Marty Brennaman has been the Voice of the Reds for the last 41 years. Has he earned the right to say what he wants for as long as he wants, or has he hit his “expiration date”?

Recently on this blog, Steve Mancuso wrote an open letter to the Reds owner about changes needed in the organization. In that post, he suggested a change not only in players and staff but also broadcasters.

Steve wrote: “But to help bring the fans along, you also need to change the voice of the organization. The radio and television broadcasters – who work for you – must also understand and accept the changes in the game. They can help explain it to the fans. How can fans understand the critical role that on-base percentage plays when the voice of your organization never discusses that concept? Communication plays a vital role in a successful paradigm shift. Other organizations include modern player statistics in their graphics. Their announcers introduce new concepts of how to think about baseball to their fans. In contrast, your announcers resist modernization with all their might. (Chris Welsh and Jeff Brantley are notable exceptions.)”

Redleg Nation readers already know that Steve is clearly not a fan of the Reds radio announcers, especially Marty B as he showed in this post from last year –  “Comments like the one Brennaman (made) work dramatically against the image the club strives so hard to maintain. I’ve written here before about the impressive job the non-baseball side of the organization does to create a real, positive experience at Great American Ball Park. Brennaman’s baseless and reckless comments do nothing but undermine the fundamental goals of the organization for which he works.”

This is an interesting take from a media “outsider” on the current state of baseball media and economics (I used quotes because while Steve does not work in the day to day media, he’s more than just an outside observer.) Especially against a prominent and popular broadcaster such as Marty Brennaman.

Used to be that radio and TV stations showed up at the ballpark and broadcast the game, sometimes without even asking permission. The idea of “rights fees” and exclusive coverage were not yet considered. For years, the Reds may have been on more than one station at the same time (as late as 1942, the Reds were on three local stations at the same time.) Even the first Super Bowl was broadcast on two different TV networks – CBS and NBC.

Some broadcasters were hired by the station running the games. Others worked directly for the advertiser paying to sponsor the broadcast “I’m Waite Hoyt for Burger Beer“.

But team owners began to realize how important the broadcasts were to both their fan base and their bottom line. (Here a story or two from our rivals in Missouri on how the choice of radio partners affected their marketing.) While some teams sell the rights to broadcast their games to a third party, the Reds have chosen to retain those rights and operate the Reds Radio Network as a part of the team.

So Marty Brennaman gets his paycheck from the Cincinnati Reds, as many other broadcasters do. He works at the pleasure of Mr. Castillini and his staff. But what exactly is the job of a play by play broadcaster?

As a radio morning show host, I’ve got two different audiences – advertisers and listeners. I have to create a show that attracts listeners and “increases ratings” and at the same time sell our advertisers products within that show. There are times when those two goals can and do conflict. For a play by play baseball broadcaster working directly for the team, add a third audience – team ownership. I would think that the team has expectations of their radio announcers to keep fans happy and excited about the team and listening, even in the 7th inning of a 10 run blowout. Not an easy job.

How do you judge the performance of the play by play broadcaster? There are awards for broadcasters and Marty has won a few, including the big one. In 1978, the Baseball Hall of Fame decided that broadcasters deserve to be immortalized on their walls, and created the Ford C. Frick Award.  To be considered for this award – “Voters are asked to base their selections on longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans.” Marty certainly met all those requirements when he won in 2000, but I’m thinking that’s more a sign of longevity more than anything else.

Over the years, broadcasters earn a certain amount of respect and gravitas from their performances and develop an identifiable on air persona.

Vin Scully = Master Storyteller

Harry Carey = Bigger Than Life Baseball Fan

Jon Miller = Humorous as Well as Baseball Knowledgeable

How would you describe Marty’s on-air persona? Lately, many people (including Steve Mancuso) might use the phrase “Grumpy Old Baseball Traditionalist.” (Google “Marty Brennaman Critique” or variation to see many of the criticisms).

And Reds fans have a lot more Brennaman in store in upcoming years, as it is obvious who is being groomed to replace his father as the day top day voice of our favorite team.

But let’s get back to the basic questions – should baseball broadcasters be asked to change by adding modern statistics and analysis to their on air performance? Do broadcasters like Marty earn the right to say what they want about anyone and anything? Is Marty a good broadcaster? Is Marty the right broadcaster for the Reds today?  Please add your opinion in a comment. I’m holding onto mine for a future post.

80 Responses

  1. Kurt Frost

    I don’t listen to him that much but when I do he seems to make a lot of mistakes and he ends up correcting himself. Things like the count, outs, who’s batting, who the ball is hit to, even the city he’s in.

