By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
The NESN broadcast booth at Fenway Park must be an awfully awkward place these days with Don Orsillo being unceremoniously sacked last week while on the road in Chicago, and his partner for the better part of the last 15 years – Jerry Remy – likely wondering what the future holds for him as well.
While it was widely assumed by the bitter broadcast viewers in Red Sox Nation, who are still smarting from someone they consider one of their own being shown the door, that Remy would remain is his color analyst role when the new guy Dave O’Brien assumes Orsillo’s chair, it is very likely that may not be the case.
In a piece that ran in this past Saturday in the Boston Herald written by columnist Steve Buckley, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner tried to explain away the dismissal of D.O. by clumsily saying that O’Brien would “reenergize” the broadcast, and that the replacement of Orsillo was “ nothing against Don. It was the opportunity to bring on Dave.”
I’m not sure about you, but I believe that about as much as I believed Hanley Ramirez would work hard enough to become an adequate left fielder at Fenway. That is, of course, not in the least.
However, the most telling remarks regarding Remy’s future in the booth came from NESN president/CEO Sean McGrail. Buckley writes – As for Remy’s future with NESN, McGrail told me, “Jerry’s in our plans for next season. He will be on the telecasts. We haven’t finalized that, but he will be involved.”
In a reduced role?
“We don’t know yet,” McGrail said. “We’re working through that. We weren’t going to talk about that until October, but he will be with us for sure.”
Translation – don’t expect to see the Remdawg on a regular basis in the booth next year. For some reason only known to Red Sox/NESN ownership and upper management, they are taking a torch to one of the most beloved announcing teams in baseball, all under the guise of “reenergizing” the way the product – which has been beyond awful for three of the last four years – is presented to the viewing public.
Here’s a novel idea, how about fixing a team that has been out of contention in July regularly since 2012, and has had a portion of their viewers tune in after the team was out of it in large part due to the guys who were calling the game, not the stiffs who were playing in it?
How about not low-balling players who brought through your system and helped lead you to a World Series Title – hello, Jon Lester – instead of backing up the Brinks truck for a turd like Rick Porcello because he happens to fall within the parameters that Carmine the computer says is a good investment?
Despite the blowback Boston fans have laid upon the Sox leadership – by the way, nice try attempting to “control the message” by having signs supporting Orsillo confiscated at the gate, it will only be worse going forward – the tone-deaf duo of John Henry and Werner in some weird way think that by blowing up the broadcast booth, the ratings for their rotten team will soar.
If the past week is any indication, Remy’s role will most likely be as a studio analyst, with occasional appearances in the booth until he is finally phased out entirely.
Red Sox fans should get ready for the likes of Steve Lyons, Dennis Eckersley, Tim Wakefield, or the guy I think they really want – Lou Merloni – in large doses calling games next to O’Brien next season.
Whoever they select to take his place, one thing is for sure, NESN won’t be saying “Buenas noches, amigo” to the Remdawg next season, they will be saying “Adiós” sooner, rather than later.