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I like Bob Brenly.

I used to think he was a bit too quick to lean on the old “hey, did you know I used to manage in the big leagues” crutch when offering analysis from his seat next to Cubs’ play-by-play man Len Kasper, but either I got past it, or he did. Either way, I’m sold: Brenly is, for my money, one of the best color men in the game. And, when paired with Kasper, I think the Cubs’ TV broadcast team is among the best we Cubs fans have had in some time. (I know it’s heresy to say so now that both have gone on to rip the Cubs repeatedly in the ensuing years, but the Thom Brennaman and Steve Stone were a pretty excellent pair in their day.)

So, it is against that backdrop that we start to wonder when WGN (there is no separate deal with CSN, which obviously also carries Cubs games) will engage Brenly in serious discussions about his contract, which expires after this season. Bruce Levine recently wrote about the possibility that Brenly could be moving on for another gig, despite being the highest paid local color man in baseball (Levine says Brenly makes $900,000 per year – yo!). From Bruce:

One viable option for Brenly could be calling Arizona Diamondbacks games. Brenly, a fan favorite who managed the Diamondbacks to a 2001 World Series title, could stabilize a shaky situation on Diamondbacks broadcasts.

Arizona’s current game-calling duo of Mark Grace and Daron Sutton have had rough seasons away from the booth. In June, Sutton was suspended with pay by the Diamondbacks for “insubordination,” according to a report by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. He has not returned to the booth. Grace is taking an indefinite leave of absence from his job after his second drunken driving arrest in 15 months this week.

Not a bad guess, assuming Brenly has an affection for the Phoenix area and is willing to take the considerably step down in market size. It can’t have been fun broadcasting the Cubs over the past few years, and the near-term doesn’t look great, either (in terms of calling the game for a team in a playoff chase, I mean).

Brenly’s agent, however, tells Levine that Brenly is happy broadcasting Cubs games, and wants to continue his partnership with WGN and the Cubs for a long time.

Brenly, himself, isn’t too worried about leaving the Cubs any time soon.

“Absolutely,” Brenly told Paul Sullivan yesterday when asked about his expectations for getting a new deal done. “I have every confidence that we’ll get something done.”

Good to hear, as I think a majority of Cubs fans would like to see Brenly back. It’s always possible that Brenly could, at some point, decide he’d like to pursue another opportunity within baseball, itself. But, for now, as long as he wants to continue broadcasting, I hope it’s with the Cubs.

The length of Brenly’s next deal might be interesting, though: recall, the Cubs’ currently TV deal with WGN expires after the 2014 season, and there is a possibility that the Cubs will not be renewing that agreement, instead opting to shift more games to CSN (in exchange for a renegotiated deal there), or even trying to get started on a Cubs network, if the CSN deal can be bought out.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    I like Bob.. Way better than dumb ass Steve Stone!

  • Cubbie Blues

    there is no separate deal with CSN, which obviously also carries Cubs games

    So, how does that work?

    • Njriv

      I guess calling CSN games is also in his contract with WGN, I mean it would be kind of weird having two different pairs of commentators for WGN and CSN.

  • JR

    I like Brenly a lot. He’s a straight shooter, with many valid points. He’s not afraid to get on players when they need it. I am sure broadcasting this yrs Cubs hasn’t been the easiest gig either.

  • Dave

    I hope BB is back…he’s very knowledgeable and makes games (almost) worth watching when the Cubs are having this kind of season. Reminds me of Steve Stone, minus the snark.

    As for Len Kasper, I’m not sure how anyone could really enjoy what he does . He seems like a nice enough guy but his style is completely bland and vanilla. A hired gun who’s still wearing a Marlins 03 championship ring. (I just can’t let that go) ZZZZZZ.

    Also, Thom Brennaman can fly a kite. I don’t need uptight republican politics being blasted in my face while I watch baseball.

    • Frank

      I don’t mind Len Kasper so much, but I hate Brennaman.

    • Kurt

      Worse than uptight Republicans are panty wearing democrats that seemingly always get their ladies part hurt over trivial matters….Dave

      • Drew7

        HEY! No matter how correct you are, you should take that conversation elsewhere!

        • David

          Man, that was well done!

          • Crockett

            When did Brennaman start spouting GOP politics on air? Apparently, I missed something.

            • TWC

              A sampling:

              “Up to the plate now is Joey Votto. You’ll notice Votto has a wide open stance — wide open LIKE AMERICA’S BORDERS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH OBAMA!…”

              “Dusty Baker is managing this game pretty conservatively — because THAT’S THE ONLY WAY!…”

              “Joey Votto, originally from Canada, escaped their totalitarian health care system at a young age…”

              It’s pretty embarrassing.

