Grande exit for play-by-play veteran

Grande exit for play-by-play veteran

CINCINNATI -- After 17 years with the Reds, Fox Sports Ohio play-by-play broadcaster George Grande is stepping away from the microphone.

Grande revealed to viewers during Sunday's final broadcast of the 2009 season that he would not be back next season.

"I wanted to spend more time at home, basically," Grande said before Sunday's game. "I love the Reds, what I do and I love my job. I just need to be home on a regular basis, not just four or five days a month, to keep up on things."

Grande informed the Reds and Fox Sports earlier in the week that he was opting out of his contract.

A 42-year veteran of the business, Grande has been the Reds' play-by-play voice since 1993 and has worked with analyst Chris Welsh for all 17 of his seasons to form the longest-running TV duo in Reds history.

"It has nothing to do with anything about the Reds or Fox Sports," Grande said. "For me family has always been No. 1. Family will always come first."

Before joining the Reds, Grande was already a large pop-culture footnote as the anchor of the first-ever ESPN SportsCenter telecast in 1979. He has covered Major League Baseball in some form since 1965 and had previously broadcasted for the Yankees (1989-90) and the Cardinals (1991-92).

Grande will continue to do work for Major League Baseball and the Baseball Hall of Fame, where he has emceed induction ceremonies since 1980. He is also on the board of directors for USA Baseball.

"If there is something that comes along where I don't have to travel on a regular basis, I will do that too," Grande said. "I'm not leaving to take another job. I'm leaving to spend more time at home. If something happens, fine. More than anything, I will miss the people. I will miss everybody I worked with. We've all been pretty lucky and fortunate -- the broadcasters and writers, everybody - to have a great relationship. The people I worked with made 17 years a joy."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.