I’m still digesting the reality that Bob Brenly will not be in the booth for the Cubs next year. It’s easy to feel like, on the one hand, it isn’t really a big deal – Bob doesn’t play in the games, he doesn’t pick the players, he doesn’t set the lineups.

But, still.

This is the guy who, together with Len Kasper, at least on the television side, has been one of the primary vehicles by which we’ve taken in Cubs games. He’s been a huge part of what it is to “watch a Cubs game” for the last eight years. I enjoyed his candor, his insight, his humor, and his ability to make terrible baseball watchable.

The only solace I’ll take in Bob’s departure is that, eight years ago, I was almost disconsolate that Steve Stone was leaving. At the time, I thought it impossible that anyone could adequately replace Stone as the Cubs’ color man, let alone surpass him.

Today, I think it is impossible that anyone could adequately replace Brenly. Let’s hope lightning strikes twice.

As for the rest of the Cubs world, they’re still digesting the departure, too. Among the relevant items …

  • Brenly, himself, offered some more thoughts on his time with the Cubs, per the Tribune: “It was great fun. It was the experience of a lifetime in my professional career, as much ridiculous fun as is humanly possible. The people I worked with, the crew and everyone were all great. I was grateful for the chance and the joy of working at Wrigley Field. And I was extremely fortunate to work with Len Kasper, who undoubtedly is one of the best play-by-play men in the game.”
  • Brenly’s now-former partner Len Kasper said he was “bummed” by the news (again, per the Tribune): “Lots of great moments to cover, a ton of laughs on and off the air as well. Today is certainly a reminder of how fleeting life is. I wish just the bad stuff were fleeting, but the good stuff is too. Wherever he goes, his next partner hit the jackpot …. I don’t doubt there will be a huge group of incredibly talented people who will apply for the job, which I think is the best job in baseball. Whoever gets it will be welcomed with open arms and we will carry on. But Bob’s stamp on our booth and our broadcasts is a permanent one.”
  • Bruce Levine follows the theme, and sounds a little bummed about the loss of Brenly.
  • Paul Sullivan listed a number of possible replacements, as did Bruce Levine. Sullivan names Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliffe, Todd Hollandsworth, Kerry Wood, Steve Lyons, Steve Stone, Eric Karros, Sarge Matthews and Darrin Jackson. Levine lists Hollandsworth, Stone, Wood, Sutcliffe, Keith Moreland, and Dave Campbell. I’m surprised that neither mentioned Mitch Williams, Dan Plesac or Doug Glanville, because I’d think they’d each get some consideration. Early thoughts: Grace and Wood seem like non-starters, Stone seems unlikely to come back, and guys like Moreland, Hollandsworth and Glanville might be a touch green.
  • Brenly was the highest paid local color man in the game (according to multiple reports, Brenly was making $900K per year), so it’s not as though the budget isn’t there to bring in a top name. That, however, isn’t absolutely necessary, of course. Just someone good. Please, someone good.
  • Speaking of which, there are likely to be growing pains, even if the choice is a seasoned vet. Maybe 2013 is going to be rebuilding on all levels.
  • Fastball

    I would love to see Millar but there is no way he leaves MLB network. He is probably banking over there. He has it made with his own show and working from home as well traveling on certain occasions like the winter meetings. I think if I was retiring from baseball I would want his job. Friends picking me up with their Lear Jet and flyng off to Vegas or to a concert or whatever. He would be great in my opinion but it would take some kind of offer to pull him out of his chair.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    Wood, Sutcliffe, Karros, Williams, or Plesac please.

    Millar would be outstanding, but no way in hell he leaves MLB Network.

  • Fastball

    Bill Murray …. I second the nomination. All for Bill Murray say ” I “

    • Boogens


  • cub4life

    Good bye Bob, you will be missed…….So many names to speculate and I can’t even guess….there would be alot of good guys to come up for this and i reciprocate what you said……please please pleas be some one good, and some one that will be similar to Bob in that he will say that truth but not in a demeaning way. Thanks again Bob and good luck.

