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.
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.