  2. charlottencredsfan

    should baseball broadcasters be asked to change by adding modern statistics and analysis to their on air performance? Do broadcasters like Marty earn the right to say what they want about anyone and anything? Is Marty a good broadcaster? Is Marty the right broadcaster for the Reds today?

    No
    Yes
    Excellent, one of the best around and I listened to them all
    Yes

    If you want Milquetoast, you can listed to ~ 26 other teams announcers. God how I hate conformity. PS – he isn’t going anywhere until he decides to.

    • lwblogger2

      No – Agree. The addition of modern statistics should be a choice. Also broadcasters spew on about clutch-hitting and RISP all the time. If a broadcaster decides to bring new stats into it then that’s fine too. As long as they can make it engaging to the fan.

      No – Disagree. Part of a broadcaster’s job is support his team. Tearing down players is not conducive to supporting one’s team. It gets fans down on particular players and the team in general. Tone is also important. Being negative more than being positive, even when the team is playing poorly is going to help the general fan become more negative towards the team. Sure, call out a bad play or a bad AB, but keep the general tone positive. You can critique a play without slamming the team overall. Marty also is guilty of spewing out a gut-instinct that isn’t supported by the actual facts. Such as ‘player A just can’t hit with RISP’ when it turns out that player A’s batting average, OBP, and SLG are all very close to his overall numbers and sometimes higher. No broadcaster has earned the right to flat out misinform fans.

      Yes – When Marty calls the action on the field, he is still a very good broadcaster. He isn’t as sharp as he used to be however so I don’t know if he’s still among the best of the best. He still is pretty good and he still does a good job of describing what is going on as it happens.

      I don’t think so – I don’t know if Marty is the right broadcaster for the team or not. I know that I prefer him to Thom. I know I struggle to listen to him these days because he and his tone in general are so negative about the team and many of the players. I don’t want to expose myself to that negativity so I don’t listen hardly at all anymore. I often don’t listen to Thom on TV for the same reasons and on top of the matter, Thom doesn’t have the longevity of his father and oftentimes will say things that if you look them up, just aren’t true. I find myself watching the action on the field but listening to music most the time.

      As far as Marty’s time with the Reds, I do feel that he’s earned the right to decide when he wants to be done. That is assuming he doesn’t completely go off the deep-end and force the Reds’ hand into replacing him.

  3. RossGrimsley

    As a follower of Reds baseball since the late 50’s, I think that the HOF has gone to Marty’s head. He is certainly more opinionated, more grumpy and self entitled. He does make lots of mistakes now. He can barely give the starting lineups without goofing up something. I don’t have a problem with him not advocating advanced metrics, but I could probably see where that would matter younger fans. Unfortunately the TV broadcasts are not much better. To the Brennaman’s the most important facets of the game are bunting and RISP.

  4. Scot Lykins

    I don’t listen to the radio broadcast, so I can offer no opinion. But the TV announcers are terrible, especially Tom. The voice inflections he does for emphasis annoy me to no end; that I mosttimes must watch without volume.

      • wyoRedsfan

        since you are correcting, you don’t need a period after Thom–it is not a sentence

      • Chris Miller

        Since you decided to go there, you want to make sure and start your sentence with a capital letter, and you certainly need a period after your sentence. 🙂

  5. Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

    It’s funny that the last few years the Reds have been pretty decent and fun to watch for the most part while Marty has seemingly gotten grumper as the years have went by. Always complaining about RISP and bunts and Bruce and Votto and anything else he can thing else he can think of. I’d have thought after the team he’s gotten to watch the past few years he’d be a bit more pleasant. He can still call a game with the best of them but the little quips and backhanded remarks he makes really make him hard to listen to. I don’t need someone to be happy go lucky all the time but he just comes off as bitter. I am only 25 so I haven’t heard Marty for nearly as long as some on here but I can remember being 10 or 11 and he just made the game come alive for me. He was an amazing broadcaster. With age we all change though so maybe he’s just gotten old. It seems like he will be here as long as he wants to be so I hope he can capture some of the magic he used to have and hold onto it. I hope the bitterness goes away just so I can remember what it was like to hear him 15 years ago instead of this version that honestly can be intolerable as all get out.

  6. sezwhom

    I’m on the West Coast so it’s all TV for me. Once in a blue moon I’ll hear Marty’s call on Satellite radio. Heck, he takes a break for about half the game. Brantley’s far better suited for radio than TV. Thom just keeps waxing poetic about Cincinnati. You’d think it was the center of the universe. Chris Welch is fine but anything or anyone is better than George. Grande. He’s a great guy, right Chris. What a great play. Great time visiting with him. You got that right George.