              • Crockett

                Thank you for making my day, sir.

              • Flashfire

                I need to watch more Reds games…

              • hansman1982

                Wow…regardless of your politics that is pretty atrocious…

              • ron

                He could have went with the wide open stance like that republican senator!

                • TWC

                  Lulz… that one did cross my mind.

      • Dave

        When I listen/watch a baseball game, I don’t need ANY politics being hurled into game situation constantly. Do you need to look up the definition of trivial? Cause that’s not trivial when it comes to broadcasting. I know you backwards ass hayseeds HATE education but you should give it a try before running your mouth. Maybe you wouldn’t always be on the wrong end of history then? ;)

        • Chris

          When did he rant about politics? Are you thinking of Marty Brennaman? I must have missed this one too.

          • Dave

            Google is your friend. He throws political shots in all the time if you actually listen to him. He brings up his partner reading the newspaper and repsonds with “New York Times…that liberal trash rag?” He’s not shy about it.

            That’s not trivial. Doesn’t belong in a baseball booth hence why I think he’s a lousy broadcaster. Democrat/Republican/Independent, I don’t watch baseball games to hear your political insight.

            • Flashfire

              I want you think about this for a second:

              You’re saying that his conservative views don’t belong in a baseball booth because you don’t want to hear his political insight.

              And, yet, you’re espousing your liberal views on a baseball blog, and that’s no big deal.

              Just let it go.

              • Dave

                There’s a difference between a blog and national television, you know? There’s decorum. I’m very sorry if the right wingers here got butt hurt over honest conversation. We were talking about broadcasters…likes/don’t likes…I shared my opinion. On a blog. I’ve said this now many times but it’s not a Repub/Dem thing. I don’t want to hear politics DURING a baseball game. Right/Left/Center, I don’t care. There’s no place for it there.

                Now, chop-chop before you’re late for the Klan meeting, hilljack.

                • Drew7

                  “Now, chop-chop before you’re late for the Klan meeting, hilljack.”

                  -Wow…might be time to tone it down just a bit. I mean, don’t you think you’re being a little over-the-top?

                  • Dave

                    Absolutely but I’m not above petty name calling when it’s thrown at me with a gang mentality.

                    • Ogyu

                      Flashfire did not throw any names at you or do anything with a gang mentality. He just pointed out what he thought was a contradiction in the views you had expressed. I happen to agree with you that a blog and a national broadcast are very different, but that’s no reason for the klan remark.

                • TWC

                  Dave, you’re not doing yourself any great service with the sophomoric name calling, you know? It’s pretty easy to glaze right over all the germane points of an argument if the rest of the comment is peppered with insults.

                  • Dave

                    I gave up speaking intelligently awhile ago with this site. I didn’t start it with the idea of getting personal. Simply stated I don’t want to hear Brennaman’s uptight politics on the air constantly. THAT turned me into a “pantie wearing liberal” (before the comment was edited) and a douchenozzle. So maybe others should watch what they say. You want to name call, I can do it with the best, but I would rather debate the issue or let it die.

                    • BeyondFukudome

                      Hey, man, the “douchenozzle” comment was directed at Kurt, not at you. Gotta read those reply indentations more carefully! ;-)

                    • TWC

                      I gave up speaking intelligently awhile ago with this site.

                      Derp?

                      …but I would rather debate the issue or let it die.

                      Well, at this point I’d recommend the latter.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  TWC pretty much covered it, but it bears repeating: good points get completely buried by vitriol and name-calling. You could be the brightest dude making the greatest point, but the second you bust out the “Klan meeting, hilljack” stuff, your entire comment gets filed in the circular receptacle in folks’ minds. Clean it up, and we all are better for it.

        • Crockett

          Jesus, calm down.

      • BeyondFukudome

        Yea, not like you get get sand in your vag over trivial stuff, do you, douchenozzle?

      • stillmisskennyhubbs

        This site is getting off the tracks lately with comments like that. It’s becoming tiresome to see what was once a solid baseball site leaning towards being a chest-beating MLB comment site.

  • Gabriel

    I would be fairly devastated if Bob Brenly left the Len & the Cubs. I know they aren’t perfect, but I genuinely LOVE Len & Bob as a team, and they do a great job of tracking the game, sharing anecdotes, & educating the audience on other elements of the game (i.e. Sunday Sabermetrics on WGN).

    Bob is a smart, fun, and humble former player/manager who I believe is the perfect fit for Cubs broadcasts – glad he wants to come back!

