Steve Stewart will tell you that broadcasting Reds baseball was his "dream job". He'll do so despite the many personal and professional obstacles he encountered shortly after accepting the position.
Not only was Stewart replacing a living legend in Joe Nuxhall, he was also dealing with a divorce and having to juggle difficult family matters along with trying to fit in alongside Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman in one of the most heralded chairs in baseball broadcasting.
It was reported today that Stewart's contract will not be extended. He has agreed to broadcast Reds games through the end of the 2006 season.
"Marty has been great to me," Stewart told MLB.com. "Joe (Nuxhall) has been great to me. I learned so much. The fans have welcomed me and been supportive. I appreciate their accepting me. You have to have thick skin in this business. I think I've been treated great here. The toughest thing was telling my son, the world's biggest Reds fan. He asked me, 'Can we still go to Reds games?'"
Under the circumstances, Stewart did a marvelous job. He never really replaced Nuxhall who was called back to broadcast Reds games on a rotating basis. But, Stewart never complained. He continually deferred to Nuxhall's schedule, the two working alongside one another on several occasions.
Stewart is one of the truest gentleman I've encountered during my time covering the Reds. I sincerely hope that the opportunity afforded him by the Reds is just one of many he'll earn in his broadcasting career.
Stewart deserves more than a wink, a smile and a wave goodbye. He deserves our respect.
I wish him the absolute best. The "Bad Boy" is anything but.