  7. lrgmnky

    Living outside of Cincinnati, I have the luxury of watching and listening to games on MLB.tv which certainly gives some perspective. I know there are a lot of people who comment on this blog who have the same luxury.

    I enjoy listening to Marty for nostalgia sake, but inevitably, I’m brought back to Earth with Marty’s grumpiness. I can’t stand to listen to tHom for more than a minute, which is a shame because I like Chris Welsh.

    Living in Phoenix, I watch a lot of D-Backs games and I’m always impressed by the quality of not only their announcers, but the production itself. It seems that the organization gives a lot more access to players and Chip Hale (manager). I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise with the black-ops nature that seems to dominate the Reds organization.

    Personally, I think Marty should go, but he will never be asked to leave. He is very popular amongst Reds fans. His popularity gives him the power to do and say most anything he pleases.

    Another point (sorry for the stream of consciousness), but why would an old school organization managed by Walt want to change the narrative in the first place?

  8. Jackit

    Used to love Marty calling the games, but quit listening when Brantley came on. He’s the worst ever. Now I only listen to radio when Brantley’s on TV.

  9. Gaffer

    Reds need an overhaul and this includes the broadcasters. Marty got bad after he got into the HOF. He used to be not a homer but impartial, but now he is an anti-homer but very partial.

  10. Tom Reed

    Marty Brennaman has been, overall, a great broadcaster, and he’s still very popular with the Red’s large radio network. I think Marty will retire at his choosing. The first inning of the game is when I tend to listen. After that I watch the game with the sound on mute. As a Reds fan of seventy years, I don’t need the broadcasters to tell me what’s going on.

  11. Jeremy Conley

    Marty needed Joe. Joe was the positive counterweight to Marty’s inherent cynicism, and together they were great. Marty is and always has been one of the best actual play callers. The problem now is when he decides that his opinion is important and editorializes, rather than sticking to his bread and butter, which is the play-by-play.

    I don’t have a problem in general with a broadcaster editorializing, but Marty is uninformed and often seems willfully ignorant. Like he’s thinking, “I’m not going to let someone else tell me anything about baseball,” and just comes across as petty and dumb. That makes him look bad, and since his venom is usually saved for the Reds’ players, it often makes the team look bad.

    I would be sad to see him go on some level, and his son is just terrible, but it would be really nice to have a broadcaster who gave more actual information during the broadcast rather than all the BS the Reds guys talk about, and was positive about the team’s star players more than negative. I mean, how much time can we be expected to listen to them talk about Brantley’s food addiction?

    • Gaffer

      Marty used to say how he was proud that he was not a part of the team and did not affect the outcome. But his opinions do affect this team, and for someone with no athletic ability to claim that they understand what Votto or Bruce or Price should do is plain stupid. Plus we get stuck with Thom too! The Brenemans need to be gone so I hope they fire Marty and Thom decides to quit because of that!

    • Nick Doran

      I don’t need to post my opinion because Jeremy already did.

    • LTC Geek

      Jeremy hit the nail on the head with Joe being the counter balance to Marty. My first disillusionment with Marty was when he started complaining about web sites and having to give out web addresses on the air. Sheesh. Just plug the product and get back to the game.

  12. N Strieter

    As the article says Marty serves at the pleasure of Mr. Castellini, therefore he has not earned the right to say anything he wants. I as a fan used to love listening to the radio broadcasts, when I moved out of market I paid for [email protected] for years to get radio. This year I could not bring myself to do it, I split MLB TV with a friend to avoid the radio broadcast at all cost. Marty has lost my respect over the past 5 years. He consistently makes the broadcast about him and his opinions. I listened to hear the game, to hear an informed and energetic broadcast about my favorite team. Informed does not mean negative, and even when things are down an informed baseball person could open the door to fans explaining how things may get better.
    Thom may have been able to be a great broadcaster for the Reds but I feel his father has ruined it for him. I as a fan do not want to hear from him or Marty any longer.

  13. vegastypo

    Marty is what happens when a personality answers to nobody. Can you imagine the backlash Castellini would face if he DID fire Marty? And if Castellini or the organization even hinted to Marty that it might be time to make a change, Marty would likely tell the world about it. …

    I largely agree with his criticisms of what he sees on the field. If a player forgets how many outs there are and keeps running from first as a routine fly ball turns into a double play, he’ll say what I’m thinking, What the heck is that guy thinking of? … Then again, in the FIRST Inning of the FIRST game of this season, Marty started to send the broadcast to commercial, only to realize it was only the second out of the inning. I wondered then what HE was thinking.

