Brennaman will be sorely missed on Reds’ broadcasts
Summer afternoons and evenings are going to be a lot different next year when Marty Brennaman is no longer broadcasting Cincinnati Reds’ games.
Talk to most guys who grew up around here in the 1970s and 1980s, and most of them will have fond memories of listening to games on the Reds games radio with Marty and Joe behind the mic.
Joe Nuxhall died a few years ago, and Marty has decided to retire after this season, his 46th year of doing play-by-play. He’s the last remaining active link to the Big Red Machine days of the 1970s. There may be one or two more out there, but Marty has been the voice of the franchise for as long as many of us can remember, or care to.
When the Reds Caravan visited the Huntington Mall nine days ago, as many fans were interested in Marty’s retirement as they were in how the Reds themselves may perform on the field this year.
Brennaman became a household name in these parts back in 1974. Those were the days when we got our information in print and over the air. Compared to today, real-time information was a rarity, not an expectation. You either listened to a game on the radio or you waited until the next day to read the box score. If it was a late game on the West Coast, you had to wait two days to learn what happened. If you were in your car at the right time of day, you could listen to Marty and Joe broadcasting Reds games, Casey Kasem doing his American Top 40 countdown or Paul Harvey with his news and comments. Locally, you had voices like Jack O’Shea and Bob Miller. News guys came and went for the most part, but in the smaller towns you had the same guy delivering the news year after year. It was all on AM radio, which was all a lot of cars had. So maybe Marty Brennaman is more than just a link to the Cincinnati Reds. He’s a throwback to a day when radio was different. When AM was more than politics and sports talk.
Nowadays, there aren’t that many people I would tune a radio to listen to, but I still have — for now — Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley, also known as the Cowboy, announcing Reds games. I listen as much for them as to follow what the Reds themselves are doing.
I was disappointed when someone at the Reds decided another announcer would have the last word in the postgame shows. At the end of September or at the beginning of October, I would be sure to listen to the final inning of the final game and then sit through the post-game just to hear Marty sign off. Summer wasn’t over until Marty said, “This is Marty Brennaman saying, so long everybody” or some variation of that phrase. That was the moment fall began.
I’ll probably pay more attention to the Reds on radio this year. A lot of us probably will. And I’ll remember the days and nights of listening to Marty and Joe and wonder when will be the last time we hear the often-used phrase (some years not so often), “And this one belongs to the Reds.”
Jim Ross is opinion page editor of The Herald-Dispatch. His email in firstname.lastname@example.org.