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Article posted: 10/17/2012 10:41 PM

Brenly always able to keep things interesting

text size: AAA

Anybody around Wrigley Field with much major-league experience seems to wind up elsewhere.

So, please, don't tell me the Cubs traded Bob Brenly to Arizona for a prospect who never played above Single-A.

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Oh, wait, what? The Cubs didn't trade Brenly? He traded himself to the Diamondbacks for a television game analyst to be named?

Makes sense, considering no announcer should have to sit through another season of Cubs baseball as the team recently has been configured.

WGN-TV announced Brenly's departure Wednesday afternoon, and he presumably is leaving to broadcast for the Diamondbacks.

Down there Brenly would replace Mark Grace, the DUI inclined former Cubs first baseman. Why Brenly wasn't driven to drink heavily while doing Cubs games is a mystery.

When the Cubs lost 101 games this season they were virtually unwatchable in Wrigley Field. If they lose another 101 games next season they'll be less watchable on TV unless the new guy is as good as Brenly was.

First let's talk about the sort of candidate the Cubs and their TV outlets should hire to replace Brenly. Later we'll discuss what a big seat the new guy will have to fill, which isn't meant as a reflection on the size of Brenly's backside.

One of the first requisites should be something that Brenly wasn't: An ex-Cubs player, native Chicagoan or the rare person who is both.

That way when he or she pretends he or she is living and dying with the Cubs, Mr. and Mrs. viewer will believe him or her.

Next, whoever takes the seat next to Len Kasper should have played or managed in the major leagues within the past five years.

The only thing wrong with hiring Keith Moreland to replace Ron Santo on the Cubs' radio side is that it had been two decades since he played.

Moreland couldn't spin stories about what it's like to bat against Tim Lincecum or play with Albert Pujols.

As solid as Moreland is, that's still missing from his game.

So far we're looking for somebody not far removed from the big leagues and with either a Cubs, Chicago or Cubs and Chicago background.

Finally, it would help if Kasper's new partner is a character, maybe a little goofy, perhaps even a little slapstick. This is baseball, not opera. The Kasper-Brenly team was amusing but not hilarious.

Kasper is the professional broadcaster. His sidekick should be a little rough around the edges even if it means a dangling participle here and malaprops there, as long as he's funny.

One member of every radio or TV booth should be either a Harry Caray or a Jimmy Piersall. Kasper is a keeper just as he is, so it'll be up to the new guy to qualify for Zanies on nights off.

Most interesting about Brenly was that he was so interesting even though he didn't fill all the requirements.

Brenly was neither from here originally nor a former Cubs player, yet Kasper's polish made it not matter.

Nor was Brenly a nut job like Piersall. Instead he merely was entertaining, knowledgeable, honest, critical when appropriate and overall an easy listen. Plus, not too long ago he managed for and against many current players.

Now after eight seasons Brenly is taking his talents to Arizona and Len Kasper will have a new partner next year … unless he's traded for an organ player currently in the Instructional League.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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