Lit: Marty Brennaman

The Mercantile Library continues its By the Book speaker series with … Marty Brennaman? Yes, the longtime Cincinnati Reds play-by-play man will talk about the books that have influenced a broadcasting career that’s approaching 50 years, the last 36 with

The Mercantile Library continues its By the Book speaker series with … Marty Brennaman? Yes, the longtime Cincinnati Reds play-by-play man will talk about the books that have influenced a broadcasting career that’s approaching 50 years, the last 36 with the Reds. '

“I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life, which has obviously helped me in my profession of choice,” Brennaman says by phone, his familiar voice as clear and concise as it is on the radio. “You need to have a vocabulary commensurate with what you hope to attain from life, otherwise it puts you behind the eight ball.”

Yes, he said “commensurate.”

Brennaman’s love of books started at an early age. “I read every Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew book that came out when I was a kid,” he says. “I still have some of them.”

He later moved on to novels and every other form of written word, including the baseball beat writers who populated the pages of the The Sporting News in the 1950s. Naturally, the conversation turns to baseball and the one question on the mind of every Cincinnati fan: Can the Reds, who haven’t had a winning season in nearly a decade, compete as a small-market team?

“Commissioner (Bud) Selig is either a fool or trying to pull the wool over our eyes if he thinks, as he said the other day, that baseball has a good business model,” Brennaman says.

While the broadcaster admits it’s not impossible for a team like the Reds to compete, he says the margin for error is so much less than it is for a high-payroll team like the New York Yankees. He closes the subject with a signature no-nonsense take on Selig’s head-in-the-sand approach to baseball’s growing competitive imbalance: “It’s the biggest bunch of crap.”

Brennaman speaks 11:30 a.m. Thursday at The Phoenix downtown. $15 for Mercantile members; $18 for everyone else. 

Get tickets and details here