Vaught's Views: Brennaman says Reds have to be better this year

February 09, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Ask Marty Brennaman a question and count on an honest, often blunt, answer. That's what makes the Cincinnati Reds radio play-by-play announcer so much fun to listen to during a long baseball season - he says exactly what he sees and feels.

With another baseball season rapidly approaching, Brennaman is sure the Reds will be better this year.

"I think they will be a better team, but the one I watched the last two months of last year was the worst major league team I've ever seen," said Brennaman. "If all their best players are healthy and get to play about 140 games, they will be better."

Brennaman knows the Reds have not significantly addressed their biggest problem: starting pitching. He does think Cory Lidle, who threw 192 2/3 innings for Toronto last year will help. After that, the staff remains a guess.

But count the Hall of Fame broadcaster as a fan of both manager Dave Miley and general manger Dan O'Brien.


Start with Miley, who was named interim manager last year when Bob Boone was fired and then got the job on a permanent basis during the off-season. He worked in the Reds' minor league system for years and is popular with players.

"I loved Bob Boone, but he was not a good manager," Brennaman said. "(Former Reds manager) Sparky Anderson used to put the lineup on the wall and get out of the way. That's the way Miley is. One of the great decisions this team made was to bring him back. I hope this team overachieves so he can keep his job."

Brennaman was not a fan of former general manager Jim Bowden.

"O'Brien is a hell of a lot better than what they had," Brennaman said. "I was never a fan of Jim Bowden. They've got a guy now who is honest, ethical and up front. Bowden was not any of that. O'Brien has revamped the scouting department. He knows the only way for a small market team to win is to develop its own talent."

Brennaman also offered opinions on a variety of other subjects:

* Sean Casey.

The first baseman hit .291 last year and led the Reds in games played (147), at bats (573), runs (71), hits (167), total bases (234), RBIs (80) and multi-hit games (42). Yet Brennaman would trade him and would love to see a veteran like Fred McGriff signed by the Reds.

"I would trade Sean Casey. I love him to death, but corner infielders need to be able to hit home runs and drive in runs," Brennaman said. "Give me a first baseman that hits .270 with 30 home runs and drives in 100-plus runs. Sean Casey just cannot do that."

* Pete Rose.

Brennaman thinks Rose did "irreparable harm" to himself with his recent book and acknowledgment that he had lied for years by denying he bet on baseball.

"Everything with Pete is money. Pete had to get a million dollars for the book. He had to have $100,000 for the Sports Illustrated cover," Brennaman said.

"I think the commissioner will eventually make him eligible for the Hall of Fame, but he won't get enough votes from the baseball writers to get in. If not, then it goes to the veterans, and there's not a chance in hell they will put him in the Hall of Fame.

"Pete does not have a clue about things. He's not very bright. He's taken terrible advice. To me, he's one of the great American tragedies."

* Austin Kearns.

"If there was an Austin Kearns fan club, I would be the president," Brennaman said of the outfielder from Lexington. "I would take my chances with him every day against anybody. He can hit .300, drive in 100 runs and have 30 home runs easy if he's healthy. He's a classy kid."

* Lexington baseball.

With the recent sale of the Lexington Legends, expectations are that the city might eventually get a AA franchise.

"If Lexington rose to the AA level, then the Reds would have to be awfully interested in having a team there," Brennaman said.

* Joe Nuxhall.

Brennaman's partner in the radio booth wiil work 80 games this year before retiring after the season.

"He's scaling back, but they have given him 20 extra games," Brennaman said. "He wants to do half the games, with an equal number of road and home games. Whoever they bring in to do the rest of the games will be my permanent partner in 2005."

* Broadcasting Kentucky basketball.

"I will be 62 in July, and now I just basically recharge my batteries in the offseason," Brennaman said. "The only thing I would ever do is come back and do Kentucky basketball games if I was asked. I've never been treated better than when I was there.

"I have great affection for UK. That's the only thing I would ever consider coming back and doing."

Brennaman worked on the UKTV network in 1988 and 1989.

"I loved that job and the people of Kentucky. If they ever wanted me back, all they would have to do is ask," Brennaman said.

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