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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Marty's birthday shave

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.

The birthday boy came out.  a truck awaited to tale up the soon to be discarded locks for a charity auction.

He was wearing a button-down jersey with "Brennaman 70" on the back.  Jim Day teased him through the opening.  And then, it was Marty and the Chiar.

At one point early on, Day teases the crowd with, "Should we stop there?" The answer was a resounding "No Way!"

A big deal had been made over that Nuxhall used to call him a "poofy haired fancy boy".  Marty has always taken a great deal of pride in his coiffure.  At one point, Day siad, "I'm surprised to say this, but you're head looks really good."  Marty mumbled, "Bullshit," under his breath, just loud enough to be heard, to which Day muttered something about a "G-rated, family show."

I was already a little teary when Day mentioned something about Joe looking down on this and laughing.  But the big moment came when the shaving was done.  Marty took off his jersey to reveal a t-shirt that read, "I'm still me," and brought out three little kids with similar shirts.  They were cancer patients, being helped through an organization called the Dragonfly Foundation.  Marty explained that when the kids had heard about the head shaving, one of them had said, "Now Marty will look like us."  Marty was so moved when he heard, he brought them out and talked about the great work the Foundation does for them.  Then he gave them a group hug and told them, "I'm PROUD to be in your club!"

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! 


  1. I watched the 1975 World Series when the Reds beat the Red Sox. Since I was very near to obnoxious Red Sox Nation, it was glorious!
    On the other hand, I'm a Yankees fan, so the 1976 World Series wasn't nearly as fun.

    1. The '75 series made all others pale by comparison. I remember wishing it could go on forever! Sorry to hear you have that mental condition ("being a Yankees fan"). My brother has that, too.

  2. Wow. What a classy guy!

    1. And, now I see that Charlie Sheen was at the ballpark Sunday and tossed in another 50K for the community fund in honor of Marty. Wonderful how a class act spreads... casting bread upon the water and all.

  3. This is belated, but thank you for including information about The Dragonfly Foundation in your blog post. Even though I was there, holding the fourth Dragonfly child in my arms, watching the even unfold from less than 20 ft. away... It still seems like a dream. To watch those kids, who had never met him, had no coaching whatsoever, run, hug and clutch Marty's pants was unbelievable. We are so grateful to Marty for helping raise awareness about The Dragonfly Foundation and the need to care while we wait for a cure.

    Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!

    Ria Davidson
    VP & Co-Founder, The Dragonfly Foundation

    1. Ria, if you could, if you would, please go to the latest post for a response to your letter.