  • Chris

    I always thought Steve Stone was the best color man in the business, and I hated how Hendry/Baker pushed him out of the booth. But Kasper and Brenly have been such a good pairing. While things like his disdain for Aramis Ramirez are sometimes an annoyance, I love the way he calls things like he sees them. And he does so without going off the handle like Hawk on the south side of town. They should keep Brenly as long as he wants to announce games, and Kasper should be the voice of the broadcast the next 20 years.

  • jim

    Bob Brenly IS a good man & does an
    excellent job for the CUBS! He does
    tell it like it is & is NOT afraid to back
    down on the truth! GOD BLESS!
    p.s. Hopefully, next year, the CUBS
    will be competitive!

    2nd P.S. GO IRISH! BEAT NAVY!

  • AZCubsFan

    I think they get it done. I think Bob is hoping he is in the booth when and if his son gets a chance.

    • Spriggs

      Well, there certainly aren’t very many good catchers standing in Michael’s way. I would love to see it.

      • AZCubsFan

        Bob has probably seen the catching thin ranks and I am guessing that is what keeps him here. Also if things dont work out with Dale maybe he would come out of the booth and manage Michael. Would be cool to see…….as long as the Cubs are winning that is.

  • D17FUZZ

    I could care less who’s broadcasting as long as in a couple years they start winning!!!

  • Steve

    Bob is a great color guy and we need to lock him up.

  • Luke D

    Maybe we could make a deal with Arizona…trade Brenly for Grace, maybe eat some of the salary to get a better return?

  • Drew7

    I have to say, Bob Brenly has grown on me the past couple of years. What has impressed me the most is his open-minded approach to advanced-metrics. All too often you hear former players/managers discount the “new-school” approach to performance evaluation (I’m talking about YOU, Steve Stone!).

  • Njriv

    I love Len and Bob as well as Pat Hughes. Pat Hughes has the best voice for radio. I think Len and Bob are a very good pairing, I grew up with Chip and Stone but I cannot handle Stone and more and I dislike Tom Brennaman as well, his voice sends chills down my spine and triggers terrible flashbacks.

  • DrCub1908

    Used to love Stoney, Brenley is the best…I can pass on Len. He’s professional, but I loved Tom Brenaman and was even a Chip Carray fan…Len needs to “pretend” to be a Cubs fan and excited. Hope Brenley is back…

    why don’t they in today’s world of technology sync up the radio and tv broadcasts and have one group do them both ?

    • Pat

      It’s actually more difficult to sync today than it would have been 30 years ago. Cable, satellite, and HD on each run at different delays. You could simulcast the TV booth on radio though. I think the Dodgers still do that with Sculley.

  • Spriggs

    Tom Brennaman and Milo Hamilton were the only two Cubs announcers that I really, really disliked. A tossup there.

    I like Lenny, but if Brenly goes, Lenny has to be gone too. His saving grace is that he does team up well with Bob. Brenly is really good – and a very likeable dude.

  • Kevin

    The only way I’m happy if Brenly leaves the Cubs broadcasting booth is if he takes over as the Cubs manager. I hope Bob is on Theo’s short list of candidates.

  • Windy City Misfit

    Just my two cents …

    Bye Bob.

  • cubs1967

    we want Grace!………..nothing better then having him spell names backwards having a few ala Harry………and then Gracie can walk back to his Wrigleyville condo…..no more driving.
    Brenly is good………..but time for a change.

  • Tommy

    I’d take Steve Stone back in a heartbeat.

    • Steve

      I’d take him back also. I was a huge SS fan.

  • fortyonenorth

    How does this work? Are Len/Bob employed by the Cubs or do they cut separate deals with WGN/CSN? If it’s the latter, do they have accountability to the Cubs? I would prefer an announcer with “journalistic independence” — and you get some of that objectivity from Bob. It rubs me the wrong way when the team or MLB seek to muzzle the announcers, e.g. Hawk.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Technically, they contract with WGN. But WGN and the Cubs are related entities (WGN is owned by the Tribune, and the Tribune still holds a 5% stake in the Cubs), so I’m sure there’s some collaboration there. And, frankly, because of the nature of the job, I’m sure the Cubs are involved there somehow anyway. No one’s ever spelled it out that I’ve seen.

      • Chris

        Didn’t WGN and CSN pick different announcers to replace Steve Stone the first time he left due to illness? Joe Carter and Dave Otto, depending on the channel. Brenly runs circles around those two guys. I don’t remember the exact play or player he was referring to, but Joe Carter actually used the phrase “shot his wad” on air during a game. He had NO idea what he was saying. Great example of why not all ex-ball players can be color commentators.

