going to happen.

      • chjman

        Actually Morgan had one of the best years ever in 76. 27HR, 111RBI, 113R, 60SB,
        186OPS+

      • Chris Miller

        Wrong. Morgan’s 1976 season was virtually identical, with way less K’s, and way more stolen bases, that don’t show up in the OPS numbers. Not to mention, Morgan won back to back MVP’s, at a much more demanding position. Morgan was also a team player. He would never have said in an interview that he’s not willing to give himself up to move a runner over, or even move one in from 3rd base.

      • Steve Mancuso

        It’s hardly an indictment if Joey Votto doesn’t have a year as good as Joe Morgan’s 1976. That’s quite a bar to reach to be considered worthy of respect. Just be as good as possibly the greatest Reds offensive season of all time. Otherwise, you stink.

      • Chris Miller

        Agree. I was responding to the comment that suggested that Morgan didn’t measure up to Votto’s 2010 season.

      • beelicker

        Votto also didn’t have Bench or Foster coming up behind him to make pitchers come into his strikezone, which was also FAR SMALLER than Votto’s strikezone. Morgan’s swing was also FAR MORE COMPACT than Votto’s, based on just the pure size differential in their personal physical dimensions, so Morgan’s ‘pure hitting’ prowess may have been less than Votto’s, who has a much bigger hitting zone & FAR LESS complementary ‘support’ from his mates

        Pitchers had to have had far more difficulty getting particularly wicked breaking pitches from the stretch into Morgan’s personal space at the plate … Votto surely gets to see far less ‘cripple’ pitching than Morgan, based purely on extenuating factors quite beyond Votto’s control. Every team that faces the Reds obviously comes into situations vowing to not let JV beat them as their JOB 1 focus

        & if Votto had Rose/Griffey type OBP types geting on base ahead of him with Foster/Bench/Perez etc batting behind him just IMAGINE what kind of otherworldly stats he would be generating now!

        What’s also NOT being suitably mentioned in the current OBP debate is the value of a BB putting the P into the stretch, limiting his pitch repertoire to the next hitter & compromising the infield defense & defensive shift capability vs the next batter. These things also ripple effect to the ‘assembly line’ run-producing ability of the next batter(s) to generate better stats & more runs too!

  9. I-71_Exile

    I’m no fan of cranky Marty, this one just sounds likes a snarky cheap shot that went awry. JV can handle it. I suspect that if someone were to bring it to Joey’s attention, his response would be: “Yeah. Marty. He can to Heck. He and the horse he rode in on—the one I call Nibbles.”

  10. Eric Sullvan

    Marty also pointed out that Votto has 12 strikeouts in 27 at bats. Is that supposed to be good performance? Marty doesn’t like Votto. I don’t like Votto either. People have a right not to like the player.

    • jdx19

      You don’t like Votto personally? Or you think Votto is a bad player?

      Spring training stats are worthless. They mean nothing.

      And yes, Votto is having a good spring. He is making outs less often than any other guy who is going to be on the field on opening day.

      • Thegaffer

        Who could not like Votto.

        He is the reds best player, is not a loudmouth jerk and he did not leave for the Yankees or Dodgers like most stars do. Even when he has been hurt, he is still the best hitter we have. What in gods name does he have to do to please people here?

      • Chris Miller

        He didn’t leave because the Reds offered him a ridiculously BAD contract. With all due respect, 70 some odd RBI out of your best player and then selfish comments doesn’t endear him with a lot of fans. I find it ironic when B Phillips says something honest, he’s trashed for it, but when Votto says something selfishly honest, he seems to get a pass.

      • Steve Mancuso

        It isn’t selfish if it’s right that walking creates more runs. Then it’s the opposite of selfish. If, in fact, giving up one’s out in an attempt to drive in a run doesn’t produce the most runs, that’s selfish. You can’t judge what is selfish independent of the facts on the ground. Please explain why it is more selfish to walk than to drive in a run?

