By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
All good things must come to an end, right?
Well, not really; especially if you ask the legion of loyal NESN Red Sox broadcast viewers who will be watching Don Orsillo – and perhaps his partner for much of the last 15 years, Jerry Remy – for the last time from Fenway Park this Sunday.
There is no other way to put it, the decision to dump Orsillo was a dumb one, his fun-loving demeanor and the rapport he had built with Remy – not to mention the fact that he is among a handful of the best play by play men in the league – was a drawing card for Sox fans, who all to often have had to deal with sub-par performances by their home-town team lately.
Granted, Remy had lost some zip off his fastball – who wouldn’t after twice battling cancer and having his private life laid bare in public due to the cowardly acts of his drug-addled son, who coldly killed his girlfriend in front of their daughter in 2013 – but the pair was still among the tops in the game when it came to keeping their audience entertained when the product on the field couldn’t.
Never has the professionalism that Orsillo embodies – unlike Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, who according to the Herald’s Mike Silverman, has not spoken to Orsillo since he was fired – been on better display than since the soon to be former Sox broadcaster had the rug pulled out from under him in late August. Since receiving the news – on the road in Chicago, another classless move by a tone-deaf Red Sox ownership group – that he had been bounced from his dream job, the man who his friends call D.O., has been smooth as silk, killing the silent assassins that sent him backing with the highest of class.
Nothing against his replacement, WEEI’s sometimes radio voice, Dave O’Brien – who is an ultimate pro himself, but is the type of voice that you nap to in a hammock while on summer vacation, with the game on the transistor in the background – but given the way the season has gone, many of those who tune in to have Don and Jerry join them in their living room for a nightly visit, would have likely tuned into Jeopardy instead.
In his first public comments regarding Orsillo’s firing to the Herald’s Steve Buckley, the weasely Werner said the change was made because “it was worth going in a different direction re-energizing the broadcast,” a comment that struck a nerve with Sox fans who were more concerned with re-energizing a team whose season was over after the all-star break for the third time in four years.
The total misread by the mindless moron who made his millions riding the coattails of a serial rapist (It kind of makes you feel different about the term “Cosby sweaters” in retrospect, no?), also once famously held a meeting with the most successful manager in modern Red Sox history, Terry Francona, and said, “We need to start winning in more exciting fashion.”
It can’t be said enough, mindless moron.
Perhaps the saddest set of circumstances surrounding Orsillo’s sign-off at Fenway today is, hardly anyone will be watching. With the juggernaut that is the reigning Super Bowl champs kicking off at 1pm in Foxboro against the Jacksonville Jaguars, nearly every eyeball in New England will be glued to Tom Brady and his team destroying this week’s tomato can as Don and Jerry clean up the mess of another last-place finish on NESN.
It didn’t need to be like this; Orsillo was well on his way to becoming the Curt Gowdy, Ken Coleman, Joe Castiglione and Ned Martin of his era; the iconic voice of the Red Sox, whose friendly face was welcomed into millions of homes around New England each summer night as if he were family.
Yes, it is true; all good things must end. Nevertheless, in the case of Don Orsillo no longer calling Red Sox games for NESN, the good-times needn’t have ended so soon.