When Tom Ricketts took over the Chicago Cubs, we as fans were promised that this would be a top organization from top to bottom. So when I heard that my favorite commentator and arguably the best color man in baseball, Bob Brenly, was leaving the Cubs for the Arizona Diamondbacks, I had flashbacks to the day when the Chicago Bears lost announcer Wayne Larrivee to the Green Bay Packers. It was one of the lowest points in Bears history, and this goes down as the same for the Cubs.
I get it, he’s only an announcer. But it is a sign of worse fundamental issues with the Cubs. Last season, the Cubs hired Theo Epstein to save the franchise, and I’m not very impressed with Theo. I’m guessing that Brenly’s brutally honest commentary has rubbed the organization the wrong way.
Let’s flash back to Steve Stone. Before Stone was essentially forced out by the Cubs, players, coaches and others within the organization griped about his comments. I’m sure Brenly was viewed in the same way (Stone is on the Chicago White Sox television broadcasts and seems to be less critical). Here’s even more salt in the wound…Brenly was fired as manager of the Diamondbacks. So he would rather go back to an organization that fired him than stay with the Cubs. I’m glad we’ve learned that Phoenix is a bigger media market than Chicago.
On the radio side, Pat Hughes is a fantastic announcer. He paints a picture with his words and doesn’t try to be bigger than the game. When Ron Santo was his color guy, they became an act. While Santo really didn’t add much to the broadcast, he was entertaining. Brenly not only added so much knowledge to a broadcast, he made it fun. Even Len Kasper became a better announcer thanks to Brenly.
We are starting to hear names like Kerry Wood, Mark Grace and Rick Sutcliffe. But to be honest, I want someone like Brenly. While Brenly got his start in broadcasting in the Cubs radio booth, he never had a bias bone in his body (OK, I take that back. He was a homer during the Cubs Convention. But that’s playing to a crowd). My choice would be Ron Darling, but I am sure it would take a lot to get him away from the New York Mets and TBS.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up on Twitter @chicagobearjew and hashtag #RML.