      • Chris Miller

        Steve, if he were guaranteed a walk, I’d agree with you. The fact is, he’s not guaranteed a walk; often he K’s, and at a high rate. The fact is, he DID say he doesn’t focus on the situation on an interview for The Sporting News. “I try not to let the situation dictate what I do,” Votto told Sporting News. “I’m not trying to do something in particular each at-bat, I’m just trying to get the most out of that at-bat, do something that helps the team in the long run.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Cuts the other way too. Swinging for the RBI doesn’t guarantee the RBI. Even the best hitters drive in less than 20% of the runner on base. That’s why the best approach, the vast majority of the time, is to keep the line going, get on base. Earl Weaver used to say the problem for playing for one run is then that’s all you get.

  11. Thegaffer

    On another topic, looks like Heisey may not make Dodgers after going 3 for 37 this spring.

    • jdx19

      THat is unfortunate. I was rooting for the guy!

      • charlottencredsfan

        I recommend a pilgrimage to see Rod Carew.

        Watched a few Dodger games this spring and Chris looks just like 2014. Except he is a year older and his bat is probably a bit slower. As far as hitting goes, it is all he has. Really like the guy’s makeup but I think he squandered much of the gift God gave him. Still not too late but it’s getting there.

    • jessecuster44

      Maybe the Reds can pick him up if he is DFAed

      • Chris Miller

        He’s a solid pinch hitter, and can hit closer fastballs quite well. I’d take him over Schumaker any day.

  12. jdx19

    On a side note… Prince Fielder is wearing #84 this spring. That’s pretty weird.

    • jessecuster44

      He wore it last year too. It’s the year he was born.

  13. jessecuster44

    I loved listening to Marty and Joe, and I really don’t listen to too many Reds games on the radio. However, I don’t know too many organizations that would stand for their radio man having a vendetta against the team’s best player.

    Then again, this is Walt/Bob and the current Reds management, so I am not surprised at all.

    • NCReds

      Marty has always prided himself on not being a homer he’s also very cognizant of the issues surrounding the team. He is trying to deliver the game from the fans perspective. This isn’t new does anyone remember the Davey Concepcion issue this isn’t new with Marty. Marty brings 40 years of perspective, I admire someone who wants to bring a winner home and is frustrated when it doesn’t happen.We don’t need Harry Carry calling our games. Go Reds!

      • I-71_Exile

        I suspect that there’s a middle ground between Marty the Grouch and Harry Caray somewhere.

      • jessecuster44

        If you think that Joey Votto’s approach is the reason that the Reds haven’t won more in the past four seasons… Hoo boy.

      • vegastypo

        I’m straining my memory banks to remember if Marty and Griffey Junior didn’t have a loud argument that ended with Marty telling Junior that he (Marty) would be around there a lot longer than Junior would.

      • Craig Z

        Tracy Jones once said Marty said something along the lines of “I was here before you and I’ll be here after you’re gone” when Jones was playing.

  14. Tom Reed

    Does another HOF broadcaster, Vin Scully, criticize the Dodger players? Perhaps some, over a 65 year career, but I doubt that Scully has zeroed in on a leading Dodger in that period. I grew up listening to Waite Hoyt call the Reds games on the radio and, like most fans, was fascinated by his baseball stories. The Reds in those days had a lot of so-so teams, but I don’t recall Waite overly criticizing any player in particular. I enjoy the beauty of the game and usually turnoff the commentary.

    • Chris Miller

      I recently moved from So Cal, and no, Scully never criticizes anything. That’s just his style. I love Scully and think he’s the best. Having said that, I like Marty a lot. Jerry Coleman who was the Padres voice for most of their existence, died a little over a year ago. He would ride a player every now and again though, and for me Coleman was my all time favorite.

