With baseball's annual winter meetings under way in Indianapolis this week, Colorado's
The managers will pose for a group photo that will include
Being fired is hardly a career-ending move for a baseball manager -- six of the eight skippers in this year's postseason have felt the ax fall, including
With all 30 managerial jobs filled as the winter meetings begin,
Brenly interviewed with the Cubs in 2006, but they hired
So he'll bypass Indianapolis on his way back to Scottsdale. "No reason for me to be at the meetings," he said.
Only seven working managers have a higher winning percentage than the .536 figure Brenly compiled over three-plus seasons in Arizona. He's ahead of such dugout geniuses as
But Brenly is not seeking sympathy. As exiles go, his is pretty cushy: He has a well-paying, high-profile, enjoyable job as the Cubs television analyst and is well thought of as a broadcaster; he had a network gig with FOX before taking over the D-backs and has been a member of TBS postseason crew the last two years. Compared with the daily grind of managing, it's relatively stress-free living. "There's a lot less pressure sitting up there talking about what might have happened as opposed to being accountable for did happen," Brenly concedes.
He also concedes that he misses it. The competitor in him is restless for another shot. Brenly was 303-262 with two postseason trips in his three-plus seasons in Arizona, but it ended badly there. He's a proud guy, and the thought of being remembered as a failure nags at him.
The D-backs won another NL West title in '02 before losing to St. Louis in the division series. They finished third in '03, and were muddling along in fifth place with a 29-50 record when Brenly was fired in July 2004, against a backdrop of payroll issues, ownership turmoil and one disastrous trade.
"We decided we needed a marquee thumper in the middle of the lineup, and at the time,
The D-backs sent a package of six players and prospects to Milwaukee for Sexson, then 29, who had averaged 37 homers over the previous four seasons. Sexson hit nine bombs in his first 23 games for Arizona, then tore up his shoulder and missed the rest of the '04 season.
In hindsight, Brenly says, "I wish Id spoken up more to oppose that deal. It pretty much destroyed our depth, which had been the key to our success. We were an old team when we won in 2001, but we didn't really have a set lineup. Guys like
And in time they didn't have Sexson, who signed with Seattle as a free agent that winter.
Brenly executed a comfortable landing in the Cubs TV booth, replacing popular
"I spend a lot of time in Lou's office and he bounces things off me, which I appreciate, but I'm not in the inner circle, not part of the decision-making process," Brenly says. "I think I've got some things to offer, and I believe I'd be a better manager if I get another shot because I've learned a lot more about the game. In a lot of ways this is like any other business. If you're not moving forward you stagnate."
Cubs general manager
"I don't have an agent or an advocate out there pushing me, so I'm not on anybody's front burner," Brenly says. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I've got a good job that I love and I'll keep working to get better at it. The Cubs, Wrigley Field, Wrigleyville and all that entails there's nothing like it in baseball."
Maybe not, but the view from the dugout might be a little different.