By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
Talk about class, I’m pretty sure that you could not define the end of Don Orsillo’s tenure as the voice of the Boston Red Sox for NESN – an organization that is clearly misled if it can find a home for the obviously overwhelmed Jim Rice, but can’t come to an agreement with one of the best play by play guys in the business – any other way. Since being undercut by his bosses – or more specifically, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner – and told he had been replaced by not fault of his own, Orsillo has been everything that his now former employers have rarely been; a standup guy.
Honesty, it can’t get worse for the folks as NESN these days, having said good-bye in a most tone-deaf way to one of the most popular voices the team’s TV broadcast has ever known, and likely to kneecap his partner next season as well.
Seriously, principal owner John Henry might just want to step out of his carefully constructed cocoon and consider pulling a Vince Lombardi in the next board meeting by asking, “What the hell is going on out here?”
I hate to break it to you Tom and John, but the fact you finished in last place for the third time in four years has little to do with you having employed one of the best TV booths in the business, and more to do with the fact that you chose Larry Lucchino – you know, the guy you squeezed out of the organization just weeks ago – over the guy who is just a month away from possibly being the guy who ended the longest championship droughts in baseball history – Theo Epstein – because Tom wanted to win in a more exciting fashion.
Really, John; if Tom Werner is such a TV genius, why does NESN’s programming suck so much? Sox Appeal, anyone? Or maybe you want to burn some brain cells watching the dink that is Charlie Moore pump up his overly inflated ego catching sunfish at the expense of Aubuchon Hardware on a program that barely draws more viewers than the infomercial that dominate your dormant network.
The dismissal of Don Orsillo was either personal, or a pathetic attempt to change something that wasn’t broken. Nonetheless, unlike the weasels who saw fit to forsake an icon who should remain in his rightful place, Orsillo maintained his dignity right to the end.
In fact, as he said in his final call, “Orsillo is rounding third, heading home.” That home going forward will be sunny San Diego, California. And, hopefully, in the end, he will likely realize – and as a somber Sox Nation reluctantly will come to as well – that he is the winner in the end.
After all, an organization that doesn’t recognize excellence – there is a reason they are basement dwellers for three of the last four years – doesn’t deserve a guy like Orsillo.
You know what? Sometimes good guys do finish first.
A tip of the cap (By the way, have you ever seen anything like the entire dugout emptying out to pay respect to a play by play guy like you did for Don Orsillo?), to you D.O.; way to kill ‘em with class.