Thom Brennman probably about to say something homophobic in the Cincinnati Reds booth
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Thom Brennaman, Really?

Every once in a while a baseball league or organization makes a decision that leaves you scratching your head. Not quite as often a league or organization makes a series of decisions that make you question whether anyone involved in making said decisions have a shred of intelligence. Typically when an article is started this way the reader knows we’re about to get into the nitty and gritty of some more Major League Baseball nonsense. Not this time, instead we are traveling to Puerto Rico for a series of puzzling decisions by a league that really can’t afford them.

A couple of months back Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente announced that they would move forward with their 2020-2021 season. It wouldn’t start until the beginning of December and two teams, including league powerhouse Cangrejeros de Santurce, would sit out a very abbreviated season. All of these decisions, and more like no fans in the stadiums, were made because of Coronavirus concerns. None of these decisions were puzzling, they were honest reactions to a worldwide pandemic. Things started getting interesting when league President Juan Galarza announced he intended to launch a streaming service for the upcoming season that would feature English commentary.

This was very interesting news indeed, appearing to be the same sort of move that would bring fresh eyes and eventually new sources of revenue to a league that has struggled financially in recent years. Unfortunately, the rails came off the train before it could even get out of the gate. Shortly after finding a streaming partner LBPRC TV, for lack of a better name, was launched. A bare-bones website revealed that only certain games from the LBPRC season would be streamed. It also revealed an insane price point of $69.95 for the entire season. That’s not even for every game from the entire season, that’s only for around 15 games total. There’s no possible way that the LBPRC could bungle this project any worse than it already had I said to myself before opening Twitter this past Tuesday.

When someone is an old curmudgeon who hates celebrations and fun in baseball you just have to give him a platform. When that same guy was fired for using a homophobic slur on a live broadcast and has been subtly racist for years, well, you have to get him on your new streaming endeavor as quickly as you can. In their desire to provide English commentary the LBPRC turned to none other than Thom Brennaman to be the voice of their new streaming service. Someone in the LBPRC’s brass took a look at the baseball and political landscape of the year 2020 and said we need to add a touch of homophobia and racism to our league.

Listen, I fully understand that LBPRC TV was cobbled together at the last second. That’s why I can give them a pass on the price, the lack of a fully functioning website, and even the lack of games actually being streamed by their new service. Those are minor gaffes that can be fixed if the service returns in the seasons ahead. Brennaman however, is a move that is worthy of all sorts of derision, and the LBPRC deserves to be raked over the coals for deciding to bring such a rancid individual on-board to be the English voice associated with their league.

The question that remains is simple; was Brennaman a clock turning to midnight hire or is he someone the league sees as their announcer for future seasons as well. If it’s the former then it’s a dumb decision that hopefully LBPRC brass will learn from. If it’s the latter then LBPRC has decided to devote much-needed resources to a bigot. That’s a decision that should lead to the service completely tanking with its intended audience. I don’t know about you, but I don’t turn on the stream for a Latin American based league to get a hearty serving of American xenophobia, racism, homophobia, and whatever old man bigotry Brennaman has stuffed under his awful-looking haircut. 

The LBPRC needs to recognize how bad of a decision it was to bring Brennaman into the fold and they need to move on from him as quickly as they can. I’d also love for them to apologize to their fans for exposing them to such a toxic individual. That won’t happen though, so at the very least Brennaman needs to be jettisoned and that needs to happen now. 

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – USA Today

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), husband, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and Off the Bench Baseball; freelance writer at various online and print publications. Member Internet Baseball Writers Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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