Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster Bob Brenly apologized on Wednesday for comment on Tuesday’s broadcast about the headwear of Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman.
“During last night’s game, I made a poor attempt at humor that was insensitive and wrong,” Brenly, a former Diamondbacks manager, said in a statement released through the team. “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 that I can continue to learn from my mistakes to be better in the future.”
In the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game in Arizona, with the camera showing a close-up of Stroman on the mound, Brenly said, “Pretty sure that’s the same durag that Tom Seaver used to wear when he pitched for the Mets.”
Brenly, 67, did not address the comment for the rest of the game, and the Diamondbacks did not televise Wednesday’s game, which was carried exclusively on YouTube. Stroman was not asked about the comment in his postgame Zoom news conference, but he has since tweeted or re-tweeted about it dozens of times.
“Onward and upward … through all adversity and racist undertones. The climb continues through all!” Stroman wrote in one post. In another, above an illustration of himself in a durag, Stroman wrote, “Those who talk down on you are already beneath you.”
Stroman also tweeted a photo of himself in a durag marked with his personal brand, HDMH, and wrote, “Du-rags coming soon.” Stroman is the shortest pitcher in the major leagues, at 5 feet 7 inches tall, and the name of his apparel company stands for “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart.”
Mets manager Luis Rojas called Brenly’s comments inappropriate and said that if Brenly tried to make a joke, Rojas did not get it. Rojas said he had spoken with Stroman, whose father is Black and whose mother is from Puerto Rico, about his cultural experiences.
“Some of the things that happen out in society, they really affect a guy like Marcus, and they affect other people,” Rojas said. “I can understand him being upset with what happened last night.”
Rojas added: “He’s always going to voice his opinion. He’s always been authentic, and any conversation that you have with him is real.”
Brenly played in the majors from 1981 through 1989, mainly with the San Francisco Giants, and won the World Series with Arizona in 2001, his first of three and a half seasons as the Diamondbacks’ manager. He has also called games for Fox Sports and the Chicago Cubs.
Brenly’s comment about Stroman was not his first clumsy attempt at humor about a player’s fashion choices. In 2019, when referencing a necklace worn by San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr., who is from the Dominican Republic, Brenly said, “It might be easier to run the bases if he didn’t have that bike chain around his neck.”