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redsmetz
04-27-2007, 10:15 AM
Bill Peterson has a good column in this week's City Beat about Thom Brennaman. Check the link too to see Jerry Dowlings cartoon about Adam Dunn too.

http://www.citybeat.com/2007-04-25/sports.shtml


Grumpy Thom Brennaman One of the Season's Highlights So Far

By Bill Peterson

Marty Brennaman entered the Reds radio booth in 1974. A son had already been born. Taking their first breaths with Pete Rose's arrival from the West Side in 1963, the child and the Cincinnati ball club grew from precocious toddlers with true prospects for marking the world when Brennaman called his first pitch at Riverfront Stadium.

The Reds have added Brennaman's 43-year-old son, Thom, to their broadcasting team this year, and, if the ball club no longer is so prosperous, their broadcasts are among the most lively, straight talking and edgy to be found in the major leagues today. Thom Brennaman isn't just happy to be here. He wants to see the game played right.

Unlike his father, who came to Cincinnati from the minor leagues, Thom Brennaman returns home after walking the block a few times, calling the Chicago Cubs, the Arizona Diamondbacks and national games on Fox over the past 17 years. One remembers a favorite remark among the volumes from Marty Brennaman. Sometime in the early 1990s, when Thom Brennaman worked the Cubs games, a friend asked Marty, in good fun, "How's that kid or yours, running the streets of Chicago until all hours of the night?" Said Marty, in all seriousness, "A kid his age should be running the streets."

So Thom Brennaman has run the streets, he's seen winners and losers, he knows the difference and he says so. Among the younger Brennaman's pet peeves are hitters hacking at first pitches out of the strike zone, hitters working good counts into bad counts against wild pitchers, fielders throwing to the wrong base and pitchers who don't throw strikes. You know who else counts those as pet peeves? Big league managers.

Does Thom Brennaman sound a little grumpy? Well, he is watching the Reds. Many have expressed disappointment that his remarks often initiate tension with his partners, as if two guys talking through a baseball game are supposed to be in complete agreement. But complete agreement about a baseball game too often means complacent radio and weak television.

Indeed, nothing dulls and dumbs down the general discourse about baseball quite like play-by-play men who are so deferential toward former players in the next seat that the latter get away with insipid pronouncements. The mere fact that someone played in the big leagues doesn't guarantee that he's capable of intelligent remarks about the game or anything else.

Chris Welsh, the Reds' television color commentator, is a very bright man and a better analyst than just about anyone in any booth. The broadcasts are all available on MLB.com, so you can click around and see for yourself.

But if Thom Brennaman challenges Welsh on some point, we're all better for it because Welsh is forced to clarify his position against vigorous objections. It's not like Welsh is going to melt down on the air because he can't stand up to it. Welsh has served Reds fans well for 15 years alongside George Grande. Unlike the interplay between Thom Brennaman and Welsh, the interplay between Grande and Welsh is largely sympathetic.

Welsh played in the major leagues, and Grande played with 14 future major leaguers at the University of Southern California in the 1960s. They know what people go through playing baseball at the highest levels.

But those of us who know it's hard even to play baseball at much lower levels also know big leaguers don't always get it right. In other words, speaking only for those of us older than 40, we've all played the game. We might not have played it especially well or for very long, but we've played it enough to know the rules, the strategies, the pratfalls and the correct plays.

We know why hitters swing at pitches that come in at eye level -- that ball looks like you're going to kill it. That doesn't mean you should swing. We know why hitters swing and miss, why they get doubled off base on line drives to infielders, why they should run out every ball, why they should throw to the cut-off man, why outfielders lose fly balls in the sun. We understand. That doesn't mean transgressions should be ignored.

Baseball is nuanced but not abstract beyond comprehension. The difficulties in comprehension are more visceral, pointing to why we're at once awed and dumbfounded by the performances of major league players.

On one hand, we understand that everyone is gifted differently and we can't all summon the skill to play in the major leagues. On the other hand, those of us who've stopped playing often can't fathom why players who've ascended to the big leagues with all their skills should play soft or make the same dopey errors we made when we played. They're supposed to be better baseball players than we are.

Among the most disingenuous remarks by players about their critics in the public and the media are those along the lines of, "They don't know how hard it is to play baseball." No assessment could be more naive, self-serving or self-deceptive.

