Sports Opinion & Analysis

Let This Caged Bird Sing

In MLB on October 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

After eight seasons, Bob Brenly quit his job yesterday as the color commentator of the Chicago Cubs. Some people might ask, “Why would he quit when that sounds like a dream job?” I mean, how bad could covering baseball everyday be?

But then you would remember that these are the Cubs we’re talking about, and the Cubs are simply horrible.

“You try watching them 162 days a year.”

Today, it was announced that Brenly would join former ESPN studio host Steve Berthiaume as the new announcers for the Arizona Diamondbacks (replacing Daron Sutton, who was released because he wore suits during his broadcast, and not the team embroidered polo shirts, and Mark Grace, who was released after committing his second DUI in less then two years).

Grace failed to recognize that being drunk was only funny when he was a) playing first base, b) hitting without batting gloves, or c) retired and trying to announce games.

While D-back fans are undoubtedly sad fan-favorite Grace is out of the booth, having the Skipper who led the team to the franchise’s only World Series is a nice replacement. In fact, it’s going to be just like old times for Arizona fans, as Brenly was the original voice of the Diamondbacks before he replaced Buck Showalter as the team’s manager before the improbable 2001 season.

It’s like going home all over again, or whatever cliché you manage to come up with. It’s also a sad landing spot for a man who is unfulfilling a promising managerial career by wasting his best years in a broadcasting booth.

You don’t hoist up a Commissioner’s Trophy by talking into a microphone.

Bob Brenly hasn’t managed a major league team in eight years, and even then, he only did so for three (2001-2004). While he had a minor coaching gig with the San Francisco Giants in the early-to-mid 1990’s, Brenly’s first managerial stint came the year he won the World Series. While his team repeated as NL West champions the following year, the team then went on a two year slump with their aging and disgruntled stars, and Brenly was consequently fired because of it.

Brenly doesn’t have a large body of work to prove his leadership prowess, but what people fail to realize is that when he took over the D-Backs in 2001, he took over a roster filled with highly paid, sometimes egotistical All-Star veterans (Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Matt Williams, Luis Gonzalez) who were coming off a disappointing year of underachievement and underperformance.

What Brenly did was throw out a large rule book left by his micromanaging predecessor, and get the talent on the team to play the way they were expected. And when you think about all those veterans and all those egos, you quickly realize that what he did was no easy task.

With teams like the Boston Red Sox and Miami Marlins facing similar circumstances, you wonder why Brenly is stuck calling games instead of filling out lineup cards. Bobby Valentine is already gone, and Ozzie Guillen is just waiting until November for his pink slip.

“I wonder if Cuba’s national team needs a manager?”

In Los Angeles, if the Dodgers play the same way next year as they did this year, Don Mattingly won’t be wearing Dodger Blue much longer.

In Detroit, regardless if the Tigers win it this season or not, Jim Leyland is more than likely on his way out, and the guy everyone in the Motor City wishes would take the job (current D-backs manager and Tigers legend, Kirk Gibson) has already said he has no desire leaving his current post.

Brenly only managed three years, yet he won a ring during that time. With all these open positions readily made for Brenly to perhaps remake the magic of 2001, it’s sad that it seems he’s taking the easy route with a microphone instead of batting signals. Brenly needs to take another chance at leading another team. We already know he’s a good announcer. It’s not like the booth is going anywhere.

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