I have followed the Cincinatti Reds on and off since 1975. Which means for around thirty-five years, I have been around the dulcet tones of one Marty Brennaman, baseball announcer extrordinaire and father of announcer jack-of-all-trades Thom Brennaman. I listened to Marty and his late partner, "the old Lefthander" Joe Nuxhall about a million times.
So it was amusing to me when we learned last week that Marty had really walked into it. Early in the season, he told Reds coach Chris Spier that if the team won ten Games in a row, he'd shave his head. Well, the Reds accomplished that earlier this week.
Marty promised to do it last night. He even promised to go out on the field and have it done after Friday's game- IF they raised $20,000 for the Reds Community Fund, used to help the many homeless in their area.
The fans raised $20,000 +.
Corporate sponsors kicked in another $30,000.
And so, after the Reds finished off the second-place Pirates last night, the crowd was treated to video of some of Marty's greatest calls as things were set up. Present baskets from the sponsors were brought out, as well as an honest to goodness barber chair.
An enormous cake with one candle in the shape of a "70" was wheeled out, and Happy Birthday was sung.
Not a dry eye in the place, then or now.
I told Laurie, "I would have never believed that 35 years of listening to this man would lead me to this moment. " It was a fun moment- and a beautiful moment. Jim Day had said, when the shaving was done, "No more poofy hair, now you're just a fancy boy." But he, and we, knew that Marty is anything but "just" a fancy boy. God bless you, Marty, and happy birthday!