  15. Frogger

    It does make me wonder why Castellini would put up with this circus. Maybe he does agree with Marty. They are in the same generation, and likely view things similarly. Thinking about it makes me a little depressed, and doesn’t give me hope for the future of this franchise. THowever, there is zero doubt in my mind that he needs to hire a younger GM who understands the modern game. The 20-40 year old Reds fans are much more valuable (revenue wise) than the 65+ crowd. I can also say that even as an avid Reds fan my entire life that I have my limits. This situation reminds me of when the Bengals startied to win and got popular. Then the aging diva Ocho Cinco started to blow up the team from the inside. That will happen at some point to the Reds with their own coddled diva and his press men.

    On a side note. I met Marty B in town once unrelated to the Reds in any way. Seems like a genuinely good guy. His beef with Votto has to be personal. Votto may be complete jerk, and we just don’t know it. That doesn’t make a difference in the slightest. He should be removed from his job if this continues. He is becoming the story (problem) and he should be reporting it.

    • charlottencredsfan

      IMO, when MB shaved his head for the Reds Community Fund with those unfortunate children with cancer on the field, he ensured his job for life. He’ll leave on his terms and rightfully so.

      Whether most RLN folks appreciate it or not, Marty connects with people. This trumps his views of advanced metrics or his feelings toward Joey Votto. Hard to find ex-players or broadcasters who have a bad word to say about him. I think the guy is beloved, hard as that is for many to understand.

      • Frogger

        I wanted to add something to my previous comments. I value a good and charitable person more than any player or broadcaster. Someone who helps the needy is worth more to our society than someone who is not, no matter their status. I am just not interested in seeing a team my family has followed for a hundred years turned into joke.

      • Chris Miller

        You think Marty the HOF broadcaster is somehow turning this team into a joke? Really? To the contrary, he gives this team a bit of credibility.

    • daytonnati

      FWIW, when my nephew went to UC, he had a summer job washing cars at one of the Mercedes dealerships in town. Votto would often bring his or his girlfriend’s car in for service. My nephew said he was always nice, very gracious, and very generous. He tipped him $120 on one occasion, which my nephew said was the only time he regretted that the car washers had to share their tips.

      • Daytonian

        Hey! I like your name better than mine!

  16. Frogger

    Yep, seems to be a stand up guy. He will always be a pillar of the community. To suggest he should be a Reds broadcaster for life, because of this is silly. I have served the community in various charitable capacities. I have done good work as well. I am not entitled to a position because of this.

  17. ohiojimw

    To me one of the saddest parts is that MB used to be so spot on with his facts and stats. He rarely misspoke; and when he did he usually quickly caught and corrected his own misstatement. Now he seems to not be nearly as sharp. He has always been opinionated but it seems more focused and personal now, especially where Votto is concerned.

    As I’ve said before except for trying to catch the 2nd inning beat reporter sound byte, I don’t listen much any more to either the radio or TV feed. I usually follow the action on Twitter or Gameday with the bedroom TV running and the DVR engaged so I can pick up the action when it heats up or review things after the fact; but even then the’mute’ stays engaged. From what I do hear, I like Welch and to a lesser degree Cowboy; and Kelch is tolerable. TB I don’t particularly like and listening to MB tends to remind me too much of my own aging process

  18. Evansmd

    I have to say the MB situation has become crazy. He has become a pitifully bad commentator (I listened to him from his first game here). So tired of hearing him spend so much time talking his golf game and other meaningless personal tripe while he fails to call the game or peppers us with his mean-spirited sarcasm. Hopefully the management will take notice of the increasingly annoyed fan base and take much needed action to let him play his golf game without the distraction of having to go to the stadium and endure the team he so derides.

