In one scene
in the movie The Town, you can hear Don Orsillo calling a Red Sox game in the
It was a
subtle, authentic way for the director, Ben Affleck, to let the movie watchers
know that they were in Boston. For the past 15 years, nothing said “Boston”
more than the kind, warming voice of Orsillo.
Orsillo into our homes night after night, season after season. He was always more
than a baseball announcer. Don Orsillo was our friend, so we were never alone
when watching the Red Sox play.
It must be
kind of how Dodgers fans have felt about Vin Scully all these years.
was getting excited during a walk-off hit, calling a home run “very far and
very gone” or trying be Jerry Remy’s dentist when his tooth fell out in the
middle of a game, Orsillo made watching the Red Sox worth the three hours of
Now, that welcoming
voice is leaving Red Sox Nation. For reasons that nobody can possible
understand, the New England Sports Network and the Red Sox don’t want Orsillo
and the team weren’t even going to tell us about the dismissal of our friend
until January. They must have been mad when Dennis and Callahan did it for them
silent for nearly a week after the news leaked out, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner
finally told Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley that “We felt that starting
next year, it was worth going in a different direction re-energizing the
This will go
down as the worst personnel move of the 21st Century for a team that
owes Hanley Ramirez nearly $70 million over the next three seasons.
the NESN ratings are as low as the Red Sox winning percentage the last two summers,
Werner said the dismissal of Orsillo wasn’t about ratings. It’s just that they
wanted Dave O’Brien in the booth.
O’Brien is a
very good announcer. He’s one of the best. Peter Gammons called him one of the
top few baseball play-by-play guys in the nation, and he is right. The same
could be said about Orsillo, if you ask Red Sox fans.
Sox fans are lucky to have a guy like O’Brien. The thing is, we already have
him. He’s been calling Red Sox games on the radio with Joe Castiglione since
In a way,
Red Sox fans have been spoiled with our announcers. We really have. We don’t
have some clown making over-the-top ridiculous, pre-planned home run calls like
the Yankees do in John Sterling.
have an obnoxious cheerleader like the White Sox do in Ken Harrelson.
have an announcer who cares so little about the opposing players that he doesn’t
bother to learn their names like the Mariners have in Dave Sims.
We have been
blessed with Don and Jerry on the TV side and Joe and Dave on the radio. Before
O’Brien came aboard, we had the pleasure of listening to the loveable Jerry
of Orsillo smells like a move that was purely personal. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe reports that Orsillo “was never a favorite of Joseph Maar, NESN’s vice president
of programming and production/executive producer who arrived with the network
in July 2012.”
great. We’ve loved listening to Orsillo since 2001, but now we can no longer do
that because of a guy who hasn’t liked him since 2012?
question, Red Sox coverage will be great in 2016. Even if Remy, who appears to
be heartbroken over the dismissal of Orsillo, decides not to come back — and who could blame him if doe not? — O’Brien will do a tremendous job.
don’t know him will respect him and maybe grow to love him as they welcome Dave
into their living rooms every night.
someday a director will have O’Brien’s voice in the background of a movie set
to tell our friend Don Orsillo to go away, however, will always be looked on as
a cold, sad move by some suits who clearly don’t understand what it means to
pour your heart into the Red Sox every night.
thing this move will re-energize is hard feelings.