Marty Brennaman is a disgrace

Redleg Stats Blog (via BTF) has a pretty extraordinary transcript of Reds’ broadcaster Marty Brennaman unloading on a fan who dares to defend Adam Dunn:

Caller: People here don’t realize that Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn don’t get paid $12 million to hit .300. They get paid to hit home runs; that’s it.
Marty: No, they get paid to drive in runs, is what they get paid to do.
Caller: And hit home runs.
Marty: No, unh-uh. Home runs are incidental. It’s run production that they are going to get paid for. Adam Dunn hits 40 home runs and barely reaches a hundred RBI’s.
Caller: But, if you’re going to talk about potential run production, look at his on-base.
Marty: (angrily) I don’t care about—I don’t care about his on-base! I get so blasted tired hearing some people talk to me about Adam Dunn’s on-base percentage. Adam Dunn ain’t paid to walk. Adam Dunn’s paid to hit home runs and drive in runs for God’s sake, and they can take off, uh, they can take off the walks, and you’re out of here! (hangs up)
. . .
Marty: We are heading toward a break. Don’t call and talk to me about Adam Dunn’s on-base percentage–
Thom: You sure?
Marty: –because it pushes my hot button.
Thom: I would have never known.
Marty: I’m tired of hearing about how many times he walks. He was paid to hit home runs, paid to drive in runs. He homers; he doesn’t drive in runs.
Thom: You know, you’re too old to get worked up like this.

You should read the BTF comment thread for the micro breakdown of Brennaman’s statistical ignorance. For my part, I’m far more disturbed by just how much Brennaman seems to hate Adam Dunn and why he feels he needs to constantly voice this in public even after the guy has left the team.

Being in Ohio and listening to a lot of Reds games over the past decade has brought Brennaman’s hatred of Adam Dunn specifically — and the Reds at large — into clear relief. And it is hate. Brennaman is way past the point of telling tough truths about players, and now he’s simply bitter. Day in and day out, he sounds like a man who truly hates his job, and truly hates the Reds. He hates that after having been able to watch the Big Red Machine in the 70s and some pretty darn respectable Reds’ teams in the 80s and into the mid 90s, he’s had to watch a mostly bad team play for the past decade. What’s worse, he’s not professional enough to put that disappointment aside and simply do his job like Skip Caray and Herb Score any number of other announcers of bad teams have done over the years.

While in many cases I’d be content to sit back and laugh at a broadcaster’s ignorance and pettiness, Brennaman’s stature is such in the Cincinnati market that he is probably killing off a generation of Reds’ fans with his anger and bitterness. Indeed, if in the late 70s I had tuned in to WJR and heard Ernie Harwell talking angry smack about Dave Rozema and Steve Kemp, I probably would have wondered why I was wasting my time with the Tigers and tuned out.

Yes, I realize that Marty Brennaman is supposed to be a legend in these parts, and I’d never want to listen to a broadcaster who sounds like he’s working for Pravda, but at what point does Reds’ management get fed up with the voice of the team constantly and unreasonably denigrating the product?

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

So … he said, “No [‘they get paid to hit home runs’],” but then he says, “He was paid to hit home runs.” Hmmm.

Craig Calcaterra
13 years ago

Mark, please don’t muddy the waters with your logic and consistency.  Can’t we all agree that Adam Dunn is history’s greatest monster, kill his children in his presence so he knows his seed is gone from the earth, and then dispatch with him soon after?

Zach Sanders
13 years ago

This reminds me of Bill Plaschke of the LA Times openly blasting Paul DePodesta’s methods for building the Dodgers, yet not understanding a thing about what DePo was doing.

If you don’t know what you are talking about, shut your mouth!

-Zach Sanders

The Common Man
13 years ago

It really is strange the amount of emotional investment Brennaman seems to have in his hatred of Dunn and the rest of the Reds.  I mean, if I don’t like somebody, even a guy on my team (Twins), I just don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them.  It’s really quite sad if Brennaman is stewing and obsessing over this as much as he seems to be.  How old is Brennaman anyway?  Shouldn’t he be trying to enjoy his few remaining years?

The Common Man

13 years ago

I know how he feels.  Some statistics just get your blood-a-boiling.  Fun fact.  Everytime someone does a regression analysis, I kick a puppy.

Alex K
13 years ago

Why don’t Adam Dunn defenders realize that it is his fault people weren’t on base when he hit those home runs (which he is not paid to do).

13 years ago

I would say this discussion pretty much sums up the feelings that people in Cincinnati have for Adam Dunn.  Some people love him, and think he is a great player, and others(the majority)  hate him and refuse to look at any other stat than strikeouts and batting average and talk about how terrible his defense is. 

I really think it is a product of him making the most money on the team, and the team is terrible, so he must be causing the team to be terrible.  I think people will miss Adam Dunn this year when the Reds struggle to score runs.

13 years ago

Craig, don’t forget burn down his house, skin his puppy, and accuse him of not loving baseball.

13 years ago

Got to see Adam Dunn play for a few weeks with Arizona. The slugging was nice, but what a lazy player! Always walking to first base. Just walk, walk, walk! Wouldn’t even swing the bat at pitches he didn’t like. What? He’s too good for them?

When many of our young players were swinging as hard as they could at every pitch they saw, it was great to see a player with Dunn’s discipline. His stats are a little odd, but I really enjoyed watching him play. Sometimes, it’s the oddly successful batters who make things interesting. It’s disappointing that Marty Brennaman doesn’t seem to see it.

Jason @ IIATMS
13 years ago

+1 for Max.  That was plain funny.