  19. Delta-X-Ray468

    Look, I love listening to Marty call a game. And, usually, I don’t mind him being opinionated, even if I disagree. But the Votto thing is a ridiculous straw man. What Votto says is that there are something like 19 (not sure on the exact number) situations you can face at the plate, including counts and runners on base. He says that in every case, there’s a statistically best case outcome, a second best outcome, and so on. And, he’s said that there are cases where a sac fly to score a run is the best outcome and there are cases where it is not. Further, he’s talked about the pitches he gets to see in those situations and he’s evaluating his ability to do something positive with those pitches. His argument seems to be that, often, his best option is to walk.

    Marty’s (and Doc’s) straw man is that Votto is again driving in runs. I’ve not heard Votto say that and I have heard him say the opposite. It’s willful ignorance on the subject. And it’s willful to the point of being personal. Look – why does BP get pitches he can drive for RBIs? Pitchers are trying to strike him out – because they can. Same with Bruce. Votto is a different batter when healthy and no once else in the Reds lineup scare the pitchers. Pitchers are not trying to strike out Votto – they’re trying to minimize his damage. But that’s ignored.

    I don’t blame Marty completely for this – he is who he is. But its disappointing that no one in the booth challenges his thinking. It’s disappointing that Brian Price hasn’t told Marty to knock it off. John Fay and C. Trent push back on Doc’s moron-a-thon. But no one on the radio or tv pushes back on Marty.

    • Brian L Cartwright

      It sounds like Votto has analyzed the game and knows what is BEST FOR THE TEAM to score the most runs, and thus win the most games, and places that above his individual stats.

      • jessecuster44

        bang. One wonders why Bryan Price or Walt/Bob haven’t analyzed the game like this.

      • Chris Miller

        Not true. Votto has said that he WON’T give himself up to move a runner over or move a runner in to score.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You’re only hearing what you want to. Votto has said before that it depends on the situation. If it’s late in the game, and the team needs a run, he’ll hit a ground ball or sacrifice fly. But if it’s the first inning, it’s stupid to give up an out for a run, especially with zero or one outs.

        You really want the best hitter on the team to give up his out just to move a runner over, not even drive it in?

    • Norwood Nate

      Dude, you introduced the nail to the hammer on that post, well said.

  20. Kurt Frost

    I don’t listen to him anymore. He’s a joke.

  21. old-school

    Votto has struck out a lot this spring. He also only has one extra base hit all of spring training. Not one double.
    Hopefully, that means nothing April 6. I don’t understand why BP and Marty feel the need to get their “digs” in publicly. We all hope Votto is healthy and returns to his 2010 MVP form and first half of 2012 form. That player was ridiculous- a doubles machine, a power bat, a run generator and a run producer. Who hits .324 and hits 37 home runs and drives in 113 and has an obp of .424 and OPS over 1.00? A once in a generation player. Lets get to the regular season and focus on baseball and hope we see that same player.

    • Chris Miller

      In fairness, that was a once in a generation season. He’s had some other very solid seasons, but unless he gets back to his pre-injury 2012 ways, he will be known as a bust in this town on this contract. 2013 was just flat out unacceptable.

  22. Art Wayne Austin

    Yes, it has been a long, rough ride with the Marty and now Thom. Last week-end, motor-mouth Thom talked us through the headline-grabbing topic of whether the Indian manager would make it to the hall of fame while a batter, who he didn’t name made an out which he didn’t describe. Actually, the Bs would be great as announcers for the WWE Wrestling Federation. Baseball bores them, it needs jazzing up and HOF Marty doesn’t fear anything. He’ll continue with his unprofessional war against dull baseball because he apparently has a lifetime contract.

  23. Tom M.

    Give him a gold watch and thank him for his many years of fine service. Without explanation. It is just time.

  24. obc2

    The Reds best player, currently, is Cueto. Votto has the potential to once again be the Reds best player, but it’s inaccurate to label him as such today.

    I’m fine with all the Reds announcers. I find the Thom and Marty groupthink hatred comical.

    • I-71_Exile

      Why would you say it’s groupthink? I’ve mentioned my dislike for the current Marty for the few years I’ve been on this site. There are others who love him and disagree and post those opinions. People here are pretty civil about it and with each other.