Most observers know exactly how hard it is to play baseball. Many stopped because it was too hard, owing to lack of skill, training, money or parental support. Others stopped because they preferred other flavors of life. And they still know ineffectual baseball when they see it.

Marty and Thom Brennaman aren't playing baseball. They're broadcasting, along with Welsh, Grande and Jeff Brantley. Done right, it requires critical engagement with the game. Thus we applaud a broadcast's honesty, brutal though it might be.

People might watch the news and reality television because they're fascinated by rogues. That's not why they watch baseball.

They want to see baseball played right. They're not interested in struggle, because they struggle. They find struggle tedious and incompetence destructive.

Like Marty Brennaman, Thom speaks to the viewers' frustration when the Reds goof and their pleasure when the Reds prosper. Sometimes the proceedings grow contentious. Which is, in part, why one can hardly wait until the next broadcast.

BuckWoody
04-27-2007, 10:40 AM
That's a good read. I love Marty's quip, "A kid his age should be running the streets." :D

I get almost giddy when I tune in the game on TV and Thom is announcing instead of George. Whether Thom's with Brantley or the Creeper, it doesn't matter...I'm happy. George just wears me out.

Side question, how do I see the full blown cartoon on that page? All I can get is the little avatar sized one. :confused:

44Magnum
04-27-2007, 10:43 AM
I love the Reds announcing (TV & Radio).

minus5
04-27-2007, 11:09 AM
Thanks for posting. I enjoyed that.

hebroncougar
04-27-2007, 11:47 AM
Chris Welsh is the one of the best analysts in the booth?? What cave has he been living in, is he related to Welsh, or smoking some happy stuff?

redsmetz
04-27-2007, 12:33 PM
Chris Welsh is the one of the best analysts in the booth?? What cave has he been living in, is he related to Welsh, or smoking some happy stuff?

Well he is at City Beat, so it could be the latter.... :)

Regarding the question about seeing the Dowling picture larger, someone more tech savvy than me will have to say, that's as large as I could find it.

BuckU
04-27-2007, 02:12 PM
Chris Welsh is the one of the best analysts in the booth?? What cave has he been living in, is he related to Welsh, or smoking some happy stuff?

So what are your gripes with Welch?

Doro
04-27-2007, 02:22 PM
The Crafty Lefty........ hes one of those analysis that just make stuff up to take up air space. Stupid stuff like "hey the pitcher just ran the bases, lets hope that takes something out of him the next inning". Hes also great at making excuses for just about anything the Reds can do wrong and just about ever Reds player has some kinda great attribute.

I cant stand him nor Grande. I love Brantley and Thom (but agree he tends to beat a dead horse on many subjects..... atleast he tells it like it is.)

westofyou
04-27-2007, 02:24 PM
Stupid stuff like "hey the pitcher just ran the bases, lets hope that takes something out of him the next inning".

That's stupid?

I've seen many a big arse pitcher tucker himself out running and then falter the next inning.

BuckWoody
04-27-2007, 03:01 PM
But if Thom Brennaman challenges Welsh on some point, we're all better for it because Welsh is forced to clarify his position against vigorous objections. It's not like Welsh is going to melt down on the air because he can't stand up to it. Welsh has served Reds fans well for 15 years alongside George Grande. Unlike the interplay between Thom Brennaman and Welsh, the interplay between Grande and Welsh is largely sympathetic.
This is a good point about Welsh and one that I agree with. I think that he is much better when teamed up with Thom than when teamed up with George.

The Creeper will make an observation with George in the booth and you get a lot of "You got that right pardner." The same sort of observation with Thom in the booth and you get "OK, but let me ask you this.....", which leads to a furhter explanation of the point or a good discussion on its merits.

Always Red
04-27-2007, 03:04 PM
"The Creeper" is one of my all-time favorite nick names. :cool:

Rotater Cuff
04-27-2007, 03:23 PM
Chris Welsh is the one of the best analysts in the booth?? What cave has he been living in, is he related to Welsh, or smoking some happy stuff?

Last year Chris Welsh was interviewed on the internet, and I found the interview to be one of the best reads I've had in years, especially regarding his high school exploits here in Cincinnati. He's not only one of the most insightful analysts and gifted storytellers around IMHO, but he speaks the language of Cincinnati, where people don't appreciate BS being blown up their yoo yoos.

redsmetz
04-27-2007, 03:29 PM
So what are your gripes with Welch?

