I’m Sorry, Marty


Some time ago, I wrote a short piece that was not particular flattering to the Reds Hall of Fame broadcaster, Marty Brennaman.   It was about some negative comments Brennaman made following a Chris Carpenter outing where a combination of humidity and winds turned a celebratory fireworks display into a nightmarish cloud of smoke.  Brennaman played his part of the homer broadcaster, and I did mine in return, sharing my displeasure of the comments.  Ironically, it is still the most read article on this site and accounts for nearly half of all of the traffic that this blog receives.

Tonight, I learned about something that makes me want to take nearly all of those harsh words back, and offer Brennaman an apology.   Tonight, Marty Brennaman did something admirable, so special that even a die hard Cardinals fan has to stop what he’s doing and give him a standing ovation.

Earlier in the season, Brennaman told Reds bench coach, Chris Speier (who also happened to make a brief stop in St. Louis in 1984) that he would shave his head if the Reds won ten games in a row.  I wonder what possessed him to make such an offer, but at the time it seemed a distant possibility at best.   Like Alpha Centauri distant.  No, like the Cubs winning the World Series distant.

But it did happen, and Brennaman is now on the hook to put up or shut up.   This is where the remarkable part of the story begins.  Unlike the Donald Trump/Vince MacMahon affair that would make Narcissus hide in shame, Brennaman turned this into a charity opportunity.   He said that he would have his head shaved at the game on Friday evening if they could raise $20,000 for the Reds Community Fund.   At game time, they had raised over $50,000.

Just a short while ago, in front of a large and enthusiastic home crowd, Brennaman made good on his words.   Here is Reds second baseman, Brandon Phillips, rubbing the now hairless head of Marty Brennaman.

Photo courtesy of Michael E Anderson, Cincinnati Reds PR (@MANderson_PR)

That’s not quite the end of the story.  Thanks to one of my Reds twitter buddies, Kasey Beckham,I learned that the blue shirt Brennaman is wearing that says “I’m Still Me” is to raise awareness for all of the kids who have lost their hair during cancer treatment.  He was also joined by three of the most adorable youngsters who are fighting this awful disease with an amazing display of courage and dignity.   You can see the entire event here, courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds and Major League Baseball Advanced Media.  I challenge anybody to watch the last two minutes of this video and not shed a bucket of tears.  I don’t think it can be done.

I still don’t like when Marty Brennaman picks on my favorite team, but I will never be able to look at him in quite the same way.  Instead of a wise cracking homer jerk, we have seen the real person under that facade, and it is a very special person indeed.  I was wrong, Marty Brennaman is a pretty good human being after all.   And I have just given him a standing ovation.   I think you should as well.

Bravo, Marty.  Well done.    We can resume the feud tomorrow or the next day, but for right now, all I can think of are those three adorable kids and how generous the Reds fans and corporate sponsors were.   A very good day for all of baseball.

If you would like to know more about the “I’m Still Me” awareness program, please visit The Dragonfly Foundation website.   Donations can be made online.   If you are looking for something with more of a Cardinals connection, The Baby Reesa Foundation is just getting started, but might be a good choice.

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20 Responses to I’m Sorry, Marty

  1. Jeff Logullo says:

    Wow — what a great way to start the day. Thanks for this post, and for the link to the video. There’s so many things about baseball to love… and it extends way past the field and the game.

    • Thanks, Jeff. Marty Brennaman could have turned that into something of a self-promotional circus, and that would have been consistent with his on-the-air persona, but he didn’t. Gives you an interesting glimpse into the real person behind the facade. The speed in which they pulled this all together and the generosity of the Cincinnati fans and the corporate sponsors is just remarkable.

  2. Danny Thomas (Cincinnati Ohio) says:

    very nice article! It’s nice to see that, when it comes down to it, that people are just people outside the lines and out from behind the mic.

  3. Daniel F says:

    I’m a huge reds fan and Marty is an icon here. He was able to take something silly and turn it into something beautiful and charitable. I don’t think anybody expected them to raise $50,000. They were passing around donation buckets this week at gabp and everybody was donating what they could. Now they’re going to auction Marty’s hair with proceeds going to the joe nuxhall character education fund. All in all these are great days to be a reds fan and I’m proud to be one. This will be a season of many memories.

    • Thanks for the comment, Daniel. You nailed it, that could have been some kind of spectacle. And coming from the perspective of a non-Reds fan, I would have totally expected that. But to turn around what could have been an attention seeking moment (Donald Trump vs Vince MacMahon), he turned it into something wonderful and giving. The speed in which it happened also has to be part of the story. I can just imagine the conversation going something like “hey, you think we can turn this into something for the Reds fund ? Sure. Let me call the corporate sponsors and see if they’ll match. yeah, we can do this”. What was it, three days ?

