The Cincinnati Reds announced their game analysts for the 2021 season alongside newly-minted play by play broadcaster John Sadak, and all of the names are quite familiar to Cincinnati fans.
The big addition to the booth is Hall of Famer and Reds legend Barry Larkin, who has previously worked for MLB Network and ESPN.
The Reds and FOX Sports Ohio announce the 2021 broadcast teams, including the addition of Hall of Famer Barry Larkin to the TV booth. pic.twitter.com/KrZ5vMrmUf
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) February 16, 2021
Per MLB.com, he’ll be calling all 81 of the team’s home games.
In addition to Larkin joining the booth, both Chris Welsh and Jeff Brantley return as analysts, and Jim Day will once again serve as the team’s sideline reporter.
On the radio side, Tommy Thrall returns as the team’s play by play broadcaster for the second season in a full-time capacity (third overall), with Brantley serving as analyst. Welsh will also work as an analyst on select games.
Larkin’s addition to the broadcast crew is the big news here, and I remember digging his work at ESPN. However, he left the network six years ago, and hasn’t worked in broadcasting since. He’s worked for the team as a special assistant over the last five years, so at least he’s been close to the team and is familiar with the players.
But there have always been rumblings about Larkin and the Reds’ managerial job, which he addressed when talking to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.
“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.”
If the Reds get off to a poor start and David Bell is fired midway through the season, will those managerial rumors seep into the broadcast booth? That remains to be seen, but I think it would be inevitable if the team struggles and/or Bell is let go. Furthermore, this could be Bell’s last year managing the team anyway – his contract expires after 2021, with the Reds holding a club option for the 2022 season. I highly doubt Larkin would use his new position in the booth to actually campaign for Bell’s job, and I really hope that there aren’t many awkward situations over the summer if a managerial switch looks likely for the Reds following (or during) the season.