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Reds TV analyst: Ozzie Albies ‘may not know’ difference between $35M and $85M

Chris Welsh, who does analyst work for telecasts of Cincinnati Reds games for FOX Sports Ohio, is in the midst of a firestorm over questionable comments made during Wednesday’s telecast of the Reds-Braves game.

Welsh was addressing the debate surrounding the contract signed by Ozzie Albies, the Braves’ budding superstar second baseman who signed a seven-year, $35 million extension this past offseason.

The deal is universally considered well below market value for a player of Albies’ caliber and potential, so Welsh is certainly not the first analyst, reporter or media member to question the decision to sign such a deal.

Where Welsh took things too far, as the immediate backlash to his comments abundantly illustrates, is how the TV analyst suggested that Ablies may not have understood the terms of his deal from a straight financial perspective.

What most of the backlash centers on is how Welsh said that Albies “may not know the difference between 35 million dollars and 85 million dollars.”

Welsh opened his lengthy discussion as follows:

“It’s funny, I’ve read a lot about it and I’ve read opinions on both sides. A lot of people are blaming the agent for letting him sign a deal like that,” Welsh said. “But Albies came from a very poor background, he’s from Curaçao, and when somebody offers you 35 million dollars—I mean, he may not know the difference between 35 million dollars and 85 million dollars. It’s going to have a tremendous positive effect on his family and himself. Maybe the people in his immediate family or extended family. It changes the lives of so many people.”

A transcription of Welsh’s entire commentary on Albies can be found here, but even within its full context, the broadcaster’s specific comments about the Braves star possibly not understanding the difference between the numbers 35 and 85 is unquestionably alarming.

That said, some will view Welsh’s comments from a broader perspective as more of a misstatement or verbal gaffe than anything else. Others, perhaps a majority, if not more, will be compelled to condemn him and find his comments abhorrent.

Regardless, there is no question FOX Sports Ohio is in damage-control on Thursday morning. How the network and Welsh navigate the controversy and backlash remains to be seen, but an apology — in which a clarification may be offered by Welsh — most certainly should be expected to be a critical component, not to mention presumably the first step.