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Bob Brenly leaving Cubs’ TV booth, might return to D-backs

Bob Brenly (right) says he will not return Cubs TV booth 2013. Partner Len Kasper is expected return. | Sun-Times

Bob Brenly (right) says he will not return to the Cubs TV booth in 2013. Partner Len Kasper is expected to return. | Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 17, 2012 7:48PM

One of the Cubs’ best off-the-field teams in recent years is being forced into rebuilding mode, too, with popular TV analyst Bob Brenly confirming Wednesday that he’s leaving the booth he has shared with longtime broadcast partner Len Kasper.

Brenly, a former All-Star catcher whose son Michael is a catcher in the Cubs’ minor-league system, wouldn’t say where he planned to work next season.

Many expect he’ll return to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team he managed to the 2001 World Series title, for a broadcast job he has been linked to since the team decided not to bring back analyst Mark Grace after Grace’s second DUI arrest in 15 months.

An announcement on Brenly’s new job is expected in the next two weeks.

WGN released a brief statement saying Brenly informed the station he would not return.

‘‘Other than saying how much I enjoyed my eight years here and how lucky I was to work for WGN and go to work at Wrigley Field every day, I really don’t want to say much more right now,’’ Brenly said.

White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone, who also was linked to the Diamondbacks job, might be the front-runner to replace Brenly. Stone left the Cubs booth after a falling-out with the previous administration in 2004 over sharp criticism of the team.

Stone has two years left on his contract with the Sox, but his uneasy working relationship with partner Hawk Harrelson is well known and leaves open the possibility he would be allowed to leave for another job.

Stone did not immediately return messages, but during his weekly radio appearance on WSCR-AM (670) last week, he responded to the Diamondbacks rumors:

‘‘I plan to stay with the Chicago White Sox through this contact and hopefully beyond. Regardless of what you might have read or heard or people speculated on or blogged or anything else, I will be back. It’s 100 percent. Hopefully, as I said, for many years. In looking at it, this is, in my estimation, the best big city in the country.’’

Regardless of Brenly’s replacement, the Cubs are losing a fan favorite who entertained with his easy style, often candid analysis and strong repertoire with eight-year partner Kasper. They often veered off on discussions about music, including their own occasional performances.

‘‘I just know I’m going to miss the hell out of him,’’ said Kasper, who learned of the departure Wednesday and said he hasn’t heard yet of any possible replacements.

‘‘I’ve been very aware of how lucky I’ve been to work with the guy I would consider the best at his job in the entire industry. I was hopeful we would work together for a couple decades, but that’s just not how this business works. Unfortunately, everything’s fleeting, even the good stuff. It’s still sinking in, I guess.’’

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