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Will Marty Follow Scully Into Retirement?

Cincinnati Reds

Update on Saturday, May 28:  Marty Brennaman told Enquirer Reds writer C. Trent Rosecrans Friday night in Milwaukee: "I will be back next year.... After that, then I’ll take stock on a year-by-year basis, essentially."  

Original post Thursday May 26: All the deserved fanfare about Vin Scully's retirement makes me wonder: Might Marty Brennaman retire at the end of this season too? Yes, he could.

When I saw Reds President Bob Castellini recently, and asked him if Marty will return next season, Castellini replied in four words: "It's up to Marty."

Unlike Scully, 88, featured on the May 16 Sports Illustrated cover, Marty has said he doesn't want any long goodbyes or farewell tours.

Marty, who turns 74 in July, won't tell anyone his decision to quit until after his contract expires, which would be in October, at the end of his 43rd season on Reds Radio. He told me before spring training last year:

Credit Sports Illustrated
"The Man Behind The Voice Of Baseball" cover story in May 16 Sports Illustrated magazine.

“When I walk away, I’ll let them know the day after the season ends. I don’t want all the (farewell stuff) that goes along with it. I understand they could probably make a lot of money. But whatever they want to do, they’d have to do it the next year, because I’m just not interested in all that stuff. I don’t want to be bothered with it. I don’t need a night. The club and the fans have been good enough to me. I don’t need all that stuff.”

In January, Brennaman told the Joe Nuxhall Memorial Sports Stag in Hamilton:  “I’ll be back in 2016. And after that I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m conflicted.”

Last year’s 98-loss team loaded with young players and rookies was sickening, he said.

“I’d come home and tell (wife) Amanda, if I have to look at these guys again, I’ll throw up. And the next day I’d change my mind,” he said.

Imagine how he feels this year! The 2016 Reds are historically worse than all previous Titanic struggles. Mired in a 10-game losing streak, they're on pace to lose a record 109 games. Now that's a big ol' 'Have Mercy!,' as Marty would say.

Credit John Kiesewetter
Marty Brennaman at "Reds Hot Stove League" broadcast from Reds Hall of Fame on Jan. 27.

At the Nuxhall stag, Brennaman praised the Castellini family, which runs the club, saying they would let him work a reduced schedule in his next contract, if he desires.

“I’ll probably be around after 2016,” but he didn't know in what capacity, he said. His final comment on the matter was: “Damn! 42 years is long enough!”

He's done it all and then some, in 43 years as our soundtrack of summer.

Next month he'll preside when longtime pal Pete Rose is honored by the Reds, while surrounded by his Big Red Machine teammates. Pete's No. 14 will be retired, and Rose will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame at a big gala at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

Credit John Kiesewetter
Fans cheer Marty Brennanman and Joe Nuxhall at Riverfront Stadium in 1999.

Brennaman holds the MLB record for the longest radio announcing team, 31 years with Joe Nuxhall. Marty's already in Cooperstown, given the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award 16 years ago.

So it's quite possible Brennaman could hang up his headphones Oct. 3 – to the dismay of fans throughout Reds country.

Yes, the Reds suck. But listening to their games doesn't, because of Marty's wit, insights, stories, comments and jokes with Jeff Brantley or Jim Kelch.

He's at his best when the Reds are at their worst. And faced with at least two more years of losing baseball in Cincinnati, this lifelong Reds fan isn't alone in selfishly wanting Brennaman back in the booth. We tune in daily to listen to Marty, even if he only can say "This one belongs to the Reds" 50-60 times a year.

Marty, please don't go. We need you! We love you! Ain't love grand??

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.