Despite statements of confidence from both insiders and Bob Brenly, himself, the Cubs’ color commentator, who has been paired with Len Kasper for the last eight years, will not be returning to the Cubs’ booth in 2013.
WGN-TV, with whom Brenly was contracted through the 2012 season, announced that Brenly has told the team he will not return next year, and will seek other broadcasting opportunities. Brenly, who is thought to be the highest paid local color man in the game, is expected to at least explore the possibility of filling the color vacancy with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team he managed a decade ago.
Brenly offered a statement on the departure, wish is, of course, all class.
“Working here in Chicago was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my professional career,” Brenly’s statement said. “The Ricketts family, everyone associated with the Cubs and WGN and, most importantly, Cubs’ fans everywhere, will always be in our hearts, and Joan and I wish nothing but the best for the organization moving forward.
“I was very blessed to have the best play-by-play man in the game as my partner for eight years and Cubs’ fans are very fortunate to have Len Kasper as the voice of the Cubs. I’ll miss working with him and we look fondly toward returning to Chicago in the future.”
We don’t know right now whether it was a matter of money, a matter of Bob not wanting to have to call another 162 crummy games next year, or simply a matter of Bob wanting to go somewhere else, or WGN’s refusal to offer him more than two years (given their expiring contract with the Cubs in 2014), but this loss stings. No, Bob didn’t impact the games on the field, but he sure made watching them a heck of a lot more enjoyable.
I guess the search is on for his replacement, but it’ll be hard to find his equal. For now, let’s just thank Bob for eight great years, and wish him well.