      I’m reaching out to the Cardinals to see if they have any similar affiliations. They have their version of Reds Community Fund, but I’m looking for something more like The Dragonfly Foundation.

      Just amazing. As for your Reds, take good notes. I remember a couple of Cardinals seasons that had this sort of feel. Watching them play without Votto makes me think that there is something in the air other than Skyline Chili :-) Good luck to you and your Reds. We’re not giving up yet, but it’s a big hill to climb.

  4. Ria Davidson says:

    Bob, I am the co-founder of The Dragonfly Foundation. Thank you for this blog, for the plug, and for wanting to find and organization like The Dragonfly Foundation in your community. However, I can save you the trouble. Help us grow. We’d love to be on the field of the Cardinals’ stadium with local St. Louis area kids one day…. soon. We can’t move fast enough to help kids and young adults (birth to age 30) who have cancer and blood diseases. Help us care while we wait for a cure. <3

    • Lori LeMaster says:

      Perfect response Ria….there are no boundries or divisions when it comes to you or TDF’s dedication to the kids in need!

      • Ria Davidson says:

        Thanks, Lori! I figure if St. Jude’s can fundraise in Cincinnati Children’s backyard, I can fundraise in St. Louis — especially because we want to grow into other cities.

  5. Great article. Thank you, from a lifelong Reds fan.

  6. Shan says:

    Well done. Seeing appreciation from other fanbases makes me love this all the more, which is hardly possible. :)

  7. Dave Ross says:

    It takes a big person to say “I’m Sorry”! Lots of people dislike Marty here in Reds country but after his actions last night no one and I mean no one can dislike his most humane actions! I’m 47 years old and I’m not to proud to say I had tears in my eyes after Martys action! Thanks Marty

  8. Randall Bounds says:

    I enjoyed reading your article. As a die hard Reds fan from Central Illinois and never one to shy away from a good debate with what I will call my “Whinybird” neighbors, we have to put all of that aside for what Marty has done. Marty is one of the greatest baseball radio guys ever and paints the game better than anyone I’ve listened to, but he is now up there with being one of the better celebraties around. So I as a Reds fan would challenge either of the main Cardinals announcers, Mike Shannon or Al Hrabosky to do a similar action on the field with the proceeds going to a very deserving charity. Also, during Sunday afternoon’s game, the amount was doubled by a donation from Charlie Sheen.

  9. Kathy Griesinger says:

    Thank you for this very nice article. We all have our teams we’re crazy about, but off field we are the same, just people. I was there Friday, Awesome night, I too, was in tears at the end. from a Life-long Reds Fan.

  10. Pingback: Actor Charlie Sheen donates $50,000 to Reds Community Fund | reds.com: News « The Busy Post

  11. Kay Edwards says:

    Good job. Just got this link from Marty’s daughter. He is a very good guy! When you know him outside the media- he’d be your best friend. When my husband had a stroke he was a real voice of encouragement. I am forever grateful.

  12. Chris L says:

    Was great to read this ! Being a Reds fan who grew up with Marty being the baseball voice of my childhood I understandably had a pretty strong fondness for him. He’s always been this type of man but has never tried to self-publicize his charitable acts. What I saw from him Friday was beyond what even I thought was possible, especially since the planning was whirl-wind and all came together in 3 days. The moment was so touching that I cannot imagine anyone there or watching at home wasn’t moved to tears….I’m not ashamed to admit that I was big-time. I would LOVE to see this be the start of similar “events” like this in other cities! Why not in St.Louis, our cities are VERY similar, fan bases very similar, etc. Our towns are so lucky to have some of the best organizations to root for and some of the best fans rooting for them. Would be great to do something to get The Dragonfly Foundation a similar break-thru in STL and give a little hope and happiness to some very special children !! What we raised here was fantastic but I think we’ve set the bar and you guys might be able to outgun us for some great causes ! Thank you again for giving this exposure outside of Cincinnati…and for cutting Marty some slack !

    • Ria Davidson says:

      Your Quote: “Why not in St.Louis, our cities are VERY similar, fan bases very similar, etc. Our towns are so lucky to have some of the best organizations to root for and some of the best fans rooting for them. Would be great to do something to get The Dragonfly Foundation a similar break-thru in STL and give a little hope and happiness to some very special children !! ”

      Thanks, Chris!!!! (Note: For those who have not read previous posts: I am The Dragonfly Foundation Co-Founder) Our hope was:
      Year 1: Develop Programs
      Year 2: Systematize Programs
      Year 3: Move to other hospitals… At Year 2: We are a little behind… but not by much.

      Thank you for wanting to help us grow and sustain our programs.

      • chris laib says:

        Sure thing Ria! I wasn’t aware of drangonfly until Friday but have been following on the radio and twitter since. Trying to spread the word myself as well! What you guys do for those little ones is amazing!!! If I can convince even one person to take notice id consider it successful. Thank you for all you do for those little angels !!

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