You know what I find amazing sometimes? When you talk about something that happened a while back and then all of a sudden it pops back up. Now I know my phone, computer, watch and probably toaster are listening to me to gather data, but it still shocks me.
Well this happened to me this weekend. On Friday, none other than BredawnoftheDead and I were on the phone discussing all kinds of things. Mostly the upcoming snowstorm and the fact that neither of us watch the NFL Combine. Somehow, our conversation meandered its way to baseball on TV. We talked about the Red Sox announcers we liked and the ones that are legendarily bad. Towards the end of the conversation, the name Thom Brennaman came up and of course it was a bit of a punchline.
Fast forward to this bright Sunday morning. Mrs. Blind Owl was at church and I was doing my traditional scroll through social media. As I scrolled, I stumbled upon a headline from Awful Announcing that included the name Thom Brennaman. Needless to say, I had to click it.
For those who don’t know, Thom Brennaman was a play-by-play announcer for the Cincinnati Reds and even did NFL games on Fox. Back in 2020, Brennaman made a HUGE error and said something on a hot mic that I’d bet he regrets. He then went on to make one of the most unintentionally hilarious apologies live in the same game. I can’t do it any justice in words you have to hear it yourself.
I don’t know how many times I've watched that apology, I laugh literally every single time. Play-by-play guys are so weird. He was getting fired on-air, and still felt the need to call the home run. Absolutely hilarious.
Apology aside, obviously saying one of the most infamous gay slurs live on TV in 2020 is a recipe for getting axed. Of course, he was fired and hasn’t been heard live on any games since. Brennaman does do a YouTube show on his own called “Off The Bench,” but other than that, he has kept a low profile.
Back to today.
The Awful Announcing headline that caught my attention mentioned an opinion piece written in the Cincinnati Enquirer by Jason Williams. In this article, Williams does his best to make a case for Thom Brennaman to come back to play-by-play announcing. If you want to read the whole thing, go here: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/columnists/jason-williams/2023/02/23/looking-at-potential-jobs-for-former-reds-broadcaster-thom-brennaman/69936471007/
I don’t know about you, but this column comes across as a friend trying to do his buddy a favor. Williams tries to throw us off the scent by starting the column with “Thom Brennaman was on my mind when I woke up Thursday morning. No idea why.” Well Jason. Nobody believes that. There are only two reasons to have Thom Brennaman on your mind when you first wake up in the morning. One: somebody said something that reminded you of the comical apology. Or two: he’s your friend and you talked to him about how he wants to get back into play-by-play.
It’s obviously the second option because anyone who remembered the first thing, wouldn’t go on to write a column about the jobs that are available for Brennaman.
This column isn’t going to do anything for Brennaman. As a matter of fact, it almost guarantees he won’t get any of these jobs. If Williams was really Thom’s pal, he would’ve quietly told Brennaman about these opportunities. When it comes to such an idiotic statements like calling San Francisco the “f-g capital,” obscurity is your friend. Maybe after a few more years someone says, “Why haven’t we heard from Thom Brennaman in a while, let’s give him a shot.” Williams’ column puts him back in the spotlight and groups that want to cancel him will be more vigilant.
Now, I’m all for people getting second chances. I mean, I was one of the first to defend Tony Mazz after his dumb comment. The difference between that situation and Brennaman’s is that Thom said his when he thought he was off mic. He can’t use the ignorance excuse because he was trying to hide it. That’s why I am a lot harder on Brennaman for what he said.
Now would I really care if some B level college program hired him to do play-by-play for baseball that I’ll never watch? Not a chance. I just think those kinds of jobs should be saved for up and comers in the broadcasting field, or grizzled veterans that have been doing those games for 126 years. There are hundreds of aspiring broadcasters that would do just as good at the job as Brennaman, with none of the baggage and for shit ton less money.
As for Williams, it was a good try. He is just a guy trying to help a friend. I would do my best to help all my friends as well. But if I were Williams, I would’ve told Thom to keep doing what he’s doing. Just wait for something to pop up a few years down the road and quietly advocate for him. Also, maybe tell Thom to drop the “h” from his name. My mind, and my phone, reads it like it’s spelled. Who knows, maybe some dumb executive thinks Thom Brennaman and Tom Brennaman are two different people. Worth a shot right? He’s got nothing to lose really.