    And the stuff that really annoys me seems to go on all over broadcast booths. Announcers go from memory of years gone by, without realizing what has changed. A few years ago, Marty was raving about a pitcher being a strike-throwing machine, “always around the plate,” or some such, telling the batters they had better be swinging against this guy. But Mancuso pointed out the guy was having a subpar season in allowing walks. That pitcher’s current info was likely on a stat sheet within easy reach of Marty. … I’ve heard other team’s announcers say things about the Reds that were true, but I hadn’t heard from the Reds. And I’ve heard other teams’ announcers say stuff about the Reds that was just plain wrong also.

    The occasionally outright verbal assault on applying numbers to baseball also gets hard to take. It’s not smoke and mirrors. It’s data from games that were played. Go figure. Sorry to be so windbag-y.

  14. Vanessa Galagnara

    The criticism of the announcers was the only part of Steve’s letter that I didn’t particularly care for…. it doesn’t seem to fit when you are talking about restoring the quality of play.
    I am indifferent about Marty don’t hate him don’t love him. I do think that if the Reds improved their front office and improved in the quality of ball that the teams play that the Reds announcers would also improve.

    I look at it this way. If you have ever worked in a customer support type of job you realize that if you have a terrible product that your entire support staff are overwhelmed. As support you are the face and voice of the company. The vast majority of information passes from support to the customer base that is where information about the company usually comes from. An announcer may not be support for a franchise but they are similar in that they are the voice. If the product stinks, you can expect your announcers to stink somewhat as well. If they were painting roses and sunshine when we all know it to be a dumpster fire what would we think then?

    • preacherj

      “I do think that if the Reds improved their front office and improved in the quality of ball that the teams play that the Reds announcers would also improve.”

      Indeed. If you want a less cynical announcer, try putting a product out on the field that it’s harder to be cynical about.

      • MrRed

        Interesting theory, that. But how would you explain the well entrenched cynicism during the 2012 and 2013 seasons for example? A lot better teams and a lot more winning going on the. The fodder may have gotten better since, but the negativity has been consistent.

      • lwblogger2

        Right. We heard a lot of the same stuff when the team was winning a lot of baseball games.

  15. Adam S.

    Marty should stay as long as he wants. There is no one qualified to replace him. I am sorry I don’t want some fan of another team be the voice of the Reds. Also I do not want to hear advance metrics in my reds games. As a fan I shouldn’t have to listen to it.

    • Mark Elliott

      Adam – I certainly agree with your statement about “some fan of another team” as the Reds PBP announcer. I think I might have a solution for that in next month’s post.

      • Adam S.

        Mark please not lance, mo or Greg hoard

    • Steve Mancuso

      That’s exactly how I feel about broadcasters using RISP. Would you dislike announcers referring to on base percentage?

      • Adam S.

        I’m completely fine with obp and obp and slugging. Easy for common fan to understand. Anything beyond that would be an annoyance to me.
        There is not one announcer with cincy ties capable of the Reds job. Having a NYC, Chicago or Boston guy come here to replace Marty is far worse than Marty’s fits of grumpiness.
        One thing I’ll concede to your point about risp but isn’t point of baseball to drive runs in and the Reds are terrible at it.

      • Craig Z

        In 1974, I wonder what people thought about some Virginia guy coming in to call Reds games.

      • MrRed

        Or his predecessor, that guy with the Brooklyn accent.

      • vegastypo

        Except that in 1974 or 1970, when Marty and Al Michaels arrived, Joe Nuxhall was still there.

    • Matt WI

      As a fan of baseball you “shouldn’t have to listen” about baseball? Good grief, it’s not religion, politics, or money. It’s numbers and analysis that have significant bearing on baseball. Nobody needs to read formulas over the air, but it isn’t that hard to infuse really good stuff in a digestible way.

  16. Aaron Bradley

    The whole thing is ridiculous. I spent my childhood in Chicago and Los Angeles. There are plenty of people that hated on Harry Caray and Vin Scully. Harry is a drunk that would get totally distracted by the crowd and forget about the game and generally make a fool out of himself. Vin would also venture into grandfather stories and forget about the game too. I love both of these guys, but my point is all announcers get criticized and it is impossible to appeal to everyone with your style. You have to be true to yourself and call the game as you see it. Sure Marty is cranky and pissed off. So am I! This team deserves a cranky pissed off announcer that holds them accountable for their unacceptable unprofessionalism. If I was the announcer it would be far worse, I assure you. Anyhow, the point is he is a class act amongst the industry leaders and you aren’t going to unseat him just because he is antiquated and cranky.

