Marty Brennaman’s long, wonderful career as the voice of the Cincinnati Reds came to an end on Thursday afternoon as the Reds lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in their final home game of the year. As Brennaman was signing off he said “I just hope that the people now going forward will accept Tommy Thrall as well as they accepted me 46 years ago.” And with that the secret was out that Thrall would be taking over in 2020 and join Jeff Brantley in the radio booth.
Thrall is in his first full year with the Reds. From 2012-2018 he was the play-by-play voice for the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. At the time they were the Cincinnati Reds affiliate. Several years ago he was brought in to fill in for a few spring training games. Last season he was brought in to call a few games in September with the Reds, working with Jeff Brantley. After the year was over the Reds hired Thrall to join the Reds broadcast crew. His job this season included filling in on the radio, where he handled about half of the games this season, and then filled in as postgame duties when he wasn’t handling the game.
They say you never want to be the man who replaces the man, but the one that replaces that guy. Usually, though, the guy that’s replacing the man is someone that’s new – someone from the outside. While Tommy Thrall is still somewhat new in Cincinnati, the fanbase has likely heard him call more than a few games as he was on the airwaves this season quite a bit.
There won’t be a “shock” for most of the audience. They know what they are getting with Thrall and Jeff Brantley, who they’ve heard together already. And not that you would expect Marty Brennaman to not back the next guy coming in, but hey, he asked the fans on numerous occasions today to accept him as he takes over the gig. Having that approval and backing might go a long way with some fans who could be willing to give him a shot rather than just go with the “he’s no Marty” line.