  • ReiCow

    I loved Bob back when he broadcasted for the Padres (I lived in San Diego at the time), which was before he managed the DBacks. With the passing of Ronnie, he is my favourite Cubs “voice” right now, and I hope he sticks around for a long time.

    Moo.

  • Myles

    I basically want anything that gets us closer to a Cubs Network. It is perhaps the largest step to increasing revenues by a TON.

    • hansman1982

      then we wouldn’t have to worry about missing out on How I Met Your Mother because of a Cubs game…DVR them both!!!!

    • Pat

      With the TV deals being thrown around these days, I’m not sure a Cubs Network would generate more money than locking into a high priced long term deal. They would likely lose money on the non game programming.

  • Deer

    Bob is probably being asked to take a pay cut since ratings are way down since the last time he signed his deal right? Obviously, ratings aren’t his fault, but still..

  • Spencer

    His son being in the Cubs system may also be a big factor in him staying for a few more years.

    • Chris

      It’s highly likely his son won’t make it past AA, let alone AAA. Not sure this plays a role. I’m guessing the $900k is a bigger factor…

      • Spencer

        I’m not saying necessarily that he’ll get to see his son play at Wrigley, but the Cubs let him take an extended vacation to let him go see him play in their minor league system this year. Would other teams do that? Maybe. But it’s more convenient that he calls games for the same organization that his son plays for.

  • BlackMaskReplica

    I would be more happy with Bob if he would take a few minutes each game to talk to us about catching. I think that would be an improvement.

  • Crockett

    I love Bob. I love Len.

    I don’t understand how any Cub fan who really understands baseball and enjoys a colorful, funny broadcast could want either of them gone.

    I have Extra Innings and live in Denver, and get to hear MANY other duos. Outside of the SFG’s duo there is NOT a better tandem in the big leagues. Cub fans are very, very lucky.

    • SirCub

      If only Steve Stone weren’t holding the Hawk down…

      • Fishin Phil

        Ha!

    • TWC

      I’ll readily agree that the Giants have a helluva broadcast duo. Jon Miller is as outstanding as they get.

      • Spencer

        I miss him on Sunday Night Baseball. Not that I watch it much, because it’s always Yankees or Red Sox, but he was good. Joe Morgan, not so much

  • florida Al

    stones an ass..too smug…and he thinks hes the best and he WAS an average pitcher with one good yr…all i can say is BRENLY BRENLY BRENLY im a big bb fan

  • jstraw

    A Len & Bob call is a nine inning conversation between two pros with a real rapport and regard for one another and their audience. They make horrible games enjoyable.

    • hansman1982

      That is what I LOVED about Pat and Ron – it was like going to the game with a couple of friends and how you can tell Pat is rooting for the Cubs but is NOT over the top is amazing (I am looking at you Mr. Yankees announcingdouche)!

  • cb4

    I don’t mind him, if he’d stop harping on instant replay. It’s so annoying.

    TBH, I feel like all MLB announcers on local broadcasts for the most part are so cookie cutter. If you watch games on other fox sports affiliates, you can actually predict what is going to be said/done at certain points of the game.

    I miss having uniqueness.

    I miss Haray most of all.

  • Matty V

    I think Len and Bob do a great job and would love to see them together for many more years. I was a huge Steve Stone fan, and if he ever left the dark side and came back over, I’d love him again. I feel sorry for him that he has to put up with Hawk’s incoherent babbling. I just can’t get past Thom Brennaman’s disdain for all things Cubs. He must have really gotten messed over by them/WGN when he left for him to be as negative as he is about the Cubs. I personally liked the one season that Josh Lewin did some play by play for the Cubs. He was pretty young and raw at the time, but I like the way he calls a game.

    • jstraw

      Josh Lewin remains to this day, the worst broadcaster I’ve ever tried to listen to.

      • Flashfire

        Joe Carter.

        “What are the keys to today’s game, Joe?”
        “Well, Skip, generally, I think the team that gets more runs will probably win the game. But you can never tell. Baseball is a funny game.”

      • hardtop

        i dont recall josh lewin, but there is absolutely no possible way he is worse than Kenneth S. Harrelson (the S is for Shit). He is not only a disgrace to baseball announcers, he’s a disgrace to the human race.

    • Flashfire

      He got a really raw deal. He was let go because he wanted to take Sundays off to do national telecasts for Fox NFL. The Trib wouldn’t let him because they needed to maintain consistency in their announcers. This was while an ailing Harry Carey was missing whole road trips. (Otherwise known as the Wayne Larravee years.)

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