Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Our connection with Reds baseball on the radio

Baseball on the Radio

We visit this topic each year during the All-Star break. What is it about baseball on the radio? Why does baseball on the radio connect with us more than any other sport?

I heard Bob Costas discuss the connection on a St. Louis radio show a couple of years ago. His comments have stuck with me. He described baseball on the radio as being part of the soundtrack of our life. He's so right.

I grew up listening to the Reds on the radio. That's over 50 years of a connection. I've often joked the only people I listened to longer than Marty Brennaman would be my mom and dad. As a kid, I would fall asleep many nights in the 1970's while listening to the Reds on a transistor radio stuffed under my pillow. 

Each season I grab my radio and sit on my back porch. I put my feet up. Close my eyes. And I listen to the Reds. It's peaceful. It's easy, without complications. It's an escape. Baseball on the radio is like a comfort food. There is something about the pace and sounds of baseball on the radio that is soothing.

We develop relationships with Reds broadcasters. We grow to feel like we know the people behind the voices coming through our radio. They become are friends...even family. We welcome them into our home or car on a game-to-game basis.

But it's not just the call of the games, it's the banter, the conversations. We enjoyed Marty and Joe's stories and the back and forth during a broadcast. We enjoy listening to the struggles of The Cowboy to answer the trivia question correctly. We enjoyed listening to Marty give Jeff Brantley or Tommy Thrall a hard time. 

I remember many Reds moments by the words in Marty's description. Like, "Rose levels the bat a couple of times, Show kicks and delivers......." 

Man, do I miss The Old Left-hander yelling, "get out of here!"

I often post Reds radio broadcasts from years ago here on the blog. I always enjoy the reaction from listeners. The sounds of Reds baseball on the radio flashes people back to the past. I sit in my office at home and work on my show and listen to random games from the 1970's and 80's.

I know I'm not the only one that mows the yard only when the Reds are on the radio. If the Reds are off, I'm not mowing. I drive Kelly crazy because when I'm in the house listening to the game, I turn on the radio in multiple rooms as I move from room to room around the house.

When on vacation, there is no better time killer during a long drive than listening to baseball. When I drove 698 miles with my dad and Casey to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame ceremonies a couple of years ago, we listened to baseball on the radio. I love the search on the dial, through the crackling static, to find the next game.

I remember holding my radio up to the window in our condo in South Haven, MI years ago, trying to pick up the signal of a Reds game.

My mom would listen to the Reds on her iPad from Marietta, Georgia. My dad listens on his computer from Southport, North Carolina.

When we grill out I have my radio on the back patio, cranked up, so I can listen and grill. I enjoyed tuning into a game and in a few seconds knowing how the Reds are doing simply based on the tone of Marty's voice. I got a kick out of hearing him get worked up when a pitcher was struggling to throw strikes.

I have never felt this way or made this connection with football or basketball on the radio. I never will. It's just not the same. That's a combination of my love of baseball and growing up listening to Marty and Joe.

The voices have changed over the years. Sadly, Joe passed on in 2007. Marty's been retired since 2019.

But you can bet I'm still locked in to the Reds on the radio.

Whether the Reds are winning or losing, good, bad or rebuilding, it's what I do. 

It's what I'll always do.

How about you? What is your connection like with baseball on the radio?

Photo: Getty Images

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