  25. Hotto4Votto

    Can I nominate two hashtags to consider, maybe this will get Bob’s attention. #moveonmarty and #stoptalkingstartwalkingDatDude

  26. earmbrister

    Marty is the epitome of mediocre. He’s to Vin Scully as Oasis is to the Beatles.

    • ohiojimw

      Personally, I liked Marty’s best over the best I ever heard Scully allowing that my Scully (radio) sample size is pretty small.

      I think maybe a person just really prefers the one man format or the team format. They are both trying to put forth the concept that the listener is sitting there with them watching/ discussing the game. For me that works best when there is another person in the booth and I am the “3rd person” in the conversation.

      There seems to be little doubt that Scully has moved more gracefully into Sr. Statesman status. However I do recall reading some articles out of LA that it wasn’t all lollipops, roses, and sunshine getting VS into his current role.

      I’ve heard MB mention many times stepping back into a reduced role “some day”. Other than a few mini breaks throughout the season, that hasn’t really happened. Maybe part of the issue is that there is no leadership in Cincy to whisper in his ear that “some day” is at hand.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Heard VS more than a few times get on Puig. Granted he did it in a scolding father manner.

      • CP

        Yeah, Scully just doesn’t seem to make things personal like MB does.

    • jessecuster44

      Oasis was pretty good. Hard to compare one of the best bands of the 90s to one of the best bands of all time. Marty was great. Now, not so much.

      • earmbrister

        I made the Oasis to Beatles comparison cause for awhile, some people (maybe the band’s manager?) were calling Oasis the next Beatles. Personally, I never got much out of their music, they hardly stood the test of time, and the mediocre label is being kind to both band and broadcaster.

        Vin Scully broadcasts imparted more information about the Reds then their own announcers provided. Scully is the gold standard. I grew up in the NYC area so I can’t speak to how Marty was 30 years ago, but he’s awful now.

      • jessecuster44

        Marty and Joe were an absolute delight.

  27. vegastypo

    Marty’s convinced that every time Votto strikes out looking, it had to be a pitch that Votto could have handled. The “cost” of working the count is going to be taking some strikes.

    But the timing of that “strikeout is better than an RBI comment” was, I don’t want to say ignorant, but … ignorant.

  28. Daytonian

    I actually like The Cowboy! It took me a while to get used to him, and you still have to overlook the ridiculous contests (or guessing games). But he adds a lot of local color and can actually call a game, offering insights from the pitcher’s perspective.

    • vegastypo

      He has improved tremendously on doing play by play, which is what drove me nuts on the three innings when he was the main guy and I was stuck in radioland. It seems like he has calmed down a bit and says what he is seeing. In his earlier years, it was like he was waiting for the whole play to be over before telling the radio audience what had happened!

      • Delta-X-Ray468

        I agree. The Cowboy has continually improved and has the potential to be great. He’s alwasys been fun. Now he’s fun and a much better play-by-play guy.

        As for Marty, I think he’s scapegoating Votto. Votto was hurt last year and has lost power since the knee. But when he’s healthy he’s a once a generation batter. He’s also odd. He’s much brighter than most of the players you’ll meet. He doesn’t relate well to good old boys – of which Marty is the king. My guess is that Votto intimidates the hell out of most everyone he meets, but not because he’s trying. When’s Brandon going to get this treatment or Bruce? ( I don’t think they deserve it either) I think Joey needs a medal for not calling Marty a name that would cause the moderator to delete my comment.

      • Tom Diesman

        Brantley has gotten a bit better at the play by play, but still has a looooooong way to go in my opinion. He’s ok as a color guy and has some good insights into pitching, but in my eyes, he still has no business calling play by play.

  29. joe

    I think he has always said what he thought. Even back in the 70’s he had disagreements with even famous players. He’s no differant now there is just many more people out there that feel their opinion of his job matters. There is just many more “so called” experts of the game that can sit in the ivory tower and take shots.

