Brennaman makes return trip to fairgrounds,greets fans –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
In 44 years behind the microphone in the Cincinnati Reds radio booth, Marty Brennaman has seen about everything you can see in the game of baseball, but for the past two seasons when he has taken his All-Star Break away from the booth, Brennaman has ended up visiting the Adams County Fair, where he certainly could see many other things he likely never has before.
In 2016, that trip to the fairgrounds was by chance, but last Wednesday, it was by choice as the Hall of Fame broadcaster had his own day at the fair, meeting a steady stream of fans and signing autographs on everything from baseballs to bobbleheads to cups to 8 x 10 photos.
Before meeting the fans though, Brennaman took time to join Brad Rolfe from C103 and Mark Carpenter from the Defender in a 10-minute radio interview where he explained his 2016 trip to the fair and then talked a little baseball.
“It was nice to be back here at the fair for the second year in a row,” said Brennaman. “Last year my wife (Amanda) and I were staying at Murphin Ridge and I think one of the people over there told us that the fair was going on and quite honestly, I’d never been to a county fair in my life. Amanda said ‘Why don’t we drive over there, we don’t have anything else to do?’ and we came over and thoroughly enjoyed it”
“We met Liz (Lafferty) and a lot of other people and here we are back again.
Thanks to Blake’s Pharmacy, special baseballs were available for purchase to be signed, with all of the proceeds going to the Dragonfly Foundation, a charity which Brennaman supports.
“I am very closely aligned with the charity that helps children with cancer or leukemia or other diseases and I am totally committed to what they are doing and hold that foundation near and dear to my heart.”
In the radio booth, Brennaman holds a record of longevity that has been matched by very few broadcasters in the history of the game, now in his 44th year as the voice of the Reds.
“I don’t think it ever crossed my mind that I could be there that long,” said the Hall of Famer. ‘I was just so thrilled to be broadcasting big league baseball at 31 years old, coming to Cincinnati and a team that was as loaded as they were talent-wise. People in my profession, especially at that level, are always looking where the grass is greener. You may hang around 10 years or so and then move on to a bigger market where the money might be better, but the longer I stayed in Cincinnati, the more I realized that I didn’t want to go anywhere else.
“I’ve turned down jobs with the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, White Sox, and the Cubs, always thinking that I was happy where I was at. Now I am proud of the fact that I am in my 44th year with the same team and I will retire working for only one team and there are only a handful of guys who have ever done that. I ended up in Cincinnati after Al Michaels left for the Giants, they hired me, and thank God I am still there.”
In 2000, Brennaman was the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, making him a permanent resident of the broadcaster’s wing at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
“Jack Buck, long-time voice of the St. Louis Cardinals, called me and told me that my life would never be the same again. When I asked him why, he said that as long as I was alive and your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren, on down the line, every time someone refers to you by name, it will always have ‘Hall of Famer’ in front of it. I’m thrilled to death that I got the highest honor a broadcaster can receive, but at the same time it certainly doesn’t cloud my relations with people.”
When he returns to the radio booth later this week, Brennaman will see a Reds team that has been up and down so far in 2017, but he also sees the same key to the team that most fans do.
“It all depends on what we have been screaming about all year and that’s good starting pitching,” he says. “The lineup that Bryan Price puts out there every day is a good lineup that can score runs, hit home runs, and play good defense, but it all hinges upon the kind of starting pitching that he gets and I think it will be better in the second half. We are starting to see some of the young pitchers like Castillo and Romano do some of the things we thought they were capable of doing at some point. It’s a small sample size but I think once they get a rotation settled, this ball club can have a good second half.”
After leaving Adams County, Brennaman and his wife ventured to Ashland, Ky. to visit her family and after a couple of days of playing golf, he returned to the Reds radio booth last Friday when the Reds hosted the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park.