Bob Brenly has given the Chicago Cubs his two weeks notice – actually, there’s about two weeks left in the baseball season and, naturally, the Cubs are not playing in the postseason.
Still, Brenly leaves the Cubs television broadcast booth at WGN-TV in Chicago after eight seasons. According to a statement released by WGN, Brenly is leaving “to seek another baseball broadcasting position.”
There are several ways he can go here. He could opt for a full-time position at TBS, where he had been calling games alongside Dick Stockton for the last four years during the postseason, and also served as an analyst during TBS baseball playoff coverage in 2007, as well (regardless of whether or not the Cubs make the playoffs, WGN wouldn’t be able to carry the games anyway).
He could also go back to Fox, where he toiled for five seasons from 1996 to 2000, and again at the end of the 2004 season when the Arizona Diamondbacks relieved him of his duties as their manager (he won the World Series in his first season managing the team in 2001).
Brenly might even turn up at ESPN, of all networks. Remember, there’s going to be a vacancy in the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth for the second time in two seasons. Terry Francona, who had replaced Bobby Valentine after Valentine replaced Francona as Boston Red Sox manager, has been hired to be the skipper of the Cleveland Indians. (And, oh yeah, Valentine was fired by the Red Sox after one season, so he’s looking for work, as well.) And don’t forget, ESPN doesn’t just air baseball games on Sundays: they broadcast baseball contests several nights per week, and will continue to do so as the network re-upped their contract with Major League Baseball.
If I were to choose between staying at TBS long-term, returning to Fox, or joining ESPN, I would say Brenly might lean toward the Worldwide Leader. After all, the network does have a penchant for hiring champions (did I mention he led the D-Backs to a World Series title in his first year managing the team?).
Brenly doesn’t have anything against the Cubs per se: his son Michael was drafted by the team right around the time he started working Cubs games at WGN; currently, he’s on the roster of a Cubs Double-A team.
But even while local Cubs television broadcasts on WGN-TV are available nationwide via WGN America (as has been the case for years when they used to be a “superstation”), perhaps Bob Brenly is seeking a little more national exposure.
In other words, he wouldn’t mind returning to Wrigley Field periodically.
We’ll find out before first pitch, I’m sure.