  30. misconcepcion

    I went away to college in 1970, and while I followed the Reds through their rump-thumping Seventies heyday in the paper, my attentions were elsewhere. The times were self-explanatory.

    So, I missed the brief transition of Al Michaels for all intents and purposes–did I hear him announce Reds’ games? Yep. Recollections? Not much.

    But I did love Marty and Joe. Truth be told, I always will. But Marty since Joe is a sad sack. Anyone who heard it will agree with this–ANY game described by Joe & Marty was better and more fun (even in the Brad Gulden/Eddie Milner wasteland) than any random week since Joe REALLY headed home.

    I grew up hearing that puns were the lowest form of humor, and in a way, that might be true, if only because sarcasm ultimately is not a form of humor, but of bullying. But I’m here to say that sarcasm is the lowest form of humor (and this from a guy who thinks a sense of humor is one of the highest achievements of humanity).

    Sarcasm is the EASIEST form of so-called humor, giving the speaker an undershot. It bypasses insight and understanding and goes straight for the jugular of the lowest-common-denominator of the audience. Even a pun demands intellect and context.

    I watched/listened to Jack Buck go from being a smart, insightful and sublime doubles-partner to Haray Caray in St. Louis to a cruel, jarring precursor to Marty’s latter-day cheesiness. Makes me sad.

    It’s sad and strange that Harry Caray, Jack Buck and Marty Brennaman (among others?) each carved their own distinctive paths, and yet all have sons (an in the case of Caray, sons and grandsons) who took their ‘family business’ links while they completely bypassed the originality of their progenitors to become schmazzy, voice-modulated radio-school clones.

    The current gutter-sniping, snarky Marty breaks my heart. He’s not much older than I am, and while I haven’t been privvy to the same golf course accesses and such, I get what that means.

    It would be much appreciated if Marty would stop this Votto nonsense. I honestly think it’s time for MB to ride off into the 19th hole…

  31. Adam S.

    I like marty. Reds will never have anyone like him again.

  32. JB WV

    Marty thinks he’s bigger than his position. If anyone dares to question his opinion, he’ll remind you that it’s his RIGHT to express his opinion in any manner he chooses. Fine, if the front office doesn’t mind. But some of us mind. And, believe it or not, revenue still stems from the fans, who are a hell of a lot more concerned with the team and the players than Marty. He’s seemingly lost sight of that.

  33. MrRed

    Steve, it’s a shame that you turned off the broadcast a little too soon. You missed his commentary a couple of innings later regarding Jay Bruce. MB astutely pointed out that Jay Bruce “is no Ted Williams” in that he can’t be successful against the shift and that he “could learn something” from Brayan Pena, of all people, about going the opposite way against the shift. It’s that kind of insight that keeps knowledgable fans coming back for more.

  34. gusnwally

    Well no announcer will ever come close to Waite Hoyt. However,I really enjoy Chris Welsh doing the color. I think he is extremely knowledgable, fair and not afraid to point out a players shortcomings.

    • Tom Reed

      You are right. And not too many pitchers will ever come close to Waite Hoyt also.

    • lwblogger2

      Chris Welsh is a darn good analyst.

