OBSERVATIONS: Of Thom Brennaman and Fernando Tatis Jr.

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while sitting in my La-Z-Boy thinking about Thom Brennaman and Fernando Tatis Jr.

—It is difficult to defend Reds/Fox broadcaster Thom Brennaman for his open mic homophobic slur during Wednesday’s Cincinnati Reds-Kansas City doubleheader.

And this is no attempt to spread butter over the incident. He said it and he must wear it and he is paying a steep price — loss of job and loss of reputation.

His on-air apology was heartfelt and heart-tugging to hear. But he probably shouldn’t have said, “That’s not who I am,” because what he said about the LGBTQ+ community indicates differently.

There are those who disliked Brennaman’s broadcast approach because he talked incessantly and talked so much about things not happening on the field. To each his own, but Thom is passionate about what he does.

I have known Thom Brennaman since he was a kid. He and my son, Brian, are the same age. For a few years, when Thom’s father, Marty Brennaman, and I were at spring training with the Reds, Thom and Brian were there, too.

And they were ornery together, pulling harmless pranks on people and generally having a good time together. Both were precocious.

The thing is, off the air Thom Brennaman is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Every time he saw me he would ask either, “How’s Brian doing,” or “How are you feeling,” ore “How’s the family?”

He is a heavy-duty dog lover and anybody who loves dogs can’t be all bad and is on the same level with my love for dogs. Thom was devoted to helping place dogs and cat with permanent homes.

Never will I condone what Thom said. But we’ve all made major mistakes in our lives, but our mistakes aren’t generally heard by tens of thousands of people.

It is sad that Thom has to lose a job he loves so much. For him, it is the ultimate punishment. But it is something the Reds had to do.

Somewhere, down the road, he may get another chance. Personally, I hope he does. He is a good person who made a horrendous and horrible mistake, revealing something about himself that too many is unforgivable.

—San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. swung at at a 3-and-0 pitch and hit a grand slam home run when the Padres led the Texas Rangers by seven runs. The next pitch, thrown by Ian Gibault, whizzed behind Manny Machado’s head, a message that the Rangers didn’t appreciate Tatis swinging at 3-and-0 with a seven-run lead.

Say what?

I don’t often agree with the tweets of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer, but I stand right behind him on this one:

“Hey, Fernando Tatis:
1)Keep swinging 3-0 if you want to, no matter what the game situation is.

2)Keep hitting homers, no matter what the situation is.

3)Keep bringing energy and flash to baseball and making it fun.

4)The only thing you did wrong was apologize. Stop that.”

Not swinging at 3-and-0 pitches with a big lead is another of those foolish ‘Unwritten Rules’ in baseball. Hey, if you don’t want him to swing, don’t throw the ball down the middle.

One question, though. Wonder what Bauer would have done if it happened to him?

LA’s Dave Lopes once swung at a 3-and-0 pitch and hit a three-run home run when the Dodgers led the Cincinnati Reds, 14-2. The next time he batted, pitcher Dave Tomlin threw four pitches over his head, missing him all four times.

So what was Lopes supposed to do, give away the at bat and strike out? Ridiculous. Lopes’ reaction? “Manager Tommy Lasorda gave me the hit-away sign.”

And how about this one? In the last 10 years, teams have come from behind to win 60 times in the last two innings when it trailed by eight or more runs.

So, Mr. Tatis. Swing away. As pitcher David Price once said, “If you don’t like it, pitch better.”

—Speaking of pitching better, Minnesota’s Kenta Maeda took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Milwaukee and set a club record by striking out eight in a row.

Did he get the no-hitter? No, Eric Sogard pushed Maeda’s 115th pitch into right field for a hit. Did he get the win? No, after giving up the hit, Maeda was taking out with a 3-0 lead.

The Brewers tied it, 3-3, before the Twins won, 4-3, in 12 innings.

—Tom Browning is a legendary for his perfect game in September of 1988. But another Reds pitcher came within one strike of a perfect game in May of 1988.

Ron “The True Creature” Robinson retired the first 26 Montreal Expos and was 2-and-2 on pinch-hitter Wallace Johnson. Robinson flipped in a curve ball and Johnson lined it to left field for a single.

And the next batter, Tim Raines, ripped a home run, cutting Robinson’s lead to 3-2. John Franco came in to save Robby’s victory.

Robinson lived and died with a breaking ball and threw it so much that when he left the game he could not straighten his right arm.

8 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Of Thom Brennaman and Fernando Tatis Jr.”

  1. You hit the nail on the head, Hal. Thom’s apology made it worse (“That’s not who I am.”) That’s exactly who you are–at least own up to it. I still would have disagreed with his beliefs, but if Thom would have said, “I apologize for what I said, I know it offended many and it has no place in a public broadcast, but my personal belief is that homosexuality is morally wrong,” I would have at least respected him for his honesty. Thom and Marty (in his day) used the public mic to espouse their personal (non-sports-related) opinions. That type of behavior is unacceptable and should not be rewarded. If the Reds reinstate Thom, they are complicit in this behavior.

  2. Hal,
    It is sad. Where does he go to resurrect his career.
    Nice family. Nice ND graduate wife.
    I hope Chris doesn’t get implicated in any way.

  3. PC is quite out of hand.

    Best for Thom. I am glad I stopped watching/listening to the Reds after the opening day on field pre-game disrespects. My family has military service history dating back to the Civil War, and my late father carried the affects of WW-II Army Air Corps wounds for the rest of his life.

    I’d like to share my position with Votto face to face.

    Just the way I feel about it.

    Thom has something I don’t, a gift to be a broadcaster.

  4. PC Cultural Marxism is completely out of control. Lots of things may be said; lots of things can’t be said. The standard is a double standard.

  5. Good people say and do stupid things all the time. I have no idea if Brennaman is a good person, Hal, but you’re a good judge of character. There’s is no defending hateful speech. People who think this is a case of political correctness run amuck should walk in the shoes of those on the receiving end of disrespectful speech. Mr. Brennaman will pay dearly for what he said, and he should, but he, like all of us, deserves a shot at redemption. I hope he earns it and makes amends.

  6. I guess I have known Thom about as long as Hal. Not only had continued to run into him at Reds games but also had a number of Fox NFL games at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. I have always known Thom as a kind, very professional person with a great family. Did the Reds and Fox have to do what they did – probably so. My question is their motivation based on their sensitivity of the comment or more importantly how it affects their bottom line – sponsorships. I feel his apology is sincere and i hope he does land back into the broadcast booth some where. Everyone deserves a second chance.

    Thanks for your comments, Hal.

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