  • Mick

    What about Ron Coomer? He’s been working for FSN North for the last 5 or so doing pre-game/post-game analysis and also periodically filling in for Bert Blyleven as the color analyst.

  • BluBlud

    I had the pleasure of meeting Bob in Atlanta at the opening day game against the Braves in 2010. He was standing in a walkway, on his cell phone, but was politle enough to still shake my hand and speak back to me. Class Guy.

    • Mick

      …so he was in the middle of a phone call and you walked up and started talking to him?

  • Stevie B

    Bill Murray in a landslide…but that won’t happen.

    Yeah, Millar is a stretch, as he does seem to have it made. He would be good though.

    Mark me down for Plesac.

    • Richard Nose

      No interviews necessary if Woody Harrelson hadn’t dumped Bill Murray’s zompie-painted bodied off that ledge.

  • Richard Nose

    Rex Hudler.

  • Patrick W.

    Maybe we can get Joe Morgan.

    • Dougy D

      I would have to mute every game that I watched if they hired Joe Morgan. He would just talk about how great the Cardinals and Reds are.

  • jim

    BOB BRENLY “called it the way it was”. He was not
    afraid to be “constructive” on the points that he was making.
    As a “CHICAGO” NATIVE living in ARIZONA & a CUBS
    FAN, I am sorry that he is leaving but understand that
    there comes a time in someone’s life, to move on.
    I believe he WILL end up back in ARIZONA doing
    work for the DIAMONDBACKS & I look forward to
    hearing him on the radio. GOD BLESS YOU BOB!

    • Cubbie Blues

      I am having PROBLEMS controlling the volume of my VOICE.

      • TWC

        I am “concerned” about that.

        • Internet Random

          jim “had” TO “be” DOING “that” ON “purpose”.

      • Jschroeder

        Voice imodulation is real…

        • cjdubbya

          I hear that it affects over 700 people annually in the US and the UK.

          • Stinky Pete

            Pete Sampras is their spokesman. He has a lower grade of it.

  • Jim Gillmeister

    Please, no Moreland. He was almost unlistenable in the radio booth. Absolutely could not stomach him on TV

    • Dougy D

      I liked Moreland on the radio. I thought he did an alright job, considering who he replaced. I say Mitch Williams if we could get him away from MLB.

  • arta

    do u think he’ll come back after 2 years when wgn is gone or out of the picture. does Theo have anything to do with this? just asking.

    • DarthHater

      does Theo have anything to do with this?

      You must be new here or you’d realize that everything that happens to the Cubs is part of Theo’s great master plan to utterly decimate every aspect of the organization and gleefully snuff the last, faint glimmer of hope in the hearts of Cubs fans.

  • http://facebook.com/anotherspacesong Bret Epic

    If we had the money, I’d vote for Nicolas Cage or Morgan Freeman. It’d make for an amusing game everyday.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Mitch Williams, Karros and Stone are the only names there that make any sense. Moreland is ridiculously bad…. Of course, I have to confess, to me, this is the least of the challenges facing this organization.

  • atfinch

    Dan Plesac.

  • rycott

    I think everyone is missing the obvious choice. He’s now 65 and probably isn’t ready to fully retire…Dick Tidrow!

    • Cubbie Blues

      Really? Everyone? Link

  • Ken

    Stacey King. Think out of the box.

  • Eric S

    If anyone remembers the promo’s that BB used to do for AMPM they’ll get this reference. BB is leaving to pursue other jobs within baseball because he has “TOO MUCH GOOD STUFF!!” I used to love when he did that! He’ll be missed, but it’ll be interesting to see who is brought in to replace him. My early prediction would be Suttcliff, Stone, Grace, Plesac or Hollandsworth in that order.