    • Nick Doran

      The Reds’ players have “unacceptable unprofessionalism”? I strongly disagree with that. They are very professional, they try hard and they are well coached. They just aren’t very good. It has nothing to do with a lack of trying, it is a lack of talent.

      Let’s not forget that Marty was just as bitter and cranky when the Reds were winning the last few years. It is not like bitter Marty just showed up this year. He was bitter when they made the playoffs in 2010 and when they won 96 games in 2012.

      The worst thing of all is his absolute refusal to acknowledge that the game has changed tremendously in the last 40 years. It is much more of a science and much less of a gut feel type of sport these days.

      Secondly, Marty “calling out” the players or “holding them accountable” has less than zero effect on anything. The players and coaches couldn’t care less what Marty says. The broadcaster has no influence whatsoever on the team or the games. Nothing is going to change on the field because of Marty’s rantings.

  17. Adam S.

    Can we agree that Jim Kelch for 162 would be sleep inducing and terrible broadcasting

    • Matt WI

      I’D take Kelch for 162 without blinking. Bring in Brantley if he only talks about the inside of the game and isn’t allowed to do play by play.

    • Nick Doran

      I like Jim Kelch. He does a great job. Chris Welch is the best of the bunch though. Thom is the worst.

    • lwblogger2

      Kelch isn’t my first choice but he isn’t horrible. My favorite broadcaster is Jon Miller so I’d like someone in that sort of mold. Of course that may be hard to find.

      Who’s your favorite?

  18. Mark Elliott

    ADAM S wrote earlier – “There is not one announcer with cincy ties capable of the Reds job.” I respectfully disagree, but I have promised to keep my follow up for next month’s post. (And no Adam, it’s none of the folks you mentioned in your comments).

    • Adam S.

      You have me curious I cannot think of any logical choices with cincy ties. If it were lance, mo or hoard I would never listen to a Reds game again.

      • lwblogger2

        But you see Adam, that’s how a lot of folks are starting to feel about Marty B… I think most fans still enjoy Marty though, which is why I think he isn’t going anywhere.

  19. Playtowin

    Marty’s problem is he believes his own BS. He is not a Hall of Famer but continues to allow himself to be introduced as one. One word for this is obnoxious. He makes many mistakes and never corrects them, but piles on mistakes he deems players make. The guy can’t get the scores or teams right at the end of the game giving scores, The biggest problem is Marty has stopped preparing for the game. He gets the stuff the media staff prepares for him but does nothing on his own. Thom to his credit, because of national work does this. It is time for Marty to move on. He should apply the same standard to his skills and performance as he does to aging players. It is time to step down. He should do it while he is near the top of his game. The guy is a world class grump. His haircut is much better but it took much too long

  20. jdx19

    I don’t think Marty has “earned” the right to do whatever he wants.

    He’s had a very easy and comfortable adult life compared to the average American. He’s earned a lot of money and gained a lot of fame for doing what we all count as a “hobby;” watching and talking about baseball.

    It’s the same entitlement-mentality that grips a lot of the country to suggest that Marty has “earned” the right to do anything. He gets compensated for his work. He should continue to perform his job by calling games and educating the listeners. Unfortunately, he is not capable of educating the listeners because he doesn’t understand that there has been a fundamental shift in the way baseball is played and analyzed.

    Thanks for the great article and topic, Mark. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions.

    • Matt WI

      Great point. In most professions, you have to get continuing education and or update your company with current knowledge or you don’t get to keep it. Baseball isn’t the medicine field, but it isn’t static either.

    • Nick Doran

      Marty and Thom really need to learn how to understand modern baseball analysis. They are doing the fans a disservice by keeping them in the Dark Ages.

      Do they actually think they can stop the advancement of analytics by bad-mouthing it on the radio and TV? Analytics and sabermetrics are not going away. Once something has been proven to work teams will continue to use it. The flood of information available to teams these days is astounding. Baseball is not going to quit the computer age and return to the newspaper age. Adapt or retire Marty!

