'I was floored': Sadak Reds' new TV voice

After realizing MLB dream, 'I want this to be my forever home,' said broadcaster

February 4th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- With little to do during the pandemic that shut down an entire season of Minor League Baseball, play-by-play broadcaster John Sadak took his shot again at trying to reach the big leagues.

It worked. Fans of the Reds and viewers of Fox Sports Ohio will have a new voice calling games during the upcoming season, as Sadak was named the television play-by-play broadcaster on Thursday.

“To be honest, I wrote every team in Major League Baseball in the teeth of the pandemic,” Sadak told MLB.com. “I went eight months with no work, no income. I found myself walking or running my neighborhood pretty much on a daily basis just to cleanse my mind and find some form of sanity. I thought it was a great opportunity to try to connect with people. I’ve done that before.”

Sadak, 41, spent 15 years calling Minor League games for the Class A Advanced Wilmington Blue Rocks and, since 2013, the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Both teams won a league championship while he was behind the microphone.

Wilmington, a Royals affiliate, featured future stars like current Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Danny Duffy and Mike Montgomery. With Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Sadak called the games of future Yankees Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sánchez and Luis Severino.

“I’ve been very lucky with every situation I’ve been in. Teams have won and had incredible moments,” Sadak said.

In 2016, Baseball America named Sadak one of the top broadcasting prospects in the Minors. He’s also most recently worked for CBS Sports as a national TV play-by-play announcer, and he did some radio for the Mets on WCBS-AM. He’s worked games for MLB, the NFL and the NBA along with college football and basketball.

After reaching out to clubs -- including the Reds -- last year, Sadak received no replies. His agent submitted his resume tape to Fox Sports Ohio. The network and the Reds finally responded in January.

“I was floored. It came out of nowhere to some extent. I reached out, [my agent] submitted material as well, but that was months earlier. I was super excited, beyond pumped. It went fairly quickly,” Sadak said. “You realize the odds that are continually terrible to try and make it in an industry like this are getting better.”

Interviews took place last month with Reds CEO Bob Castellini, team president/COO Phil Castellini, senior vice president of business operations Karen Forgus and with Fox Sports Ohio management.

“It was as rapid-fire of a sequence as I’ve had in the best way,” Sadak said.

Sadak, who will also have a role during the Reds' pregame and postgame shows, has been digesting a lot of club information to get ready for the season.

“I’ve been reading as much as I can,” he said. “I’ve watched probably about a dozen games from last year in full to get a bigger feel for some stories that have been told about the players, what the season was like more on a day-to-day basis by watching every pitch. I got a feel of what the historic tone of the broadcast has been. Also, the history of the organization. There is such a rich and robust history to the franchise. It’s going to take me time to acclimate to all of it.”

Sadak grew up in New York City and, for a time, he lived not far from Yankee Stadium. Even though he has worked in several sports at different levels, Major League Baseball was the dream job.

“There’s so much more connection and flow and energy and positivity and fun that comes from being the voice of a team,” Sadak said. “Baseball was the sport that I was first introduced to. My first childhood memory was being on my dad’s shoulders at Dave Righetti’s no-hitter when he struck out Wade Boggs [on July 4, 1983]. I was crisply sunburned, and I was 4 years old.”

The Reds' television play-by-play chair opened in 2020, when longtime voice Thom Brennaman was suspended for using a homophobic slur that was caught by his microphone on air during a commercial break. Brennaman eventually resigned.

Jim Day, who replaced Brennaman on an interim basis last season, will return to his role as a pregame and postgame host and in-game reporter. Chris Welsh will also be back as the main analyst. A spokesperson for Fox Sports Ohio said the full TV broadcast team will be announced soon.

Sadak, who currently lives in Wilmington, Del., plans to move to Cincinnati full-time with his wife and daughter, once she completes second grade.

“I want this to be my forever home,” he said.

Sadak has dabbled with home run calls in the Minors, but he doesn’t have one that’s his signature.

“I always felt every home run was its own organic moment,” Sadak said. “I love the catchphrases that many others have, and it can be powerful and resonate and connect with fans. But I don’t like scripting it. I might try some out organically in the moment and see what sticks.”