The dawn of a new Major League Baseball season is frequently accompanied with change. It happens on the roster, the coaching staff, in the front office, and occasionally the broadcast booth as we saw this past winter when the Arizona Diamondbacks brass cut ties with the embattled TV duo of Daron Sutton and Mark Grace in favor of ESPN studio talent Steve Berthiume and ex-Cubs Bob Brenly who managed the Dbacks to a World Series title in 2001.
Like players and coaches, broadcasters must get a feel for working with one another, as well. With nearly every venture in life, building successful chemistry takes time as the duo gets to know one another in the booth and away from the ballpark.
“It’s a work in progress,” Brenly told Brad Cesmat in a recent interview on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “We’re not going to lie to you. Steve has relatively little experience doing play-by-play. His experience was as a studio host…I think with each passing day we’ve gotten into a better rhythm.”
That rhythm was severely lacking in the TV booth last summer after Sutton was suspended on June 20 after calling a game against the Seattle Mariners for what team President Derrick Hall referred to as “philosophical differences.” It would be the final game he’d broadcast with the organization.
Grace was suspended indefinitely weeks later after receiving his second DUI in 15 months.
Brenly and his new partner are preaching patience as they get a feel for one another.
“It’s a long season,” he explained to Cesmat. “They’re not all going to be highlight reel games. They’re going to be a lot of stinkers. We have to learn how to slow down a little bit and find other things to talk about away from the field from time-to-time.”
Although new to play-by-play Brenly believes Berthiume’s savvy, preparation, and extensive television experience at ESPN (12 years) and CNN (three years) serve him well.
“Steve, if anything, has been over prepared,” he said. “He knows everything about every player on the field and as an analyst I love that. Just like a ball club, we’re trying to find out identity right now.”