  21. Victor Vollhardt

    I grew up in Cincinnati listening to Waite Hoyt and I learned a lot about Baseball and other day to day things as well. Mr Hoyt was well read and talked about many subjects. . I moved to California in 1962 and I really learned about Baseball and how a top organization is run by Mr. Scully and the whole Dodger group of personalities. That Dodger Organization had a “point of view” that ran through the whole group with Scully as the point man. Scully is also very well read and put a lot of that knowledge into broadcasts. The Angels had Dick Enberg (who had come to CA to be the baseball coach at Cal State-Northridge and moved into broadcasting) Again baseball knowledge was very good and both Enberg and Scully came across as nice people who sold themselves to their audience and had (and still do) a great following.Mr. Brennaman was also well established when ( through the internet) I could become a every game listener. I can see where a lovable Nuxhall and Marty made a good team and with the Red Machine they became icons in Cincinnati. I do not like all the talk about basketball, golf-personal friends etc.—it takes away from the game–also very little past Red history is ever brought up. Now with all that— I do like the grumpy, politically incorrect ,older Marty–Why—— he seems real and says what he feels–the great game of baseball with , instant replay, Buster Posey rule, Moneyball etc has slid backwards. Mr Hoyt would be appalled as to how the game is now being played. It is nice to hear somebody say ” this in nuts” from time to time.

    • Victor Vollhardt

      a typo on last sentence—– should be “is ” instead of “in” By the way another Reds broadcaster, Ed Kennedy used to end his show by saying–” that’s my opinion–what’s yours?” Now if the broadcaster can gererate all this input pro or con —he really has done his job.

    • Nick Doran

      Well Marty and folks such as yourself might not like modern baseball, but the 1970s are never coming back. This is the Information Age and that is never going to stop. Should a guy who doesn’t understand the modern game be broadcasting the games anymore? In any other line of work you have to adapt as the times change. Why should baseball be any different? We can debate whether the modern game or the old-time game is better if we want, but one thing is not a matter of debate: baseball is never going back to the old way.

      • Victor Vollhardt

        Baseball and any kind of business will always accept things that work and win—but all new things are not always a “only” answer. Leadership and planning and a devotion to effective people has worked in the past and will work now and in the future.Jobs and the people at Apple have done amazing things with almost all new ways of doing things. Microsoft is a blend of new ideas and old time business practices and works pretty well. Mr. Buffett uses the above combo-leadership-planning-and above all the right people who do their job. He and his partner are still using business lessons learned over 70 years ago and were old ideas even then and believe me they are real stat people, but they know that the right people are more important than the stats–the balance sheet is very important, but management is the most important and many times the most important decision is to go with what works for you and not just because everybody else is doing it. Baseball is not different from the 50’s or 70’s—in fact it is not modern at all–the above combo of talents will still make a winning team.

  22. Matt WI

    No, Marty shouldn’t be forced to talk about anything, but neither does anyone “earn the right” to bash players (home and away) the way he does. As someone else said, he knows he’s answering to nobody and we the listeners suffer.

    As someone who consumes 90% of my Reds baseball via radio call, this issue matters to me. Stats and that kind of knowledge aside, his negativity takes away from the game. I don’t need someone to “tell it like it is” (in his esteemed opinion at that) from the booth. I want game action and a decent story from time to time. I can figure out “how it is” on my own. In the middle of a game, it’s about being a Reds fan, after the game, complain as you please. Also, as others noted, sadly Marty is making a lot of mistakes these days.

    The other night I was running and listening to the Brewers. The Brewers are bad, we know this. Bob Ueker doesn’t bag on those guys. In fact, that night he told great stories of his playing days, it was great. There is no call for the animosity Marty calls out.

  23. VaRedsFan

    So how would it go over if a broadcast went like this?
    Marty: “Homer is posting a 3.25 ERA, but his FIP of 4.50 and BABIP of .250 concludes that he has probably been lucky not to have given up more runs, we should expect to see him regress a little in his next few starts.”

    If the advanced stats are supposed to give a clearer picture, and the broadcaster paints this picture over the air with facts, and the conclusion leads to the player in question not being very good, do you want the broadcaster to sugar coat what a great player he is?

    I don’t. If the Reds have the bases loaded and nobody out in a tie game, and don’t score, then every Red fan is upset, even the broadcaster.

    • Nick Doran

      Perhaps we should understand that the Reds did a good job of loading the bases, and that is a good sign that they are playing well and likely to score in future innings? Yes they fell short of scoring but they did some things well to create that good opportunity. Or should we do like Marty and assume the Reds were simply gifted a golden opportunity but they screwed us over because they suck?

    • Matt WI

      Let’s take that last example. A way a normal broadcaster might handle it: “And the Reds waste a golden opportunity to score and leave them loaded in the 6th. The score is 5-4 and we’ll be right back.”

