This week’s respondents are Chad Dotson, Matt Habel, Steve Mancuso, Clay Marshall and Tom Mitsoff.

Our Daily Reds Obsession: Which of the Reds broadcasters do you like the most? 

Chad: Marty Brennaman. Now that Vin Scully is retired, there isn’t a radio play-by-play broadcaster in all of baseball — and I’ve heard them all — who can match Marty in terms of describing the action on the field. But that’s only a tiny part of the reason why I’m picking Marty here. Marty Brennaman is the soundtrack to my childhood, the background noise to backyard whiffle ball games and road trips in the back seat of a station wagon. As a teenager, I fell asleep to Marty calling games on the west coast, and I was thrilled every single time he said, “…and this one belongs to the Reds!”

Sure, I’m the resident gooey, sentimental, “Field of Dreams”-type fan here at RN. But I picked Marty as my favorite many, many years ago, and I guess I’ll just stubbornly hang onto that until he’s retired.

(Chris Welsh may be the most underrated television color guy in the big leagues, however. I’m always disappointed when he isn’t on the broadcast team for a particular game.)

Matt: I am going with my fellow St. Xavier High School alum and say Chris Welsh. He does a nice job balancing out Thom and making the TV broadcasts easy to listen to. I also like that he tries to introduce viewers to some newer metrics. His intricate knowledge of the rules is not always valuable but can be another good learning experience. One thing that has been fun in the past couple years is that he seems to have good perspective on the young pitchers in terms of both their mindsets and mechanics and I think he definitely adds value with his analysis in that regard. Chris was also the first person I remember talking about TOOTBLANs, so that is an automatic victory for me.

Steve: Jeff Brantley has become a superb play-by-play announcer on the radio broadcast. My favorite part is when he talks about specific pitcher-hitter strategy dynamics during an at bat. He also brings experience and credibility as a former player to his commentary. Brantley is willing to criticize player performance when merited as he sees it, but he’s even-handed about it. He seems to be well prepared. His soothing, home-spun style is easy to listen to and he sets a good scene. I’d love to hear him call an entire game as the radio play-by-play broadcaster. Honorable mention to Chris Welsh, who is trying really hard to add a solid dose of sabermetric information and viewpoint to his commentary.

Clay: I absolutely hate the down-time that television announcers refuse to fill. With the exception of golf and tennis, I can’t think of another sport where people who are paid to speak for a living go silent for such long stretches. That said, I generally prefer listening to radio feeds, although I try to switch back whenever I see Jim Day saying something. And though I don’t enjoy his crankiness, I think Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley have a fun dynamic and good rapport with one another. I also enjoy Brantley’s solo innings of play-by-play, which I’m guessing is considerably harder than he makes it sound.

Tom: Chris Welsh offers unique insight into situations and individual players. He also has an exceptional knowledge of the rule book, which very often serves him and his viewers well. Jeff Brantley has terrific insight into pitching, but because I use MLB.TV for most of my Reds game consumption, I hear Welsh much more than Brantley.

52 Responses

  1. cfd3000

    Marty Brenneman is still and will probably always be what Reds games sound like to me. And the final call of “And this one belongs to the Reds” never gets old. But I don’t live in Reds radio country and it’s rarely worth the complicated gyrations to get a Marty call with an MLB.TV or Extra Innings video feed. So Marty is my nostalgic choice. Right now Chris Welsh is the most insightful and interesting voice of the Reds, with Jeff Brantley a close second. And if Jim Day is not the best prepared, most informed on the field and in the dugout guy in MLB I will, as Fred Astaire says in Holiday Inn, “eat a garage mechanic’s shirt.”

  2. Mike

    “I also enjoy Brantley’s solo innings of play-by-play, which I’m guessing is considerably harder than he makes it sound.”

    It definitely is harder than he makes it sound, you can tell if you hear one of his broadcasts from early on in his career. He used to be BRUTAL at play by play but has improved tremendously.

    As nuts as it makes me with the ever evolving 8(?) man rotation they have going, I actually think all the announcers benefit from getting a few weeks off in each season as well.

  3. wkuchad

    Love Marty but the Reds radio station doesn’t come in so well where I live. Welsh is by far my favorite on TV. I’d love for Marty to join Welsh for a few TV broadcasts in 2018.

