Marty Brennaman joined Kevin Kennedy and Jeff Joyce on their "Inside Pitch" show this afternoon, primarily to discuss the Jim Bowden resignation and Marty's outspoken celebration during Sunday's broadcast. I won't rehash Sunday's comments, but move forward to today's discussion.
Jeff Joyce opened with, "Was it a personal thing between you and him or how he treated others that really bothered you?"
MB: "It was a combination of all of the above." (paraphrasing quite a bit going forward) "Many times when he was with the Reds he'd pull me aside and say, 'Listen, I'm not telling this to anyone but you,' and then the next morning I'd see it in the newspaper. After a few times, I told him, 'Look-- I'm not interested in anything you have to say to me.' He treated people at times with incredible disrespect."
Marty went on to use Bowden's treatment of Jeremy Sowers, who was a highly regarded pitcher graduating from a Cincinnati-area high school, as an example of how Bowden liked to "Big-Time" it. "It was a three-ring circus." Sowers's family had made abundantly clear that their son was going to Vandy, regardless of team or position that he was drafted. Bowden made a big show of flying all the scouts in from around the country and bringing the local press to the stadium to watch the kid throw.
Kevin Kennedy asked about Bowden's relations regarding the Dodgers and Jeff Shaw. Marty wasn't, but hurried to point out the Ken Griffey Junior trade. Marty said, "Now Pat Gillick may have issues, but he is nothing but a class act when it comes to baseball and baseball professionals. Of course, Junior had been very public about only wanting to go home to Cincinnati and nowhere else, so Gillick was in a very difficult position. Bowden subsequently boasted in numerous circles about how he'd gotten the best of the Mariners in that trade. That's just not the way to treat people if you want to keep the respect of the people in the business."
Jeff Joyce asked why Bob Boone's affiliation with Bowden was so long-standing. Marty: "For the life of me, I could never figure that one out. Bob Boone is the antithesis of Jim Bowden in every aspect. He is thoughtful and soft-spoken. He's very intelligent-- well, I could never say that Jim Bowden was not very intelligent himself, but I never understood why Bob had such a good relationship with Bowden."
Kevin Kennedy followed up with Bob Boone's hiring over Ron Oester. Marty admitted he might be messing up some of the details after so much time, but as he recalled Ron Oester asked Jim for some time to think about the financial offer that had been made for him to manage the Reds. "Jim encouraged him to think it over, then as soon as he was off the premises, he turned around and hired Bob. With all due respect to Bob, but in retrospect I think Ron Oester would have been a tremendous manager with this organization at that time."
Marty was asked if there were any echoes in the Reds organization that were sort of nodding knowingly regarding bonuses and Latin American players. Marty was not aware of any of that, but "I am very dear friends with John Allen, the Reds president while Bowden was GM. I spoke with him when this started to come out that there was going to be a federal investigation into Bowden's involvement, and I asked him if he'd spoken with anyone about Bowden's time with the Reds. He told me he had no comment, but I GUARANTEE you the Feds will want to speak with John Allen if they have not already. The only thing, the way the Reds terminated their relationship with Jose Rijo's academy in the Dominican was almost overnight. It went down too quickly for something to have happened that was not on the up-and-up."
Kevin Kennedy asked how a GM should go about his business and represent a ballclub. Marty lauded Wayne Krivsky, Dan O'Brien and Bob Quinn. All had the respect of the people in the business. There was no one who had greater respect than Bob Howsam, who "oughta' be in the Hall of Fame, isn't and I can't understand for the life of me why" and finished completion of the Big Red Machine. He was the same kind of guy, who made deals that benefit both sides and had the respect of their peers in the business. Case in point was the Volquez/Hamilton trade.
Who will take over the Nationals? "My son , Thom, speaks very highly of Mike Rizzo in Arizona as a possible (Kevin Kennedy REALLY likes him, too). And there's some real smart young guy in Florida, too. I don't know if John Hart is someone who would want to get back in the game or not."
AND HERE IS THE MONEY SECTION OF THE EXCHANGE:
Jeff Joyce returns to Bowden. "How'd he stay in the game so long if he has these kind of issues?" Marty: "I'll tell you how, but cozying up to the owners. Of course, Jim was with the Reds when they won the World Series. Bob Quinn was the GM when the Reds won the World Series in 1990. I remember I stood in Lou Pinella's office and told him, 'Bob, this guy is going to cut your throat and stand there and watch you bleed.' Quinn didn't believe it. Bowden cultivated the favor of Marge Schott and eventually replaced Quinn. I will NEVER understand why Bud Selig named him the GM of the Nationals when they were under the stewardship of Major League Baseball. Once he got that job, Jim looked around and gambled that the Lerner family was eventually going to have the winning bid to acquire the team. So he curried the favor of the Lerner family. There are people who will tell you that Stan Kasten wanted to fire Bowden when he became President of the team, and the Lerner family wouldn't allow it. If you're wondering why Jim Bowden has lasted all this time, it's because he sucked up to Marge Schott and he sucked up to the Lerner family."
They finally finished up with some token banter about the Reds. "Aaron Harang is gonna' be fine. I'm not worried about him. I think what happened last year was an aberration...I really believe this team has the chance to be the best pitching staff Cincinnati has had since the 1990 World Series. Now what does that say? This team has been known for a lot of things, but good pitching is not one of them, but they could do it. And Aaron Harang is gonna' be the key to that... Cueto, Volquez, and if Bronson Arroyo can put it all together. He was as good in the second half as he was bad in the first half." Surpisingly (to me), Marty was in Bradenton today. "Of course you've got Micah Owing and Nick Masset are contending for the # 5 spot. And Homer Bailey..." He recounted Homer Bailey's pitching line for the day (3 IP, 1 H, 4K, 1 BB) and said he had "outstanding stuff." "No one says so, but I truly believe they'd like him to get the #5 spot."
The hosts wrapped up with a hat tip to the pitching staff, but said the offense was going to have a hard time keeping up. Walt Jocketty might have to trade some of that pitching to fill the gap. Kevin Kennedy said, "Knowing Walt Jocketty, he's not going to trade pitching for offense. He knows you win with pitching and defense." He went on to point to the 83-win St. Louis ballclub and the key pitching performances that got it done with just enough offense from Albert Pujols, suggesting WJ would rely on Jay Bruce and Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips to get it done.