Adam Black, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
Red hats pointed to the press box, and Marty Brennaman sat in disbelief Thursday, as he signed off the air for the last time.
“I was shocked,” the 46-season Cincinnati Reds Sports Broadcaster said.
Since his start in 1974 Brennaman has been coming through sports fans radios, announcing praises and sometimes unpopular criticisms about the team and players. Thursday, he earned a salute from that very team after the game.
“I was not expecting that at all,” Brennaman said. “I have always called it like it is and, in this business, sometimes that makes players very unhappy.”
Although the Reds lost their final home game Thursday, there was still a celebration on the field for Brennaman as fans wished the broadcaster good luck in his retirement.
“When I got up Thursday morning, I knew it was going to be an interesting day. I didn’t realize how interesting it was actually going to be,” Brennaman said. “At the end of the day, it was over and above anything that I expected and over and above anything I deserved.”
Fans of Brennaman came out in full support wearing T-shirts, holding signs, looking for autographs and just being present for his final sign off at the ball field.
“If anyone was going to give back anything, it should have been me giving it to the fans,” Brennaman said.
Brennaman shared stories with his fans after the game at what was called the Marty Party and met with fans on the baseball field. Brennaman recalled the start of his career when he first signed on with the Reds and working with the Big Red Machine which was the 1975 and 76 teams that won World Series championships.
“I was so new at the time I could not recognize the greatness of those teams,” Brennaman said. “My favorite team would have to be the 1990 team, they came along and weren’t expected to beat anyone and won first place on opening night and never vacated it, and that team became the first team since division play started in 1969 to go wire to wire.”
Brennaman also shared that he believed the 1990 team was one of the greatest teams with the best chemistry.
“That team, it made no difference if you were white, African American, Hispanic, everybody had everybody’s back,” Brennaman said. “That team was my favorite out of the 46 teams I have worked with.”
Now that Thursday’s game is well in the rear-view mirror, Brennaman along with his wife Amanda are ready to travel the world and mark a few things off their bucket list.
“The three things I would like to do is go to the Master Golf Tournament, the Indy 500 and the Kentucky Derby,” Brennaman said. “They’re sporting events I would like to say I have been to once.”
Through the past several season's many readers in the Ashland area have been following Brennaman through his wife’s column in The Greater Ashland Beacon called The Brennaman Report. Readers were able to follow Amanda and Marty Brennaman through their time traveling with the team and the trials and tribulations of everyday life working with the team.
“It has become something very special. Not only am I married to the City of Ashland because of my marriage to Amanda, but our lives have become somewhat of an open book that readers can read about once a week during the baseball season,” Brennaman said. “Ashland has welcomed me with open arms, and I enjoy coming to Ashland and seeing people I have come to know, to me, it’s like a second home.”
With retirement in full swing now, the couple have several trips planned.
“There are states I have never been to since I only traveled to baseball cities. I am looking forward to seeing those,” Brennaman said. “We also have plans to go on some cruises and travel to where I grew up and got my first broadcaster job.”
While Brennaman said retiring was easy, he knows that when the season starts again in the spring, it will be hard for him.
“For 46 seasons, I have always been a part of that,” Brennaman said. “It will be very weird for me when it starts this year, and I won’t be going back.”
Brennaman said he will miss the people and the fans he worked with the most.
“We had a great team there, and I enjoyed working with them,” Brennaman said. “The thing I have to give credit the most to, though, is the fans. They have allowed me to come onto their radios and into their homes every game and have been so loyal to me. Without them, I would have none of this, and I am truly grateful for them.”