  4. Shchi Cossack

    I’ve been impressed with the play-by-play work from Jim Day in the limited opportunities he’s had, but I’m not sure if that’s a positive accolade for Jim or more of a thankful respite from listening to Thom. I’m always more engaged when listening to Brantley or Welsh. I simply tune out when Thom opens his mouth and I haven’t had an opportunity to listen to Marty recently.

  5. Preach

    Love listening to the Cowyboy’s insights on the radio. He has come a very long way. I also enjoy when Chris can bring his tech-talks into games.

    Marty and Joe were a huge part of my formative years as well, but when Marty goes on one of his negativity benders he is almost unlistenable. When he is even keeled, he is one of the finest in baseball.

    Cant stand listening to Thom. But one of my favorites has gone unmentioned: the illustrious George Grande. He just makes me happy for no real apparent reason.

    • lwblogger2

      I like George Grande too. I am glad we don’t need to listen to him every day anymore but I enjoy his limited appearances as the play-by-play guy for FoxSportsOH…. He’s always upbeat and positive. It is supremely obvious that he just loves baseball and loves his job. He also is quite good at calling the game.

  6. Tom Payne

    My favorite remains Marty. He tells it like it is and knows his baseball. How we lookin’?
    Pretty good!

  7. TR

    With some exceptions, I don’t listen often to the Red’s broadcasters preferring to watch the game as a ballet. But the Reds have an outstanding broadcast crew with Marty at the top of his game unless he goes negative. I try to catch Jim Day’s interviews as he comes across as a real human interest guy. The broadcast media has always been important in Cincinnati and that’s still the case.

  8. Kyle Farmer

    There’s a poster at another site who has the following signature – “No matter who is calling the game, I am listening to Marty and Joe.”

    I have always liked that and I think that is what makes it tough on broadcasters around here. The standard set is incredibly high by that team. I think Marty respected Joe in a way that he doesn’t with Brantley (not that he doesn’t respect Brantley but Joe was senior to Marty in experience and in Cincinnati when Marty joined the crew) and it was Joe who kept some of Marty’s negativity muted.

    If I had to pick, I think I would go with Brantley. He has vastly improved as a play-by-play guy and his knowledge of pitching is clear. However, Jim Day just makes me feel good. I love his work and his personality.

    • lwblogger2

      Jim Day may be the most pleasant guy in broadcasting.

  9. Kyle Farmer

    I should also add that Jim Kelch has really grown on me. I think he and Brantley would make an excellent radio team when Marty retires. I think Kelch has earned the job.

  10. Scott Carter

    Living in Virginia, I don’t get to listen to radio Broadcasts very often, but I grew up on Marty and Joe (well I am old enough to remember Al Michaels) I agree with Kyle earlier who said that Joe kind of tempered some of Marty’s negativity. But on the MLB.TV broadcasts the best duos are George Grande and Chris Welsh, but I also enjoy Brantley when he comes over. And who doesn’t like Day. He’s a “baseball guy.”

  11. Sandman

    I’m kinda with everybody here. All you guys made sound “arguments” for the mentioned broadcasters. I noticed one name missing though…Thom. Is that bcuz he’s not an official member of the Reds broadcast team somehow or bcuz you guys are all unanimous in your “dislike” of him? But, it’s hard for me to totally not like Marty for the same reasons that Chad mentioned. But Marty’s rants about Votto certainly dropped him several notches in my book and if he continues these rants against Votto, he’ll continue to drop. Welsh is seemingly laid back but with a little bit of an edge. Welsh isn’t as laid back as Jeff though. Day is pretty cool. I guess I like them all…even Thom.

    • Matthew Habel

      I think Thom just tries too hard at some points during the game and that makes it hard to listen to

      • Bob Purkey

        Thom, just flat out, talks too much! The same style for radio is not needed on TV and he doesn’t seem to get the difference between the two media offerings

      • Gaffer

        He also has no idea what he is saying.

    • VaRedsFan

      Marty was railing on Votto because he was flat out stinking for 2 months to start the season. People like Marty because of his honesty. (Or at least I do). I don’t want him to say so and so is coughing up all unicorns and rainbows, when that is everything but the truth.

