A drive into deep left field by Castellanos

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thom Brennaman in 2018

"A drive into deep left field by Castellanos" is a phrase spoken by Thom Brennaman, a play-by-play announcer for the Cincinnati Reds, during a baseball game against Kansas City on August 19, 2020. Brennaman was replaced in the middle of the broadcast for a microphone gaffe in which he described an unnamed location as "one of the fag capitals of the world". While he apologized to listeners on the air, Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos hit a home run, which caused Brennaman to interrupt himself to deliver a home run call, describing the hit as a "drive into deep left field", before continuing with his apology. The surreal nature of the apology gave it notoriety in baseball internet culture, and has led to the phrase's use as a copypasta.


Thom Brennaman, a baseball announcer for the Cincinnati Reds, commentated for a doubleheader between the Reds and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 19, 2020. Before the start of the top of the seventh inning of the first game, Brennaman was caught on a hot mic describing an unidentified location as "one of the fag capitals of the world".[1][2][3][4] According to David J. Halberstam, who interviewed Brennaman more than a year after the incident, the aforementioned location was San Francisco, California.[5]

Brennaman, who was broadcasting from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati due to COVID-19 travel precautions, continued into a promotion for the Reds' pre-game show and went on to provide play-by-play commentary for the Reds on Fox Sports Ohio into the second game of the doubleheader.[6][1][2] Backlash against Brennaman grew as clips of the incident, perceived to be homophobic, were shared on social media.[7]


Castellanos in 2021

During the top of the fifth inning of the second game, Brennaman was pulled off the broadcast by Fox Sports Ohio.[8] Before being replaced by Jim Day, Brennaman issued an apology on the air:[9]

I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of. If I have hurt anyone out there, I can't tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart I'm so very, very sorry. I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith – as there's a drive into deep left field by Castellanos, it will be a home run. And so that will make it a 4–0 ballgame. I don't know if I'm gonna be putting on this headset again. I don't know if it's gonna be for the Reds, I don't know if it's gonna be for my bosses at Fox. I want to apologize for the people who sign my paycheck – for the Reds, for Fox Sports Ohio, for the people I work with, for anybody that I've offended here tonight. I can't begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am. It never has been. And I'd like to think maybe I could have some people ... that could back that up. I am very, very sorry, and I beg for your forgiveness. Jim Day will take you the rest of the way home.

During the apology, Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos hit a home run that landed next to a Planet Fitness billboard with the phrase "judgement-free zone".[10] Brennaman interrupted his apology to provide play-by-play commentary for the home run, calling it a "drive into deep left field", before abruptly returning to the apology.[11][12][10]


The Cincinnati Reds issued a statement on Twitter expressing apologies and announcing Brennaman's immediate suspension.[13][3] Reds pitchers Amir Garrett and Matt Bowman tweeted separate statements in support of the LGBTQ community.[6][14] The following day, Fox Sports announced that Brennaman would no longer serve as an announcer for the channel's National Football League broadcasts.[8]

Some media commentators noted that the apology appeared weak and insincere.[15][16][17][18] Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David described the incident as "unfortunate", stating "I think we need to really think about how this is how he felt so comfortable in the first place."[18] GLAAD released a statement calling Brennaman's apology "incredibly weak and not enough".[4]

On September 25, 2020, after Brennaman announced his resignation, Reds CEO Bob Castellini issued a statement calling the announcer a "fantastic talent and a good man who remains part of the Reds family forever".[10]

Castellanos acknowledged the incident in a February 2023 Instagram post ahead of Spring Training. The post, a video that shows Castellanos practicing his swing, has the caption "And there's a deep drive... Phillies '23".[19]


In a podcast that aired in November 2021, Brennaman revealed his disappointment in the popular response to his apology, stating: "But for people to criticize a sincere apology ... That's when you know that there is a lot wrong with a lot of people. Not just me – and I've got a lot wrong with me. There is a lot wrong in this world."[20]

After the incident, Brennaman began working with LGBTQ-outreach groups such as the Children's Home of Northern Kentucky and PFLAG. Local leaders of the LGBTQ community in Cincinnati cited his subsequent work as reasons to support his return to broadcasting.[21]


Jokes incorporating Brennaman's phrase "a drive into deep left field by Castellanos" began shortly after the broadcast, including a tweet by Pablo S. Torre that parodied President Richard Nixon's 1974 resignation speech:[10][22]

I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first. And there's a drive into deep left field by Castellanos.

