Larkin joining Reds' TV broadcast crew

February 16th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- Former Reds shortstop and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin is joining the television broadcast team on Fox Sports Ohio, the club announced on Tuesday.

Larkin will be part of a rotation of analysts that includes mainstays Chris Welsh and Jeff Brantley. They will be joined by John Sadak, who is entering his first season as Cincinnati’s play-by-play TV voice. Welsh is starting his 29th season as the Reds’ TV analyst.

Sideline reporter Jim Day will be back for his 20th season, and he will also return with new episodes of the Jim Day Podcast.

Larkin, 56, played all 19 of his big league seasons (1986-2004) with his hometown Reds, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1995. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

“I’m really looking forward to the consistency and the conversations, and that’s what I plan on bringing to the broadcast booth,” Larkin said. “I know people want to know what’s happening on the field and, more importantly, why it’s happening. I look forward to being able to educate and inform. I had a chance to spend some time with John Sadak, and I’m excited about his professionalism and consistency.”

The plan is for Larkin to work all 81 home games. He has also been in conversations with Reds CEO Bob Castellini and COO Phil Castellini about taking part in organizational initiatives in Cincinnati.

Sadak, who was introduced as the play-by-play voice to replace Thom Brennaman on Feb. 4, is thrilled about the addition of Larkin.

“This is a 'pinch me' moment that I don’t think you can top,” Sadak said. “It was hard to top the idea of calling Major League games. Then you add in a living legend, and you can pick his brain. You can watch the game alongside him. You can learn through him. It’s just incredible. He will instantly become the most decorated and accomplished person that I’ve had a chance to work with on a regular basis. I can’t wait to get to know him as a person and to be able to have fun with him calling games.”

Larkin went into broadcasting with MLB Network in 2009; in 2011 he moved to ESPN for Baseball Tonight analysis and the Sunday Night Baseball pregame show, and covered such events as Spring Training and the College Baseball World Series.

For the past five seasons, Larkin has been in the Reds' front office as a special assistant for player performance. That included working as a roving infield instructor in the Minor Leagues and Spring Training. He’s often been rumored as a manager-in-waiting, which has led to controversy at times.

“This in no way is any attempt to get me any closer to managing the Cincinnati Reds,” Larkin said. “I’m a David Bell fan, and I support him and want him to do well. I know last time I mentioned it, it was Bryan Price at the helm and it was misconstrued as me saying that I would like to manage, and I think it just created some bad feelings which really weren’t there, but it is what it is.”

Larkin hopes to use his platform to help a younger audience connect with baseball -- specifically, the Reds.

“One of the things that I’m looking forward to is my relationship with the players and being able to, through the broadcast booth, be able to advocate on behalf of the players and some of the things that are important to them,” Larkin said. “This is a player’s game. I realize that those guys are the stars and also the guys that young people growing up want to be like. I feel like one of my responsibilities, one of my opportunities, is to illustrate and highlight some of the positive aspects on behalf of the players to make it more attractive to young people in the game and want to be more like those players. Kind of connect those dots, if you will, in a very positive way.

“There’s a lot of great things that are happening not on the surface of Major League Baseball," he added. "There are a lot of great things that are happening within this organization that have yet to manifest itself and grow fruit, but there is an undercurrent of incredible positives in this organization. I look forward to bringing that to the broadcast booth and sharing some of those things with people in the community to hopefully make the union between the organization and the communities stronger.”

The club also announced that the Reds Live pregame and postgame shows will be hosted by Brian Giesenschlag and Sam LeCure.

On the radio, Tommy Thrall and Brantley will return as the main pairing, with Welsh working as an analyst for select games. Thrall is in his third season broadcasting for the Reds and his second as the full-time play-by-play announcer on rights holder 700 WLW. Brantley is in his 15th season as a member of the Reds' radio television network teams.

Dave Armbruster will return for his 36th season as the producer of Reds games on radio and has contributed to and hosted pregame and postgame shows.