  12. WVRedlegs

    I like Chris Welsh a lot and I really enjoy Jeff Brantley on the TV when he fills in for Welsh. Brantley is very good on the radio too.
    For me, I would like to see a 3-man TV booth with Welsh and Brantley doing the commentary. That will give less time to Thom to ramble off on some tangent. I like Thom, but he does get carried away at times.
    On the radio side, if Brantley moves to the TV booth, then Jim Kelch would be a good replacement as he works well with Marty.

  13. doofus

    The Best: “The Cowboy;” the worst: Thom Brennaman.

  14. NCRedFan

    I’m going to say my DVR. I actually like listening to Chris Welsh, but can’t stand some of the dumb things that Thom B says.

    I love skipping all the commercials and when Thom starts one of his senseless rants I can just skip right through. Takes the games down from 3 hours to about an hour and an half.

  15. Colorado Red

    Not exactly what is asked here.
    But I grew up listening to Marty and Joe on Reds radio.
    3 WC’s in the process.
    RIP Joe.

  16. JB WV

    Like in this order: Radio: Brantley, Marty, Kelch. TV: Brantley, Welsh, Thom. Jim Day is a nice guy but bores me to tears, as does George Grande who should have stayed retired. At least Thom puts some life into his broadcast. I also go back to Marty and Joe (and Al Michaels), impossible to beat. Those were the days before Marty got that bug in his rump. Course the Reds were winning more then, too.

  17. Matt WI

    I’d add the Kelch/Brantley love as a duo going forward. Brantley had improved, and I can hear what people say when you’re talking about his analysis. As someone who listens to most games via radio, I still think he’s prone to not fully explaining what transpires during a play– e.g. most often not telling you if a runner has advanced away from the direct play a lot.

    Kelch has become the perfect antidote for Marty’s editorialism and general crankiness. Kelch calls a good game, comes across a good natured. I can fill in the blanks with my own opinion instead of someone souring the product I want to love with their own.

  18. Ethan L

    Chris and George together. It’s a delight when those two work together.

  19. David E Phillips

    I would go with Jim Day and Brantley (by a hair over Welsh). If we could ever get Joe to do more than an inning a week though…

  20. reaganspad

    Welsh and Brantley. Radio, TV don’t care.

    I tune Marty in during the 2nd inning to listen to the guest beat writer and for the end of the game call.

    But Brantley and Welsh are the best baseball announcers in Cincy. I do like how Jim Day is coming along and what he adds and do agree with Ethan above that George and Chris together is a great combo as well (even though the yer er ee three is a little old school). But I like it like Marty’s end of the game call

  21. Dick

    Chris Welsh & Jim Kelch call the best games and Brantley is quite good as long as he doesn’t venture into any non-baseball related territory.

    • Dick

      I see my comment was edited. The edit concerning Thom seems acceptable. But why was my statement of personal opinion concerning Jim Day edited? I fail to see how it violated the posted “guidelines.”

  22. Bill

    I’ll take Marty. When I was growing up
    & into my 20s it was Waite Hoyt & Marty comes close. Always enjoyed rain delays with Waite, the stories when he was in the minors then with the Yankees. Seems like some of the others aren’t in the game. Watching a game there was a fly ball & the announcer said it was caught against the wall & the outfielder wasn’t even on the warning track. Other times they don’t know how many are on base or how many outs. Makes me feel like Dizzy Dean when he was watching a Cards game & listening to Harry Carey. Dean said “are we watching the same game?”.

  23. cupofcoffee1955

    I do miss listening to the “old Marty” & Joe but now I catch the Reds games on TV. I feel Jim Kelch is very underrated as a play-by-play man. I enjoy him the most.
    I understand George Grande is a very nice man but when he is on, I mute the sound. He talked too much.

  24. Klugo

    Kelch and Welsh. I usually watch the game on FS and I love listening to Chris Welsh give color. Brantley has a voice made for radio, but he’s a terrible color commentator. If I took a drink every time Jeff Brantley said the words “me” or “my” or “I” during a TV broadcast, I’d be drunk by the 3rd inning.

  25. Steven Ross

    Chris Welsh is the best. Thom Brennaman is very good calling NFL games. I wish he’d stay in that mode when calling Reds games.

    • lwblogger2

      Thom is ok on national broadcasts as well. He just starts pontificating a lot more when he’s calling Reds games. I think he’s trying to be like his dad but without the cred.

  26. Abdul

    Without a doubt Chris Welsh and no one is a close second.
    I would advise Thom to get out of the commercials. They are making him look ridiculous.