  • North Side Irish

    Tyler Emerick ‏@TylerEmerick
    Just got official word from #Dbacks. Club will have Nov. 5 press conference to introduce broadcast team of Steve Berthiaume & Bob Brenley

    Wow…quite a duo for Arizona…

    • Mick

      I was actually thinking Brenly might go to ESPN, Fox, or TBS and do the games of the week. It’s really dissappointing that he took a step back, IMO. A market the size of Chicago and with WGN which I believe broadcasts nationwide to Phoenix and the D-Backs??? I don’t get it.

  • August

    Let’s offer Steve Stone the job, aside from consideration that he probably won’t accept it. He is the number one guy for the job and the offer to rehire him will heal a wound for Cub Nation. He got fired for voicing what all of us were thinking. Anyway. Assuming he says “no”, let’s look at names we have not considered before. Harold Reynolds, Eric Karros, Jim Rome, or even Dennis Miller? Let’s have some fun.

    • JR

      I may be in the minority here, but I am not a Stone fan in the slightest at this point. I am not sure if it my disdain for the White Sox and their broadcasts, or his head becoming bigger over the years. But I’m not into that dude anymore at all.

      • Ken

        Yes. Stone’s whiney voice always annoyed me.

  • chris

    He didn’t do enough sharing his insight lately. All he did this last year it seems is tell bad jokes and state over and over, every inning, that he wants instant replay. It got old super fast and I’m looking forward to someone new. I actually watched other broadcasts on mlbtv rather than hear about how baseball should have instant replay several times this season.

  • Matt

    John Smoltz? He does a good job for TBS.

  • Internet Random

    I’d welcome Stone back. And I’d gladly take Holly. Keith Moreland has the perfect voice for newsprint.

  • Dragoon77

    I don’t care about the DUI, the Cubs should jump on Mark Grace right away. He’s one of the best color guys in the game, and he’s Gracie after all.

    • whiteflag

      It wasn’t just one DUI though (not that one is excusable either), it was multiple. There has to be some accountability. Cab far can’t be that expensive in Arizona. Also there have been some reports, Grace was no longer coming to the broadcast booth prepared. I loved watching Grace play first. He is one of my favorite cubs, but I’m not sure he is a good fit at this point in time. Seems like he has some issues he needs to work out first. :(

  • die hard

    Given suggestions so far need to bring Ricketts “binders of former African-American and Hispanic players”

  • Doug

    My vote goes to Sutcliffe!! Although I’d be happy with most of the names on the list minus Mitch Williams and Dave Campbell.

  • mysterious4th

    Honestly id love to see mark grace in the booth. During the “building” phase that Theo & Co are doing he would bring in a certain aspect that very little people could do since he was a cub on some pretty terrible teams. And maybe it might start some talks on a coaching type roll.

    Id love to see kerry up there but he is by far a hands on kind of guy. I really hope to see him as a pitching coach in the future.

  • Kevin
  • http://Yes Dude

    How bout Tommy Chong?

  • Womacks

    I think Obama will be looking for a gig.

    • TWC

      Leave the politics to the political blogs, kid.

      I do, however, distinctly remember Reagan’s sit-in w/ Harry. That was great.

      • hansman1982

        Supposedly, when Reagan was working at WHO and broadcasting Hawkeye games there was 1 game he completely made up cause the feed from Iowa City got messed up somehow.

        • TWC

          I’m pretty sure that it was a Cubs game he was calling (1938? or so) when the feed from Chicago went dead. He made up the play-by-play (“he fouled another one off!”) until the line came back up.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            According to legend, that sort of thing happened quite a bit in the early days of radio. Many stadiums were not equipped for radio work, and many radio stations were not equipped to patch telephone feeds over the air, so the radio station would send someone to the game to report on the game by phone to the radio station where the actually play-by-play guy was stationed.

            And sometimes the phone line went dead forcing the play-by-man to improvise.

          • hansman1982

            I think that is true as well…the station he works for is fairly obsessed about him…but there was an entire Hawkeye game (kickoff to close) that he made up on the air and I want to say that was one of his first times on the radio when he first started working for the station