For the first time in five decades, there will be no Brennaman in the broadcast booth on the opening day of the Reds.
Hall of Fame Reds shortstop Barry Larkin makes his debut as an analyst on the Reds TV team with new play-by-play announcer John Sadak, a CBS Sports Network and radio announcer Westwood One.
The Reds network also has a new name. The name Fox Sports Ohio was changed to Bally Sports Ohio. This is the result of a partnership with the casino conglomerate and Sinclair Broadcast Group, which acquired Fox’s regional sports networks in 2019.
Red’s TV analyst Chris Welsh will be back for season 29. He will be part of a three-man booth for the 4:10 p.m. Reds Cardinals game from the Great American Ball Park simulcast on Bally Sports Ohio and WKRC-TV. Opening day will likely be the only show that uses a three-person booth, says Sadak.
Sadak was hired to replace announcer Thom Brennaman in early February. Brennaman resigned after 13 seasons on September 25, 2020, five weeks after being removed from a TV show in the middle of a game for doing a homophobic arc on air on August 19. Thom Brennaman came home from the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 to join his father on the Reds show. Marty Brennaman retired after 46 seasons in 2019.
Sadak, 42, has nearly 15 years of minor league baseball broadcasting experience. He’s also mentioned NFL games; a couple of Mets games as fill-in announcers; and college basketball, soccer, ice hockey, soccer, and lacrosse for CBS, ESPN, or Fox Sports. To learn more about him, read my story, “Meet John Sadak, New Reds TV Voice” from March 4th.
“I’m more excited and energetic than I’ve ever been in my life to call a game,” says Sadak. “Opening day is a day of wonder, hope and joy, and no one makes opening day better than the Cincinnati Reds.”
Larkin will play all of the Reds’ 81 home games on television. Welsh will play 55 TV games and Jeff “The Cowboy” Brantley will play 25 TV games as usual in his 15th Reds season. Like last year, street shows will be broadcast from the studio in downtown Bally Sports Ohio for the time being.
Larkin, 46, a former Reds captain who played for Cincinnati all of his 19 seasons, has worked as a studio analyst for the MLB Network and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball and Baseball Tonight. Opening day marks his debut as a game analyst.
“I love teaching baseball,” Larkin told reporters last month. “I can talk about what is happening, criticize the piece and talk about what was tried in a given situation.
“You know, I’ve worked with Cowboy. Heck, I’ve played with Cowboy and Chris Welsh and I look forward to working with both of them because I enjoy talking to baseball players about baseball and they are both very knowledgeable. (They were ) Pitchers but still informed about the game, “he said with a laugh.
Welsh, who completed two spring training games on the radio with Tommy Thrall, will be part of the radio rotation for the first time. He’ll be playing 55 games with Thrall when Brantley is out or on TV. If you’re not playing TV or radio games, Welsh will appear on the Reds live shows before and after the game, he says.
Jim Day will be back as a supporting reporter for his 20th season. Day – who appeared on television during Brennaman’s suspension last year and played radio-by-play in 2018 after Jim Kelch was dropped – was never a candidate for the job (play-by-play), which I’m fine with “Tag tells me.
“I’ll be part of the broadcast team every game. And I’ll be back in my familiar role,” said Day. “I have set myself the goal of being as diverse as possible in my career in order to do justice to today’s broadcasting world. This is the only way some of us can stay playfully occupied. I give this advice to every aspiring broadcaster: do everything! You can literally calling on me for every role. I am blessed. “
Reds fans will notice other changes this year as well. Reporter Jeff Piecoro, former Reds pitcher Danny Graves and Big Red Machine infielder Doug Flynn have been banned from the Reds broadcast team.
The Reds Live Pregame Show, hosted by Brian Giesenschlag and Sam LeCure, is broadcast 30 minutes before each Reds game throughout the season. It will be extended to one hour on the opening day at 3 p.m. The Reds Live Postgame Show airs immediately after every Reds game.
Most of the local morning TV news is broadcast from Great American Ball Park on Thursday. Reds Live will air on Bally Sports Ohio and Channel 12 the Thursday before the game at 3:00 p.m.