  35. whereruklu

    Coming from old school and many years of Marty, in my opinon Marty is showing his 40 years at the mike. Loved him especially with Joe, but he has gotten so caustic and personized in broadcasts. Seems he has forgotten who he is working for. As an employee of the Reds, he comes across as self-promotional and egotistically pompus, biased in his own personal opinions. He should be promoting and supporting the team, but he can still be “opinionated” in his own observations. However, he tends to announce them as fact as if he has ever played before at all. Cowboy is ok, but still needs somemore mike time to help polish. I really like Welsh. Knows the game, good with the mike, and even thoough he does occasionally voice his opinion, he is stll able to “root the Reds home”.
    I like Votto. He is one of the most intelectual hitters in the game today. You don’t need homers to win the game, A man on base often does the job. He is always thinking with each pitch, where to place the ball that will do the most good for the situation. OBP is real and it counts. It helps to win games. Just watch his eyes at the plate and see how they are constantly scoping the field. Hopefully he can put his DL days behind him and get the playing time. Even though I like Votto, I do not agree with the way his contract was handled and I believe that may be a big part as to why some hate him. My own opinion is the same for Homer, and Iglasias. Long term contracts leave too many variables unprotected. Not good business moves, but if I were a player and someone offered me one, I wouldn’t hesitate to accept it. I blame the brass. That’s why they had to get rid of Simon, Ludwick, Hannahan, Heisey, and Latos. (The Latos trade though was probably a good move.) I’m afraid the fire-sale isn’t over with, with Cueto coming up. Bad, BAD management feaupauxs.
    BP is a bitter player. Offensively he is no longer the threat he may have been, but he still carries the glove. Maybe a hair slower, but not by much. I just remember how he was always smiling. Always. Now when you watch him he only occassionlly flashing that wonderfull grin. He is unhappy and it shows. Maybe “bitter” isn’t the right word, maybe “disappointed” would be more accurate. Love ya, bro, but let’s see that grill more often.
    I still love these Reds and think they have a good team, perhaps with some luck, being a contender this year. The core is solid, but pitching will be a problem. Looking forward to seeing Winker, Negron, Stephenson, Lorenzen, and Iglasias. May come down to it. Good luck Reds and let’s stay healthy this year. RAH!!!!

    • NCRed

      The fact we are comparing Marty with Scully says a ton. He was better with Joe because I think he had more respect for Nuxhall, knew Joe was former player and stayed away from some of the criticism. But he’s always been critical of the players. Maybe not to this degree though. Maybe because Nuxhall introduced him to the game of golf:)

  36. Carl Sayre

    I have found while I thought that I was obnoxious when I was young it takes birthdays to really accomplish it and MB has had plenty of those. I mean Marty having an opinion and expressing it on air is in part what he gets paid for but this thing with JV is mean spirited. His comments sound……..venomous for lack of a better description. He is a Reds legend and I try to let it slide but I can’t think of anything like it in home team broadcasting.
    I have one more thing and this is nothing but speculation on my part but the man who raised me like I was his own son had health issues late in his life and the meds made him mean spirited. The reason I threw that out there is maybe Marty just doesn’t agree with the way Votto approaches hitting but his way of degrading him may have outside influences.

  37. Mark Elliott

    As someone who is writing about Reds radio broadcasters for the Sunday Evening Post on this site, I’m intrigued and fascinated by this particular post (and the replies.) Let me offer a slightly different view – Marty has moved to the uncoachable level of his profession. Happens to a lot of people – in a lot of different fields of work. Their success, age, experience and own hubris (i.e. believing all the hype others write and say about you) allows them to reject any and all criticism and suggestions.

    I’ve worked in the radio/audio industry for a few years. The only way one can evaluate their performance is to listen back to what it sounded like to the listener. As a talent coach, I have to show an announcer that their funny cute personal story they told yesterday morning was 5 minutes and 24 seconds of boring uninteresting chatter that caused everyone to switch radio stations. And I show them by playing back the recording to them. Marty probably heard himself say something snappy and cute – a quick stab to those Sabermetric geeks. What Steve (and others) heard was a mean spirited dig at the Reds premier player. Who in the Cincinnati organization has standing to insist that Marty take the time to listen?

  38. Matt WI

    Just saw this thread and glanced through some comments, sorry if this was said… but just the other day against the Tribe, Marty was praising how few times Billy Hamilton has K’d this spring and how that will make him “such a better hitter.” I glanced to the stats to see Billy hitting .187 at the time of said comment. Joey is just shy of .300. MB is immune to reason and fairness at this point. Such a shame.

