The long-awaited teaming of Marty and Thom became officially realized when the two called the Reds' Grapefruit League opener against the Pirates together on WLW radio.
"It's surreal in a lot of ways," said Thom Brennaman, who signed on with the Reds in October.
Details of most Spring Training games are forgotten not long after their completion. But this was a special day for the Brennamans, and Marty admitted to having some pregame butterflies.
"I'm nervous as [heck], because I want it to work," said Marty Brennaman, a 2000 Ford Frick Award winner. "I want him to be good. I want the chemistry to be there, which I know it won't be instantaneously. It's something you have to work at. The same holds true for [Jeff] Brantley and I, or Brantley and Thom.
"All I've ever dreamed about the last 10 years is wanting him to come home and work with me, and then ascend to my position when I retire."
Coincidentally, Marty's first game for the Reds in 1974 was also at McKechnie Field, the spring home of the Pirates.
Marty and Thom worked together only one other time. It was a Reds-Cubs game on television in the early 1990s for The Baseball Network. Thom, who grew up in Cincinnati and went to Anderson High School, was in the middle of a six-season stint as a Cubs announcer for WGN-TV. He then spent the last nine seasons calling Arizona Diamondbacks games and is also a national broadcaster for FOX television.
Thom's professional career started as a weekend sports anchor on WLWT-TV and he later called Cincinnati Bearcat college basketball games on WXIX-TV. He remains a versatile broadcast voice and still does NFL and BCS college football games for Fox.
Claiming not to be a sentimental fellow, Marty still couldn't help being proud of his son.
Father-Son baseball broadcasters
|Marty Brennaman (CIN, 1974-pres)|
|Thom Brennaman (Cubs, ARI, CIN, 1989-pres)|
|Jack Buck (STL, 1954-2001)|
|Joe Buck (STL, 1991-pres)|
|Harry Caray (Cards, Browns, A's, W. Sox, Cubs, 1945-97)|
|Skip Caray (Braves, 1965, 1976-pres)|
|Chip Caray (Braves, Mariners, Cubs, Braves, 1991-pres)|
|Harry Kalas (Astros, Phillies 1965-pres)|
|Todd Kalas (1992-96, 1998-pres, Mets, Phillies, TB)|
"The fact [is] he's come all this distance and has become a success on a local and national stage and is a genuinely good guy," Marty said. "He has no ego hangups like a lot of guys in our profession. He's a good guy. The fact that he wanted to come home as much as I wanted him to come home, that's the thing that continues to blow my mind.
"He still thought enough of my profession to go into it without any push from me. We never talked about. He just casually said to me going into his junior year at Ohio University that, 'I want to do what you do.'"
On most games, Marty Brennaman will be paired with Brantley as his primary partner in the radio booth. Thursday was Brantley's first official day on the job, and he also worked a couple of innings in the booth.
Brantley, who had a 14-year Major League career including 1994-97 with the Reds as a reliever, spent the past five years as an analyst for ESPN.
"It's just exciting to be back down here on the field, hearing the sound of the bat," Brantley said during pregame batting practice. "You don't hear that in the studio. I'm looking forward to working with all the guys: Marty, Thom and George Grande. We will have some fun."
Brantley will call approximately 120 games on WLW radio and 25 more games for FSN. But like the players in camp, the first-time local broadcaster will have to use the next month of games to get himself ready.
"The way that I see it is very similar to the way that I looked at it when I was pitching," Brantley said. "There are so many changes now in baseball, players from team to team, guys moving league to league. That's the part you have to learn. You have to learn their tendencies, what they do how they carry themselves, what kind of players they are, talk to them, watch them on the field. There's a lot you can learn from keeping your eyes and ears open and not necessarily from doing interviews. Just watch what they do."
Thom Brennaman is slated to work 90 games this season for WLW and Fox Sports Net Ohio. He will continue to be one of the lead announcers for FOX's Game of the Week telecasts.
"This is a very big day for me, and, I think, our whole family -- not just personally speaking, but professionally," Thom said. "To come back and have a chance to broadcast for the team I grew up rooting for every single day as a kid and living and dying with them, to know the day is finally here ... it finally hit home today."