The Arizona Diamondbacks have a few connections to the 2018 MLB World Series but one featuring a familiar last name (Brenly) sticks out.
For fans and supporters of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the 2018 MLB World Series is hard to watch. The thought was, at least in August, that the D-Backs were good enough to win the NL West and make a run. Then, out of nowhere, the bats cooled down, the bullpen fell apart, and everyone involved was left feeling some kind of way as they missed the postseason altogether. Stuff happens, I guess, and it didn’t stop the rest of the league from exciting October baseball.
Now, we find ourselves forced to watch our rivals — the Los Angeles Dodgers — play against the team that made Arizona “look foolish” for winning the JD Martinez sweepstakes — the Boston Red Sox.
And while Martinez is the obvious connection between the Diamondbacks and the 2018 World Series, there’s another one from the same team that most folks don’t know about: Bob Brenly, the only manager to lead Arizona to a World Series of their own, has a son on the Boston Red Sox staff, Michael Brenly.
The younger Brenly, now 32 years old, was in Boston’s farm system as a catcher during the 2014 and 2015 seasons before taking a gig in their bullpen. These days, he’s probably the most talked about (and covered) bullpen catcher in Major League Baseball.
Whether it be warming up Boston’s loaded pitching staff, catching home runs in his hat, or giving quotes to Sports Illustrated, it’s clear that Michael Brenly is top-notch in his new role. I mean, how many other bullpen catchers get love from MLB.com and are approached for soundbites? Not too many, I imagine, and it’s probably a testament to how good a guy he is.
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Growing up, Michael attended Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, Arizona and was front and center watching his dad lead the Diamondbacks during their glory years. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, he was there for all three clinching wins during their 2001 World Series run, including the legendary Luiz Gonzalez game.
In the same article, written by Dave Link during the younger Brenly’s playing days in 2012, he talked about 2001 in some depth.
"“It was definitely something I will never forget,” Brenly said. “There are a lot of things in that playoff run that I’ll never forget. Obviously, the Game 7, and winning, and being with him for that, but also the trip to Ground Zero in New York is definitely an eye-opening and life-changing experience.”"
After playing college ball at UNLV, Michael Brenly was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 36th round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft. He’d go on to play eight seasons in the minor leagues, complete with a .241 career batting average. Ironically, the highest level he reached — 2013 with Triple-A Reno — was in his lone season in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. The following season, he picked up with Boston’s Double-A affiliate (Portland) and the rest is history.
As for Bob Brenly, he isn’t far from the franchise he’s so often aligned with. These days, Brenly can be seen (and heard) during Arizona Diamondbacks’ games as part of Fox Sports Arizona’s broadcast team.