Hey, LaRussa, Dbacks:
Don’t Forget About Bob Brenly
The Only Man To Ever Have Led The Diamondbacks To The World Series Has Been Sitting In The Broadcast Booth For The Past Two Seasons — Will He Finally Get A Chance To Return To The Dugout For The Team That Spurned Him In 2004?
Image by cliff1066 and used under a Creative Commons license.
By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine
Oct. 1, 2014 — There can be little doubt that Bob Brenly knows EXACTLY how Kirk Gibson feels.
After all, just about 10 years ago, he was let go as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks after a rash of injuries and bad trades created the franchise’s worst season: 51-111. If 2014 was horrible, 2004 was utterly putrid.
Players seemingly dropped from the roster faster than dot.com stock. According to 2004 reporting from the Associated Press, “The Diamondbacks have had 16 players on the disabled list this season, most in the majors. That has led the team to field lineups with the likes of Chad Tracy, Scott Hairston and Tim Olson, all of whom began the season in the minors. The bullpen was decimated by injuries and ineffective even when the main pitchers were healthy.”
Replace the names Chad Tracy, Scott Hairston and Tim Olson with David Peralta, Ender Inciarte and Jake Lamb, among others.
And, remember Richie Sexson? He was one of the wounded in 2004.
Brenly, General Manager Joe Garagiola, Jr., and the legendary Jerry Colangelo were all working elsewhere in 2005. It was the end of the first era in Diamondbacks history. Ken Kendrick, Jeff Moorad (for awhile), Josh Byrnes and analytics came next, leading to the disaster of 2010 and the coming of Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers.
What comes around goes around and just maybe everything that is old will be new again.
Brenly, after a long period of catharsis, finally came back to the Diamondbacks in 2013. After his dismissal in 2004, he went back to television work, where he was when the Dbacks tabbed him to replace Buck Showalter in 2001.
He hasn’t managed since.
But he tried. According to a 2012 article by Tom Cruze of the Chicago Sun-Times, Brenly wanted the Cubs job in 2012 and the Brewers job in 2008. Obviously, he still harbors hope that he might once again get the opportunity.
“... the competitor in Brenly would like a chance to restore his reputation, to prove that the Diamondbacks’ plunge from 98 victories in 2002 to 51 in 2004 was more the result of a disastrous, roster-depleting trade for Richie Sexson than any malfeasance on his part,” Cruze wrote about Brenly.
Who knows what is behind the scenes. One has to give credit to Tony LaRussa, Dave Stewart and DeJon Watson that they know much more than a writer about who might be the best fit to replace Kirk Gibson. But to dismiss the possibility would be folly.
Bob Brenly did beat La Russa’s St. Louis Cardinals in 2001. Maybe they couldn’t work together.
Maybe the brain trust will go young?
After all, it will be nearly impossible to have the same level of bad luck in 2015 that the team had in 2014. A rookie manager can likely have success just by filling out the lineup card, especially if LaRussa, Stewart and company can get or make a frontline starter and Goldschmidt plays in at least 150 games.
Brenly’s familiar with the team, the franchise, and frankly, he deserves better than being partnered with the horrible Steve Berthiaume.
Do what you may, Tony, just don’t forget about Brenly.
The Sun Also Sets: Or, Living In Phoenix In Summertime? Local Writer Takes Us On A Trip Through Some Of The Sights And Sounds Available In The Phoenix Metro When Its Hot — And What We Adore, Bemoan And Find Jocular — In A Partly Fictional Tale.
Beyond The Hill An exceedingly intelligent homeless amnesiac finds a dear friend on the streets who is not really from the neighborhood, but beyond the hill.