I have been listening to MLB Home Plate on XM today.  I’ve heard the rant by Brennaman and it’s mystifying.  Like you guys have said, I can’t figure out why he can’t let it go.  Different players bring certain things to a team and I guess Dunn’s OBP, HR, RBI, R aren’t as good as others. 

I’d happily take him on my team.

13 years ago

I don’t think this episode, at its root, is even about the old school media vs “new” statistics.  Because Brennaman rips the caller for talking about homeruns and then says it’s Dunn’s job to hit homeruns.

Like Craig said, this guy is just bitter.  I don’t think I would even want my kid to listen to this guy.

13 years ago

I always thought Pat Burrell was history’s greatest monster.

13 years ago

Having gown up with the Reds and Brennamen and Nuxhall filling the night air on the radio, I have witnessed this slowly building hatred Marty has.  He is now a bitter old man and nobody has the guts to stand up to him.  Because of him Dunn was run out of town.  The people who can’t form their own opinions blindly followed what he has said about Dunn.

Simply put, the point of the game is to get on base, any means necessary.  Adam Dunn did this better than any player on the team in recent history, yet he will always be a goat because a bitter old man who is considered “the voice” of the Reds has told everyone to hate him.

Now, I grew up loving listening to Marty.  Maybe I can see his frustrations because of the quality of play in the organization, but his hatred for Dunn is unjust.  I would take Dunn back on this team in a second.  Burrell does not compare to him.

13 years ago

Marty should move to Kansas City. They’ve never heard of on base percentage.

Him and Dayton Moore would be best buddies.

13 years ago

Long story short, Marty hasn’t been the same since Joe moved on.

In order for his “tell it like it is” schtick to work, he has to have some sunshine (Nuxhall) in the booth to lighten the mood.

Brantley and Thom are basically poor imitations of Marty, so the negativity just feeds upon itself, and listening to Reds broadcasts, you’d think they were covering the Bataan death march or something. Which is really sad.

Then you add the fact that the only sports columnist in town (Daugherty) hates Dunn and statistics as well. Oh, and he hosts the major sports call-in show to boot.

13 years ago

Everyone here is worried about stats. OBP, HR, RBI, R, batting average mean nothing when you have a cancer like Dunn in your locker room. His pure laziness is what made most Reds Fans angry. That is what infuriates Marty. People do not understand baseball. All they see is a guy who hits homeruns and that is what they want. How many winning seasons did the reds have with Dunn? If he is a difference maker, what happen in 2006 season during the month of September? I for one am glad to have a hall of famer to listen to every day in the summer and respectfully disagree with everyone else’s opinion about Marty. I had to watch Dunn everyday when he was with the reds and I was glad to see him traded.

Big Country
13 years ago

We can argue his statistical value all we want, WE WEREN’T WINNING with him.  We’ve had him up to the majors since 2001 and have yet to sniff the postseason. 

He’s the only everyday player still remaining from that era on the team and it clearly wasn’t working.  We trade him to Arizona, and pennant contending club, and what happens?  They miss the playoffs.  He will probably last a lot longer if he ends up in the AL being a DH, but as an everyday fielder he is just as much a liability as he is a help with his offense. 

We’ll be fine without him, and Marty is spot on, as always.

Big Country
13 years ago

Correction-WAS the only everyday player left on the team.

Craig Calcaterra
13 years ago

Big Country: by your logic, Don Mattingly was the reason the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs between 1982 and 1994.

Dunn was not a perfect player.  He wasn’t even the best player he could have been given his potential.  But he was far from the Reds’ biggest problem since he came up, and for much of his tenure in Cincinnati, he was the most valuable offensive player on the team.

13 years ago

I was thrilled to see him go.  He was a terrible defensive player and a very poor mentor for young players in the way he carried himself.  I don’t think he makes any attempt whatsoever to improve his game; he’s happy hitting 40 HRs and whatever else happens, who cares?  At 275 or more, he’s a year or two away from being out of this league due to his increasing waistline

Big Country
13 years ago

Craig, PLEASE tell me you’re not comparing Adam Dunn to Don Mattingly. 

As far as him being the best offensive player on the team, I would disagree strongly, minus MAYBE ONE year and can do so year by year.

2001-Dmitri Young or Sean Casey
2002-Austin Kearns until he got hurt
2003-Jose Guillen or Sean Casey
2004-Sean Casey
2006-MAYBE Dunn, but probably Brandon Phillipps
2007-Phillips or Jr.

Also, when he and junior left the Reds didn’t our Winning Pct. improve?

13 years ago

I don’t mind my announcers telling the truth about a team when it’s a bad team but I want them to understand the truth before oppening their mouths.  In this case their is a misunderstanding of the truth.

13 years ago

Marty is 100% correct though…I, in no way shape or form, hate Adam Dunn personally.  But to get straight to the point, why does his OBP matter??  Who is going to drive him in?  What good is a 275lb donkey on the bases?  He is supposed to be the RBI guy.  So he walks.  Now what?  Plus he looks at pitches he could go the other way with.  Its no suprise noone has signed the guy yet.

Craig Calcaterra
13 years ago


Making an out is the worst thing a batter can do. On base percentage is, by definition, a measure of NOT making outs.  Getting on base, therefore, is the best thing a batter can do.

RBIs, on the other hand, are completely dependent on your teammates.  No matter how good someone is and no matter how hard they try, they cannot drive in runners who are not on base.

As I said above: Adam Dunn is not a perfect player.  But to criticize a guy for getting on base and for not getting RBIs is completely backwards, because one of those things (OBP) is something the batter can control and the other (RBI) is not.

13 years ago

The real tragedy here is that Marty makes Thom Brennaman look good in comparison.  And I cannot accept any scenario where Thom is made to look good.