      How it often sounds from Marty “And once again, the Reds can’t find the broadside of a barn with runners on and Jay Bruce continues to struggle like he couldn’t get out of a wet paper bag.”

      • preacherj

        Honestly, the last paragraph sounded a whole lot more like most of the commentators here on a game thread when that scenario occurs.

      • Matt WI

        You’re probably right, Preach. It’s one of the reasons I stay away from a lot of game threads. Too much vitriol. But, at least those commentators aren’t “the voice of the Reds.” Sadly, I still don’t think it was much of a stretch in terms of describing how Marty can be. Not always, certainly not always, but more often than he needs to.

      • lwblogger2

        I see no issue w/ paragraph one. It is simply stating the facts. The Reds loaded ’em up, but came up short. I’d even be ok with “You gotta convert in that situation!” said emphatically. I could even go with, “This is the kind of situation the Reds have been struggling with and it’s costing them games.”

        I don’t like the 2nd paragraph because it attacks a single player. You used Bruce in your example but it could be any player. 2 other hitters failed as well. Also, it implies that said player always fails without perhaps looking at all the info and probably looking at a very small sample.

  24. Art Wayne Austin

    Perhaps we should trade one of our veterans and throw in Marty as a male stripper.

  25. Vanessa Galagnara

    If Marty was part of our teams woeful inability to win I would say throw the bum out. As it is he is insignificant in how the team performs so I could care less whether he continues announcing games or not.

  26. Jason

    George Grande was the man he is my favorite

  27. Steve Mancuso

    Situation: It’s a Friday and a team loads the bases with no outs and then doesn’t score.

    There’s nothing wrong with the announcer pointing out that the team didn’t get hits with runners in scoring position. It’s equally relevant that the team didn’t get hits on a Friday. Both describe the situation. Neither has any relevance to diagnosing the team’s problem.

    Hitting with runners in scoring position is no more of a discrete skill than hitting on a Friday. That’s the crux.

    When announcers or fans (or managers/GMs) *blame* their team’s problems on batting with RISP, it’s a mistake. And it distracts from the real problem, which is that the team can’t hit well enough at any time, with or without RISP.

    • Vanessa Galagnara

      That is your opinion Steve. The Reds as a general rule are struggling to score runs so of course as we struggle to score he will point out the obvious. Your attack on Marty is sabermetric measures versus old school. In my opinion that isn’t a valid reason to replace an announcer. Is he misleading his audience? Is he not showing up for the job? Is he effectively calling out players as bums?
      It is starting to sound like you have a personal vendetta against the guy.
      Personally, I don’t care for him. But that doesn’t mean he should be fired because I don’t like him.
      Why should he be fired because you don’t like his old school approach? He isn’t a decision maker, he doesn’t actually play on the field, and he doesn’t influence the Reds decisions in any way so why? If you work in media it is all about having an audience. Clearly he has a fan base so again….. why should he be fired???

      • Steve Mancuso

        I really haven’t called for Marty Brennaman to be fired. The Reds need to modernize and that includes the way they talk about their team in game broadcasts. If Marty Brennaman follows through with his plan to retire in a couple of years, that’s fine with me. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t enjoy listening to him any more because his analysis of baseball is so flawed in my opinion. And I can’t stand the way he (erroneously) criticizes Reds players. Talk about a personal vendetta. It’s hard to describe Brennaman’s feelings toward Jay Bruce any other way. While I do think he makes a lot more mistakes in his game calling than he used to, I’ve never raised that point. And I didn’t write this post or call for him to be fired.

      • Matt WI

        Votto too. If Votto isn’t hitting, he’s cast as an ineffectual, voodoo practicing saber-nerd who is an affront to baseball. If Votto’s hitting, Marty is happy and he pretends like he never said anything otherwise.

      • Mark Elliott

        I can’t find one instance of a Redleg Nation writer calling for Marty to be fired… yet.

  28. preacherj

    My two cents:

    1. Marty is a radio announcer. It’s a medium built for nostalgia. You will never attract a younger group to it regardless of how many FIP’s you reference in a broadcast.

    2. Because it’s an ‘old school’ format, a capable story teller is needed. One with lots of experience with multiple generations of players/fans/front offices.

