Today I've got the job many of you would want: Being paid to listen to Opening Day. I was a bit surprised that Marty didn't say more about doing his first Opening Day game with his son, Thom, before the game began. It certainly wasn't as emotional or long as his comments for the the spring training opening March 1. Maybe its because they've been working together for a month. Marty spent more time talking about the gorgeous weather than about Thom as his partner.
Marty said he was thrilled to be working with Joe Nuxhall again (the Old Lefthander will do the 6th and 7th innings today). And then he said, "I'm equally thrilled to have my only son, Thom, sitting next to me." That was about it.
Thom, who did Opening Day for Channel 5 in 1989 (with Johnny Bench), then chimed in: "I've been gone so long I almost forgot how big Opening Day was here."
Then they quickly began talking baseball -- about Aaron Harang, the team improving its defense, the Cubs off-season spending spree, etc. Their timing was unnoticeable, meaning that unlike the March 1 game, they didn't step on each other's comments. (That's what they worked on in spring training, Thom told me.) Thom had never done color commentary; he had always done play-by-play. But he's been insightful this spring. He's a natural, having learned from the master (his dad).
Thom called Marty "Dad," as he's done all spring. I'm getting used to it. Although I noted last weekend, Thom opened the an inning by introducing his father by saying, "Here's Marty."
Are you listening? Have you enjoyed Marty & Thom this spring?
3RD INNING: Hey, Nux just joined the broadcast with Thom. Either Joe Nuxhall was late to arrive in the booth, or more likely, he let Marty and Thom have the spotlight for the opening innings. Thom welcomed Nux, and then asked how he was feeling. (Nux began chemotherapy for four new tumors found on his left leg in February, during spring training.)
Joe spoke in a way might concern longtime Reds fans: "We're making progress, Thom. We have our good days and our bad days. We're living with it. But we're here. It's Opening Day and the Reds are leading2-0. What more can you ask?"
BOTTOM OF 3RD: Here's what I like Thom, and what I didn't like about Steve Stewart. As soon as Adam Dunn swung, it was clear from the excitement in Thom's voice the ball was leaving the ballpark, for his second home run. With Steve's monotone, often you couldn't tell. When Thom (and Marty & Joe) get excited, listeners get excited. You can tell both Marty and Thom had some theatrical training in school.
TOP OF 5TH: Here's what I love about Joe (and Marty, for that matter), when Ryan Freel misplayed the fly ball into a run. Freel broke back, then in, and missed a fly, and then threw it into the dugout behind 3B. Joe just said three words: "Ryan knows better."
TOP OF 6TH: No disrespect to Thom, but here's what we've been waiting for: Joe to do 6th and 7th innings, with Marty doing color commentary.
TOP OF THE 8TH: Hey, it just keeps getting better! Pete Rose just dropped by the radio booth. Pete, Marty & Joe & Thom!
BOTTOM 8TH: Did you hear Marty just call rookie phenom Josh Hamilton "Joey Hamilton," who was the over-the-hill RHP the Reds had a few years back? Whoops.