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07/08/08 7:58 PM ET
Brennaman given security in Chicago
Reds broadcaster made remarks about Cubs fans in April
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Chicago's public enemy No. 1 arrived without fanfare at Wrigley Field on Tuesday afternoon, expecting less than fair treatment later from the Cubs' faithful. We're not talking about Reds manager, and former Cubs skipper, Dusty Baker or any of his players. It was Reds radio broadcaster Marty Brennaman, who drew the ire of Cubs fans by insulting them on the air during the Reds' previous visit in April. "Nice knowing you," right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. jokingly told Brennaman in the clubhouse. "It's been good." After Adam Dunn hit a home run onto Sheffield Avenue during an April 16 matchup, fans in the bleachers threw more than a dozen baseballs on the field. It prompted a harsh rebuke from Brennaman, who said: "This is what makes you want to see this Chicago Cubs team lose." He also said, "The most obnoxious fans in baseball, in this [National] league, are those who follow this team right here." Brennaman, a Reds broadcaster since 1974, received threatening mail following the incident, and was fodder for talk radio rants. While at the ballpark for the series that runs from Tuesday-Thursday, he will have a security detail to protect him -- just in case. "I wanted to sing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame,' and they wouldn't let me," Brennaman joked Tuesday. If there are issues with locals, Brennaman expected them to be confined to the "Friendly Confines" -- or maybe "Not So Friendly Confines" in his case. He's been in Chicago since Sunday, and has not encountered any trouble. "I walked around for two days, and no one bothered me," said Brennaman, who was the Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford Frick Award winner in 2000. At Navy Pier with his family, a ride worker told Brennaman's daughter he had a bone to pick with "Thom Brennaman," who is Marty's son and broadcast partner. "That would be me you're talking about," Marty told the gentleman. He said that they chatted pleasantly for 15 minutes, and all was good. Brennaman refused to do radio interviews with Chicago stations, but wasn't afraid of any potential dust-ups with Cubs fans. He even wore a bright red shirt to work Tuesday. "Why don't you just paint a target on yourself?" Griffey joked. "If they want a piece of me, they know where they can find me," Brennaman said.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.