  39. PRoseFutureHOFer

    I still like Marty, but this comment was asinine (though I didn’t hear it). Having said that, I understand the source of his lashing out. I wonder if some people undestand that the rhetoric has gotten to a point that some of us old schoolers feel like we are being told that RBIs are a bad thing and that a walk is better than an RBI double. If you think that’s an unfair, exaggerated reaction, then don’t post snarky comments about a guy after he hits a couple doubles and drives in some runs. No one would seriously suggest that a strikeout is better than an RBI, and Marty should know better than to say sometihing that dumb on the air. But I gotta tell ya, every time Bradon drives in a run, I sarcastically think “There you go again, BP, why couldn’t you have taken a walk!” It’s gotten silly.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Good point Pete. This gets me to wondering, did Marty get the response he sought? Probably. Just because he is ornery and not too progressive, it doesn’t make him dense.

      My guess is that Marty’s Q-factor is off the charts and so far greater than Jim, Cowboy, Thom, and Chris; as to be laughable. Obviously, he isn’t popular with RLN folks but with the general public?? I say this as a buyer in advanced statistics but sometimes the product could be sold better. Enhanced packaging wouldn’t hurt.

      • lwblogger2

        He’s very, very popular with “Joe Fan” in Cincinnati. It’s one of the reasons that I think the writers here get so upset with some of these comments. To many Reds fans listening, Marty’s word is the gospel. This is true even when Marty is misinformed, being sarcastic, or just plain wrong. He still carries a lot of weight when it comes to what the common fan thinks about all things Reds in Cincinnati. That’s also how he ends up keeping his job. More people still love him than don’t.

        I don’t like how he goes about getting on the players. Joe would point out a dumb play or a series of dumb plays but he never seemed to make it personal against the player. If Marty had simply said “That’s the 12th time Votto has struck out in 27 at bats, and that isn’t going to get it done in April.” then chances are nobody would be upset about it. Heck, Votto himself would likely agree with that statement. He did the same thing with Cozart attacking his baseball IQ a couple years ago after a dumb play. I didn’t like it because he called into question Cozart’s baseball IQ overall instead of focusing on what was dumb about the play. Joe always called out a bad play but never made it personal against a player, at least as I remember.

  40. Andrewpky

    MB should’ve finished that comment by asking some local youth to please refrain from stepping on his lawn…

  41. Jeremy Conley

    I’ll echo what many have said on here. Marty is still one of the best play-by-play announcers in the game. Years ago, he got the reputation of being an announcer who was not scared to criticize the team that he worked for, or that teams’ players, and that earned him respect in the biz.

    But now in old age etc, he’s taken that lack and gone way overboard. Now, not only is he not scared to criticize the team he works for, it’s as if he feels he has to, and to specifically go after the teams best players. Living away from Cincinnati now, I listen to a lot of other teams’ broadcasts online, and what Marty does is not normal. People in Ohio have gotten used to it, but it’s sad that that’s true, because his method is pretty unpleasant.

    Listening to an A’s game is so much nicer. The announcers seem to respect their fans, and generally try to help them enjoy the team more, rather than constantly ripping on some segment of the fanbase or the players on the team.

  42. mtkal

    Well I grew up listening to Marty and Joe and loving it, but haven’t been in an area to get a Reds station for the last 25 years.
    That being said, isn’t “a strikeout is better than an RBI” sort of what Marty and those who agree with him have been saying? Isn’t that BP’s whole thing? He’d rather go down swinging “trying to drive in a run” than taking a walk, right? Don’t they want Joey swinging for the fences even if he strikes out more like Brandon does?
    I certainly wish Marty wasn’t tarnishing my boyhood memories with all of this. Of course I don’t know what may have happened to cause it all or what his side of things behind the scenes might be, but it seems he’d be much better off just doing what he does best. Telling us what’s happening in Reds’ baseball games.