Tuesday, February 24, 2009

'Skimming' No Surprise to Reds Marty Brennaman

An unsubstantiated suspicion that Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden may somehow be connected with the supposed fraudulent taking of kickbacks from young player prospects "comes as no surprise to me," says Hall-of-Fame Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman.

Brenneman -- who covered the Reds during Bowden's rocky tenure as general manager in Cincinnati -- suggested to son Tom Brennaman in a recent broadcast commentary for WLW Radio that a history of arguably dubious dealings by Bowden indicates something may be amiss.

"That guy has been such a bad guy for such a long time that what goes around, comes around," said Brennaman, who has a reputation for outspokenness if not being altogether blunt.

Brennaman has also been predicting that Bowden will never work in baseball management again, nor in broadcasting despite his media background.

Bowden -- reported by SI.com to be included in a federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses paid to player prospects from Latin America -- has denied any wrongdoing. No accusations against him have been substantiated, and no charges were filed against him as the result of his reported questioning by the FBI concerning related matters last year.

Bowden has become the center of a firestorm of publicity after it was revealed that Nationals player Esmailyn Gonzalez received a $1.4 million signing bonus after purporting himself to be a 16-year-old though he was actually 21. The Gonzalez rift is unrelated to a skimming probe, according to published statements attributed to Nationals president Stan Kasten, who stands behind Bowden.

A number of controversies involving trades and other personnel decisions have followed Bowden through much of his career, perhaps none greater than his firing of popular Reds manager Tony Perez after a lapse of just 44 games during the 1993 season.