Thirteen years ago when I began this venture of covering the Cincinnati Reds minor league farm system it was a far different time from today. The minor league baseball websites weren’t exactly great. Almost none of them looked the same. Very few of them had games that you could listen to online. There was no video options at all. The box scores would update every half-inning for the teams on top of things, and every 30-45 minutes for some of the lower level teams.

But a few teams had their games available to listen to online, either through the team website, or via a link to the local radio station that carried the games. The Louisville Bats were one of them. And at the time, Jim Kelch was their main broadcaster, with Matt Andrews working alongside him.

By the time that I was introduced to Jim Kelch, he had already been calling games for the team in Louisville for 18 seasons. To me, he did a fantastic job. We’ve all got our own tastes in what we like from a radio broadcaster, but I like to hear what’s happening on the field. What you had for dinner, or where you played golf at – I don’t listen to baseball games for that kind of stuff. And Kelch did a great job of telling the listener what was going on down on the field.

He stuck around for a handful of years beyond that 2006 season when I was introduced to him. But in 2010 he took a step up as he was hired by the Cincinnati Reds to join their ever expanding lineup of broadcasters. Kelch worked in Cincinnati for eight years before the team decided to not renew his contract in 2018.

After spending the 2018 season out of baseball, Jim Kelch is coming back. And he’s joining the Louisville Bats radio team with Nick Curran for the 2019 season. Kelch will work all of the home games along with Curran, and he will also travel for some road games.

The other broadcasters on the farm for 2019

With a new Double-A affiliate this season, there’s going to be a “new” voice for those who follow online. Maybe. The Reds have been with Chattanooga before, and the Lookouts still have the same broadcaster as they did back then. Larry Ward has called games for Chattanooga since the 1989 season.

Daytona is also going to have a new radio guy this year. They’ve had a few over the last few seasons, and they wound up with two of them last year, too. When the season began it was Luke Mauro and Frank La Sala working together. In late July Mauro left for another job with La Sala taking over for the rest of the season. This season the gig goes to a familiar name in the Reds organization as Justin Rocke was hired for 2019 to handle the radio duties. Rocke was the voice for the Greeneville Reds in 2018.

In Dayton the voice will remain a familiar one with Tom Nichols returning to the Dragons radio (and tv) booth. He’s been with the Dayton Dragons since the 2008 season.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

Related Posts

12 Responses

  1. AirborneJayJay

    Good news for Jim Kelch. I like him on the radio or TV. I thought he got a raw deal from the Reds when they didn’t renew his contract last year. The Reds throw out for broadcast the likes of George Grande who is way, way past his prime. His sense of humor is to dry and wry for a TV broadcast in these times. His “jokes” always seem to fall flat. The broadcasts seem to bog down when he is on the tube. I wouldn’t mind sitting in the stands with Goerge Grande watching games and having a dog and beer. Jim Day is OK on the TV and radio as a broadcaster, but seems to come up short most of the time. He is great on the side. He just needs some more experience in the booth though.
    Jim Kelch is truly a professional. Could Jim Kelch and Tommy Thrall co-exist in the radio booth next year together post-Marty? I wouldn’t mind seeing the Reds go to a 3 man TV broadcast and place Jeff Brantley with Chris Welsh in the TV booth. With Thom or whomever as the lead play-by-play broadcaster.

    • Big Ed

      I agree. Kelch isn’t dazzling, but I don’t want a dazzling guy. I want the announcers to know the team, know the audience, and do a straightforward job. Kelch does all of that.

    • Todd Powers

      The times I heard them this spring, Marty and Thrall seemed to get along great.

    • Todd Powers

      I always liked Dan Besbris, voice of the Bakersfield Blaze when they were a Reds affiliate. He was very insightful, especially about what it was like in the minor leagues. One evening Besbris was talking about travel around the Cal League. He gave an interesting fact: with the exception of Lancaster and Lake Elsinore, every other Cal League series around LA/High Desert area was commuter. In other words, for an away game, they’d dress at their home ballpark, load the bus, drive to the opposing teams home park, play game, drive back to their home park to shower, go home to bed. The teams were close enough to be able to do that. And looking at a map of the Cal League would show that.

  2. MK

    I liked Kelch. If they were going to eliminate someone it should have been Thom. He has a great voice but know-it-all attitude is hard to take.

    • Ty

      The question is, why would they leave Jim Day on Fox Sports or 700 WLW. Listening to him is flat out painful. I seriously have to turn off my radio if the put him on air. Why they got rid of Kelch instead of Day, I will never know.

      • wutinthehail

        Agree with Jim Day. I like him for the pregame/postgame/sideline stuff but he is painful to listen to when it comes to play-by-play.

      • Doug Gray

        Most of Jim Day’s duties aren’t play-by-play. All of Jim Kelch’s duties were. The two guys have very different jobs.

  3. wutinthehail

    I like Jim Kelch a lot. Wonder why they didn’t renew his contract for 2018. Any word on who’s replacing Marty? I was listening to a game last year and they had one of the minor league radio guys doing play-by-play. Seems to be it was the guy from Dayton but maybe one of the AA teams. He was INCREDIBLE and would love to see him get the job (sad I don’t remember who it was).

    • Doug Gray

      The Reds aren’t saying who is “replacing” Marty. And probably for good reason. If they keep it as an “open” booth for now, and let a handful of people do it, there’s less of a “fan revolt” for “not being Marty” against whoever that guy is.

      As for the minor league announcer, you could be thinking of two different people. Tom Nichols stepped in to call three innings with Marty last August. He was and still is the Dayton Dragons guy. Tommy Thrall has also stepped in to call games FOR Marty, and he was actually hired by the Reds this year to do some of that, as well as other pre-and-post-game broadcasting stuff.

      • Todd Powers

        Both are excellent. I’ve listened to Thrall more than Nichols because of the game time of Dayton usually coincides with the Reds.