Caveat: I'm saying this as a Moeller alum and the parent of a soon to be St. X grad, but I'm always dumbfounded that a St. X grad like Chris Welsh wouldn't know an adverb if it fell on him. :) His English teachers' heads must spin when they hear him!

Reds Freak
04-27-2007, 03:49 PM
Caveat: I'm saying this as a Moeller alum and the parent of a soon to be St. X grad, but I'm always dumbfounded that a St. X grad like Chris Welsh wouldn't know an adverb if it fell on him. :) His English teachers' heads must spin when they hear him!

My biggest beef with your post is how you, a Moeller grad, would allow your son to attend that school on North Bend Rd...;)

Doro
04-27-2007, 03:49 PM
Last year Chris Welsh was interviewed on the internet, and I found the interview to be one of the best reads I've had in years, especially regarding his high school exploits here in Cincinnati. He's not only one of the most insightful analysts and gifted storytellers around IMHO, but he speaks the language of Cincinnati, where people don't appreciate BS being blown up their yoo yoos.


no BS by Welsh? :bang:

BurgervilleBuck
04-27-2007, 03:55 PM
Well, as a West Hi grad, let me say that I enjoyed the article and I, for one, want to hear that sort of candor and frankness.

Thom (and his dad) is just as eager to praise this team as he is to point out its bad points. Grande, to me, just wants to blow smoke up our keisters.

Always Red
04-27-2007, 04:11 PM
George Grande is one of the nicest men you'll ever meet.

That counts for something in my book.

I like Grumpy Thom and Grumpy Marty together. It's refreshingly honest, and most of the time, they're right! (but not always!!)

To be honest, I enjoy them all; doesn't matter to me who is doing the game. It's not like in the old days when I'd turn down the TV volume and listen to Marty and Joe, no that you can do that anymore since they rigged the delay...

Yachtzee
04-27-2007, 04:44 PM
The Crafty Lefty........ hes one of those analysis that just make stuff up to take up air space. Stupid stuff like "hey the pitcher just ran the bases, lets hope that takes something out of him the next inning". Hes also great at making excuses for just about anything the Reds can do wrong and just about ever Reds player has some kinda great attribute.

I cant stand him nor Grande. I love Brantley and Thom (but agree he tends to beat a dead horse on many subjects..... atleast he tells it like it is.)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Creeper responsible for the "wonderful" insight that HRs are "rally killers?"

redsmetz
04-27-2007, 04:58 PM
My biggest beef with your post is how you, a Moeller grad, would allow your son to attend that school on North Bend Rd...;)

It's closer (5 minutes away) plus they gave financial aid and Moeller made not one peep about helping out with tuition (although I think they've since created a fund for alums' sons).

BTW, you weren't talking about LaSalle were you?

A little addendum - my dad went to Elder and was a rare alum of there who made it to the other side of the Sauerkraut Curtain. We lived in Deer Park & Madeira.

redhawkfish
04-27-2007, 05:07 PM
Isn't it considered heresy for an Elder grad to have a son go to Moeller?:D

BurgervilleBuck
04-27-2007, 05:39 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Creeper responsible for the "wonderful" insight that HRs are "rally killers?"

I think he meant solo homers.

Redhook
04-27-2007, 05:42 PM
Caveat: I'm saying this as a Moeller alum and the parent of a soon to be St. X grad

It's nice to see that you did learn something at Moeller: that St.X is the superior school and you wanted what's best for your son. :p:

Thanks for posting this article. I thought it was a very good read and I agree with it. I enjoy listening to Thom (and Marty believe it or not) because he's not afraid to speak his mind. It's nice to hear someone on air say what I'm thinking at home instead of hearing lame excuse why the Reds are struggling.

Marc D
04-27-2007, 06:30 PM
What bothers me is how easy people let Thom and Marty's opinions on whats wrong with the team and the "right way" to play the game go as fact or truth.

Also, the writer is quick to point out how silly it is for ex players to dismiss others because they didn't play at the same level. I think Marty's god complex of knowing what's what because he's watched baseball all these years is equally absurd.

If Marty or Thom would ever say something along the lines of "I thought this was the case but I looked at the numebrs and it simply wasn't" I could at least respect them if i never actually like them. Neither ego is going to let that happen so I will continue as I do about 75% of the time to watch the games and just mute it.

