The Reds have gone through a record number of pitchers over the last two seasons, so Cincinnati fans have become well acquainted with learning new names for both starters and relievers every few weeks. The constant changing that has really been frustrating, though, for us who follow the games has nothing to do with decisions on the diamond.
Almost inexplicably, the Reds have employed a haphazard scheduling system for its many broadcasters. Fans who listen or watch the games often have no idea which voice they will hear calling the game, especially now that Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman has opted for an abbreviated schedule.
His main substitute has been veteran announcer Jim Kelch, who at times also served as Brennaman's play by play partner. Last week, however, the club chose not to renew Kelch's contract for the 2018 season, a sign that fans will once again have to grow accustomed to a new voice.
In addition to Kelch, Cincinnati has used ten different broadcasters over the last two seasons. Among the names are George Grande, Chris Welsh, Jim Day, Jeff Piecoro, Doug Flynn, and Jeff Brantley.
Along with these is Brennaman's son, Thom, who usually does television broadcasts. He, too, has an abbreviated schedule, since his work as a national sportscaster often has him traveling all over the country.
Had these near dozen broadcasters been given a regular rotation, the slate might have worked. As it is, though, the pairings have been varied and the assignments seem to change from series to series.
With Marty Brennaman now past his mid seventies, it is time for the Reds to seriously assess the future of their broadcasting staff. Not one of the current voices is an exciting option to take over for the Hall of Famer, but there is an opportunity to hire a popular baseball figure who has been doing radio in Cincinnati for nearly twenty years.
The next broadcaster for Cincinnati should be Tracy Jones, a former Reds outfielder who hosted a post game sports talk show for ten years before landing the afternoon slot on high-powered WLW. He and Eddie Fingers actually had the highest national ranking in the three to six spot at various times from 2010 until Jones left in 2017.
Jones has already established a dynamic chemistry with Marty Brennaman, since the two have hosted a daily segment called "Brennaman and Jones On Baseball." The pair would exude that same bantering comradarie in the booth, making for delightful listening for Reds fans.
Since Jones has spent so many years working successfully with Fingers, a professional radio personality, he should have no problem working with anyone Cincinnati hires when Brennaman decides to call it quits. With a resume that includes having been a professional ballplayer and working with two Hall of Fame radio personalities, Tracy Jones should be a no-brainer as the next long-term Reds broadcaster.
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