In his initial apology, Brenly said he had made “a poor attempt at humor that was insensitive and wrong.”
As Stroman looked to the plate from atop the mound with a two-run lead during the fourth inning of the Diamondbacks’ 6-5 win, Brenly commented on the head covering, which was visible beneath the back of the 30-year-old pitcher’s cap.
“Pretty sure that’s the same durag that Tom Seaver used to wear when he pitched for the Mets,” Brenly said, referencing the Mets’ Hall of Fame pitcher who passed away last August.
Brenly’s play-by-play partner, Steve Berthiaume, met the remark with silence before he replied, “Got the 41 patch on the sleeve right there,” as Stroman wound up for his next pitch.
“During last night’s game, I made a poor attempt at humor that was insensitive and wrong,” Brenly said in the statement. “I apologize to Marcus Stroman and have reached out directly to share those thoughts. I have had several conversations with the D-backs and we agree that seeking sensitivity training is an important step so I can continue to learn from my mistakes to be better in the future.”
“If it was like a joke or something, I didn’t get it and a lot of people didn’t get it,” he said. “I think it’s completely inappropriate.”
After spending most of his nine-year playing career with the San Francisco Giants, Brenly transitioned to broadcasting, working for the Diamondbacks and as a national analyst for Fox. He was named the Diamondbacks manager in 2001 and led the team to a World Series win over the Yankees that same year. Brenly was fired 79 games into the 2004 season, but restarted his broadcasting career, with stints as an analyst for the Chicago Cubs as well as national work for TBS. He returned to the Diamondbacks booth in 2012.
Brenly previously made headlines for comments he made about Padres third baseman Manny Machado’s bat placement following a pop-up during a game in 2019. Machado, who left his bat near the feet of catcher John Ryan Murphy as he strolled toward first base, was called out for interference after it nearly tripped up Murphy as he tracked the ball in foul territory. Brenly called Machado’s actions “bush league.”
“It’s such an unnecessary thing, to say the least,” Brenly charged. “Obviously, it could create a potential injury. You drop a bat next to a guy who’s looking up in the air trying to track a pop-up.
“Machado, one day, is gonna pull one of his high jinks on the wrong guy and he’s gonna get dropped in his tracks, and he’s gonna deserve it,” he added.
Almost a week later, Brenly offered another bizarre remark when he commented on Padres shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr.'s necklace during a broadcast, saying, “It might be easier to run the bases if he didn’t have that bike chain around his neck.”
Tatis shrugged off the comments when asked about them afterward.
“I just laugh about it,” he told reporters. “I don’t know what he’s thinking about it but I just find [the chain] fun. It’s part of me, its part of my game, it’s part of Latin culture.”
Aramis Ramírez, a former all-star third baseman for the Cubs, said Thursday that he and some teammates felt that Brenly went out of his way to critique Latin American players as an analyst in Chicago.
“He went after Starlin Castro pretty hard, Geovany Soto pretty hard,” Ramírez told The Athletic.
Ramirez added that Brenly “should be fired right now.”
“I see what you guys are going through with the racial stuff,” Ramírez said after being reached at his home in the Dominican Republic. “It’s just the timing, I don’t think he deserves a second chance. I think he already had it.”
Brenly responded by telling The Athletic, “I want to apologize again for my insensitive reference on Wednesday, as it does not reflect my values or who I am. With respect to Aramis Ramírez, Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto and all of the players who I have covered over the years, I have the utmost respect for their life stories, their talents and their careers.”
“My job is to describe Major League Baseball and to call it the way I see it — the good and the bad,” added Brenly. “I have always tried to do so in an honest, unbiased way, regardless of a player’s background or race.”
A spokesman for the Diamondbacks did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation on Brenly’s stated intention to take a leave of absence, or for a possible comment from the team on Brenly’s remark about Stroman.