Yachtzee
04-27-2007, 06:43 PM
I think he meant solo homers.

Solo or not, it's still a silly thing to say.

Hoosier Red
04-27-2007, 06:46 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Creeper responsible for the "wonderful" insight that HRs are "rally killers?"

Solo home runs, and though it seems counter intuitive, he may have a point.

It appears and I'd be happy to hear stats reflect or counter this, but solo home runs appear to be the only run in an inning.(The Red Sox recent explosion being the exception.)

If a pitcher with say a 3 run lead gives up a solo home run, he has time to gather himself, cool off, and then get the next hitter.
Alot of times two or three base hits or walks creates a momentum that is hard to stop.

Marc D
04-27-2007, 07:28 PM
Solo home runs, and though it seems counter intuitive, he may have a point.

It appears and I'd be happy to hear stats reflect or counter this, but solo home runs appear to be the only run in an inning.(The Red Sox recent explosion being the exception.)

If a pitcher with say a 3 run lead gives up a solo home run, he has time to gather himself, cool off, and then get the next hitter.
Alot of times two or three base hits or walks creates a momentum that is hard to stop.


It also often takes 2 or 3 hits/some walks to score that same run. Only thing bad about a solo HR imo is that no one else did their job and got on base.

TeamBoone
04-27-2007, 09:40 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Creeper responsible for the "wonderful" insight that HRs are "rally killers?"

He said solo home runs can "sometimes" be a rally killer.

BurgervilleBuck
04-27-2007, 10:55 PM
If a pitcher with say a 3 run lead gives up a solo home run, he has time to gather himself, cool off, and then get the next hitter.
Quite prophetic. Did you know that was going to happen tonight? ;)

Raisor
04-27-2007, 10:59 PM
A HR as a "rally killer" is plain stupid.

Yachtzee
04-27-2007, 11:53 PM
He said solo home runs can "sometimes" be a rally killer.

Still seem silly. As far as I know, the only way one can kill a rally is by making outs.

Ravenlord
04-28-2007, 02:07 AM
Chris Welsh is the one of the best analysts in the booth?? What cave has he been living in, is he related to Welsh, or smoking some happy stuff?

at the end of last year when he was just overall annoyed at the Reds, he showed that he's been holding back in years previous. he had wonderful insight. the one game i heard him do this year, he still had wonderful insight, and was very entertaining...i don't know if that is just carry over, or from not being with George.

RFS62
04-28-2007, 08:28 AM
The "rally killer" phrase was poorly chosen.

The only possible defense I can think of for that would be it takes a pitcher out of a stretch.

Some pitchers are far less effective from the stretch than from a full windup. And if you can keep them in a stretch with runners on base for several batters, you may have a better chance of multiple runs. Still, I'll take the home run any time.

It was a very lame choice of words, and I don't even know if the "stretch" theory was any part of his thinking.

Yachtzee
04-28-2007, 11:22 AM
The "rally killer" phrase was poorly chosen.

The only possible defense I can think of for that would be it takes a pitcher out of a stretch.

Some pitchers are far less effective from the stretch than from a full windup. And if you can keep them in a stretch with runners on base for several batters, you may have a better chance of multiple runs. Still, I'll take the home run any time.

It was a very lame choice of words, and I don't even know if the "stretch" theory was any part of his thinking.

Of course if it's a solo shot, would he have been pitching from the stretch anyway?

BuckWoody
04-28-2007, 12:05 PM
The "rally killer" phrase was poorly chosen.

The only possible defense I can think of for that would be it takes a pitcher out of a stretch.

Some pitchers are far less effective from the stretch than from a full windup. And if you can keep them in a stretch with runners on base for several batters, you may have a better chance of multiple runs. Still, I'll take the home run any time.

It was a very lame choice of words, and I don't even know if the "stretch" theory was any part of his thinking.
That's always been my understanding of the "rally killer" comment. It'd be better to string together a number of hits, keep the pitcher in the stretch, and get a look at more of his pitches. It makes a small amount of sense on that level. But I'm with you guys....for the most part it's a silly thing to say. Give me the tater when we can get it.

Still, all in all, I really like the Creeper as an announcer.

Redsland
04-28-2007, 04:08 PM
It appears and I'd be happy to hear stats reflect or counter this, but solo home runs appear to be the only run in an inning.
So you can rally-kill your way to nine runs a game?

I'd take that.