What was widely considered to be one of the best duos of broadcasting in the MLB, the 8 year run of Len Kasper and Bob Brenly in the Chicago Cubs broadcast booth came to a close this past October as Brenly and the Cubs suddenly parted ways. When Brenly started with the Cubs in 2005, he had the tough task of following consummate professional Steve Stone, who Cubs fans came to love over his years with the organization. Brenly in turn became just as coveted over his 8 years and was set up this offseason to sign an extension with The Tribune Company, who owns WGN.
As a Cubs fan I can attest to the idea that when your team is consistently underperforming on the field, regardless of the sport, it’s the small things about a franchise that keep you interested and positive for the years to come. Seeing and hearing Brenly and Kasper’s chemistry in the booth together was one of those small things. So I believe I speak for the majority of Cubs fans when I say it was a major disappointment to have the extension to bring him back for future seasons fall through.
We haven’t heard from Bob since the whole extension process (or lack thereof) went down, until yesterday on McNeil and Spiegs (670am The Score), a Chicago sports talk radio show. Brenly had plenty to say about why he moved on from Chicago to now become the Arizona Diamondbacks TV broadcaster, where he was the team’s manager from 2000-2004. Speaking on the extension and the initial problems that led to the separation, Bob said:
” The negotiations were going along swimmingly under the circumstances,” “We felt like we were all on the same page. We agreed to agree on a new extension of five years. But when the memo came for me to sign that we agreed to agree, it was only two years guaranteed.”
He went on to say this was somewhat understandable, as WGN’s contract with the Cubs only had two years left on it. The kicker is that after he signed with the Diamondbacks, the Cubs then offered new broadcaster Jim DeShaies a 4 year contract. Asked if he had any bad feelings about that specific detail or any negative thoughts about the Cubs organization at all, Bob replied:
“I might have ill feelings if I felt somebody was intentionally trying to deceive me, but I think it was just a matter of a little disorganization in the Tribune Company and not quite knowing who was supposed to do what. Things just kind of got away a little bit.”
It seems like the Tribune dropped the ball on this one, and may have given him the cold shoulder treatment for no apparent reason. But when asked to sum up his 8 years in Chicago and his memories with the team, he had nothing but pleasant things to say:
“How can you not miss Chicago? I’ve said it repeatedly since making the career change to come back down here to the desert. I can’t imagine a better eight years than I have spent the last 8 with my partner Len Kasper and all of the great people from the Cubs organization.”
“Getting to go to Wrigley Field 81 times a year and summer in Chicago.. It’s all good. I have no bad memories about my time there in Chicago. Nothing but a great experience. As you get accustomed to in the game of baseball, nothing is permanent. Nothing stays the same forever.”
Bob Brenly is a class act, a great baseball mind and will be dearly missed in Chicago. We wish him nothing but the best in Arizona. The Diamondbacks fans are lucky to have him.