  27. bouwills

    I enjoy them all. What I enjoy the least is when I’m listening to the radio broadcast & the play by play guy fails to call the pitch as it arrives. Sometimes 1 or 2 pitches are thrown without the listener being informed. Baseball has a pace. Both pitchers have a pace. It’s part of the game. Usually Marty is the culprit. I like the interviews- but I’m listening to the game.

  28. VaRedsFan

    Marty->Welsh->Brantley->Day. Thom is my least favorite. Day made great strides this year in the booth

    Marty was railing on Votto because he was flat out stinking for 2 months to start the season (.229) and (.200). People like Marty because of his honesty. (Or at least I do). I don’t want him to say so and so is coughing up unicorns and rainbows, when that is everything but the truth.

    • lwblogger2

      Are you talking 2016? This year he got off to a much better start. He hit .256/.337/.578 in April and a whopping .309/.472/.574 in May. He had 12 2B, 14 HR, and 42 RBI over the 2 months. He got off to a horrible start in 2016 but 2017 he was as good as he ever was.

  29. Scott from Texas

    Jeff Brantley is my favorite. He is very insightful, but he also makes me laugh on occasion. I enjoy self-deprecating humor as well, which he often provides. I’m o-u-t OUT on George Grande. My heavens does he annoy me!

    • lwblogger2

      Best… Answer… Ever… I thought it was a dove however.

  30. jazzmanbbfan

    Actually hard for me to pick. He makes me crazy when he gets cranky but for straight play-by-play calling, Marty is as good as I’ve heard outside of Scully. I really like how Brantley has grown more comfortable and also like Welsh a lot. I could also listen to Joe Morgan for a lot more than just 3 innings on home game Wednesdays too. Glad he’s looking healthier again. And Jim Day does a really fine job with his interviews and the few times he’s gotten to call a game.

    • JB WV

      It’s a treat when little Joe joins the broadcast. He sees things others don’t.

  31. JB WV

    Good post, Tom. The old left-hander was just as likeable in person as on the broadcasts.

  32. Redsfan4life

    Most of us grew up listening to Marty and Joe. Big reason was in the 70s and 80s we only got about 35 tv games a season.
    I don’t listen to many games on radio these days.
    Jim Kelch is the most boring announcer ever.
    If Thom would call Reds games like he does NFL on Fox it would be great.
    I like Day,Welsch and Brantley. George Grande is just a nice happy guy. I can’t not like George.
    Also I enjoyed the Wed games with Morgan for a few innings. I didn’t like Morgan on Sunday night Baseball though back in the day.

  33. Marcie Z

    Chris Welch is great – Marty is so so but I don’t listen to radio much. Marty gets on a soapbox and doesn’t stop. Not my favorite. Love Brantley. I love it when he does TV. He is very knowledgeable.
    I wish they would replace Thom. When he is talking I usually mute the sound.


    It is time for Marty to move on. He has had a great career but he is not as sharp as he was and his inclination to be often irritated is irritating.He claims to tell it like it is but he often happens to be wrong.This is tough on a radio listener as we can not see the action. He no longer prepares for a broadcast and it shows when he talks about other teams. Maybe his golf is getting in the way here. Thom tries to make every happening in the game a huge issue. He is a classic second guesser and beats every decision into the ground by manager, player, or umpire. To his credit Thom does prepare for games but he talks too much. He is up to date on what is happening in baseball around both leagues and provides good information which is the opposite of Marty. Welsh and Brantley are excellent. We are lucky to have them. Kelce is a pro and gives an accurate description of the game. Jim Day has become very good. He deserves a chance to do more games. George Grande has more stories than a library.

  35. Curtis

    Best: Marty Brennaman (Still the best)
    Worst: Jeff Brantley (Good analyst, dull play-by-play man)

    Quiz: What is Jeff Brantley’s favorite word?
    Answer: RIGHT
    He uses it to describe virtually everything that happens on a baseball field, sometimes multiple times in the same sentence.

    “RIGHT down Broadway.” “RIGHT over the outside corner.” “RIGHT over the inside corner.” “Hit RIGHT to Cozart.” “Swung RIGHT over the top.” “Went RIGHT under his hands.” etc, etc.

    If there were a drinking game in which you had to take a swig every time Brantley says RIGHT, you’d be smashed in the fourth inning.