    3. A balance of viewpoints should be maintained. If their is a ‘modernization’ of broadcasting to occur, I would certainly hope that the attitude reflected would be far more……gentle….than what usually occurs on this site as to not alienate the ‘old school’ fans. Terms like “dark ages”, “antiquated”, et al reflect at best an arrogance, at worst a downright loathing of fandom who does not engage in advanced metric evaluation of their favorite baseball teams. While those terms may not be used on a broadcast, it would become very transparent if those feeling would be harbored by a broadcaster after a long season. Some of us ‘old schoolers’ understand why OBP is important, the fact that wins are more of a team statistic, and the flaw with the RISP argument…..and I don’t need an understanding of FIP, SERA, or any other statistic to get me there. And, full disclosure, I don’t want to understand a lot of them. It doesn’t make me any less of a fan, nor does it make my knowledge base of the game sub-par. To compare ‘my type of fan’ with people who believe in a flat earth is…..actually I can’t come up with a description which would not violate the TOS, so I won’t bother. Also, it wouldn’t really work anyway, see point 1.

    4. With that said, Marty’s bitterness is often hard to listen to, but then again this teams is exceptionally hard to watch. As was pointed out earlier, THOM! is being groomed to take over one day. As often as Marty drives me to the edge, Thom makes me jump off and be happy about it. Those who want Marty replaced will be less than enthused with the heir to the throne calling every radio game.

  29. Art Wayne Austin

    There’s too much cronyism on this team including the announcers. When you’re getting the results we are with the talent we have one of many deficiencies you have to look at is CRONYISM.

    • jdx19

      Reds broadcasts are the only ones I see anywhere where the player splash screen is “AVG HR RBI” and nothing else. Most guys have added OBP on there, at least, to help paint a more accurate picture.

  30. Va. Reds Fan Richard

    As one of the dying breed let me say, This is a SIMPLE GAME,, you throw a ball, you hit a ball, you catch a ball. Radio is a dying breed, and a simple way of keeping up with a game and a team. Let the simple man announce in his simple ways, besides all this metric computer generated that is being spouted by announcers is not understood by them, they just read what someone numbers nerd wrote for them. Besides for someone who has been working for the Reds as long a Marty, and lived through some of the teams, players, front office and Owners he has, the man has earned a right to be a bit prickly.

    • Adam

      Amen. I love this game, but the sabermetrics crowd leaves me feeling ineffectual.

  31. Jim Andres

    Sports radio broadcasters have an obligation to bring the game to life for the listener. We have many different means to access player statistics. Only ill prepared broadcaster need to bore us with too many stats. Marty and his color commentators, (most notably Joe Nuxhall) work hard to bring the ballpark to the listener. So much so that we can almost smell the hot dogs and popcorn. Their personal opinions are also part of the broadcast, wether we like them or not. I say let broadcasters like Marty entertain us with their finesse and flare instead of boring us with mind numbing statistics.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Marty uses plenty of statistics already. You’re creating a false argument here. No one wants the radio broadcast loaded with “mind numbing” facts. For example, instead of using batting average as the sole way to say if a player is having a good year, use on base percentage or at least talk about walks and power. Are walks and home runs “mind numbing statistics”? If he left out all references to runners in scoring position (that’s a statistic) he wouldn’t have to replace it, just leave it out. See, I’m for fewer statistics!

      It’s one thing for an announcer to tell it like it is and bring the ballpark to the listener. It’s another thing to tell it like it isn’t and convey a grouchy, cramped, obsolete view of the game.

    • Matt WI

      Interesting that you see understanding the game from a statistical point of view as being “ill prepared.” If Marty spent 30 minutes with someone pregrame, went over his talking points (say, “here’s a list of stuff I’m ticked with this team about”) and said- now tell me if this is correct with the numbers, imagine how different his calls might be. In my mind, it’s lack of attention to some basic Baseball Reference fact checking that leads to knee jerk, anecdotal “evidence.”

      Can you imagine a day where Marty said something like “I would have thought X, but when you dig a little deeper, Y is happening, so here’s what might be going on…” Most days, it’s just: “X is the truth. The end.”

      Meanwhile, anybody can give observations about what they are seeing as they happen… that’s part of the job description.

  32. Adam

    The problem is advertising time. Everything from the broadcast booth, first pitch, first out, fifteenth out of the game (brought to you by Geico!), relievers entering and pitchers exiting; it’s ridiculous. If the sponsors advertised before the game; in between innings and after the game, the broadcasters would have enough time to talk about avg-hr-rbi, as well as walks, obp, and any other meaningful statistic that was relevent. I’m not against progress, just make it useful. As the late, great Bill Veeck once said; “Tradition is the albatross around the neck of progress.”

    • Mark Elliott

      Listening to advertising is how a listener “pays” to hear the game. If you were willing to actually pay a cash fee to subscribe to listen to games they could run fewer or no commercials. How much would you pay to listen?