The use of the apology as a copypasta did not gain traction until after Castellini's September 25 statement praising Brennaman.[10] Ryan M. Milner attributes the proliferation of the copypasta to the virality of the original apology and to the non sequitur nature of the home run call. According to Milner, the copypasta allows people to joke about being cynical in avoidance of being fooled.[10]


  1. ^ a b Mitchell, Madeline (August 19, 2020). "Brennaman after using slur on air: 'I don't know if I'm going to be putting on this headset again.'". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "FOX Sports takes Brennaman off NFL broadcasts". Reuters. August 20, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Kalaf, Samer (August 21, 2020). "Baseball Announcer Thom Brennaman Found a New, Surreal Way to Ruin a Public Apology". Slate. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Levenson, Michael (August 20, 2020). "Reds Announcer Is Suspended After Using Homophobic Slur on Air". The New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  5. ^ Clark, Dave (September 21, 2021). "Thom Brennaman said he missed football more than baseball in interview with David Halberstam". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Reds suspend broadcaster for using anti-gay slur". ESPN. August 20, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  7. ^ Regina, Nick (August 20, 2020). "Longtime broadcaster Thom Brennaman removed from FOX Sports broadcast mid-game following homophobic slur". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Bieler, Des; Boren, Cindy; Bonesteel, Matt (August 20, 2020). "Thom Brennaman suspended by Reds and Fox Sports for homophobic slur". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  9. ^ Mitchell, Madeline (August 19, 2020). "Watch Thom Brennaman's apology after making homophobic slur on air during Reds-Royals game". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Lindbergh, Ben (March 29, 2021). "How "A Drive Into Deep Left Field by Castellanos" Became the Perfect Meme for These Strange Times". The Ringer. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  11. ^ Wertheim, Jon (June 6, 2022). "The Hilarious, Improbable Timing of Nick Castellanos's Home Runs". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  12. ^ Goffinet, Jared (August 19, 2021). "1 year ago: Ex-Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman uses anti-gay slur on-air". Fox 19 Now (WXIX-TV). Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  13. ^ @Reds (August 20, 2020). "OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE CINCINNATI REDS" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Haring, Bruce (August 20, 2020). "Cincinnati Reds Announcer Thom Brennaman Issues Apology Letter For Gay Slur, But Suspended From Reds And NFL Games". Deadline. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  15. ^ Traina, Jimmy (August 20, 2020). "It's Hard to Fathom Just How Dumb Thom Brennaman's Night Was". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  16. ^ Padecky, Bob (August 24, 2020). "In a world of 2nd chances, using a slur is one-strike-and-you're-out". The Press Democrat. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  17. ^ Finn, Chad (August 22, 2020). "Why Thom Brennaman's apology for a homophobic slur rings hollow – The Boston Globe". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  18. ^ a b Allen, Karma; Morrison, Tony (August 20, 2020). "Thom Brennaman's apology for anti-LGBTQ slur falls flat, advocates say". ABC News. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  19. ^ Andres, Patrick (February 20, 2023). "Phillies Outfielder Nick Castellanos Acknowledges Meme in Instagram Post". Sports Illustrated.
  20. ^ Clark, Dave (November 12, 2021). "Former Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman: Criticism of on-air apology shows there's 'a lot wrong in this world'". USA Today. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  21. ^ Zeigler, Cyd (March 22, 2022). "Who is the real Thom Brennaman, and does he deserve a second chance?". Outsports. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  22. ^ Torre, Pablo S. [@PabloTorre] (August 20, 2020). "I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first. And there's a drive into deep left field by Castellanos" (Tweet) – via Twitter.