Personally, he's not cutting it for me. There are no stats that I can give you to say "hey, look at O.B's voice-accuracy ratio" or "hey, look at his speech-articulation splits". Those stats don't exist so therefore, you can only go off of the ear-test.
Through 34 games, O'Brien isn't really pleasing my ears.
I know it's only been 34 games and he's not used to being a Regional announcer on TV. Up until this gig as the Red Sox Play-by-Play announcer for NESN, he was one of the voices of the Sox on WEEI with Joe Castiglione and a National announcer for ESPN.
Notice how I haven't said "Dave O'Brien is bad", because he's not. Dave O'Brien is a good sports announcer. A good one. He's got the voice, which isn't even a question. He's knowledgable, concise, and serious: all necessities for a National announcer.
Not so-much a Regional one.
His banter with Steve Lyons seems forced and awkward, and that may be more on Lyons since when Jerry Remy is in the Color-Analyst chair, things seem to be more normal. But nonetheless, his banter just doesn't seem commonplace.
The humor seems forced. Very forced.
Maybe the problem some of us have is that Dave just can't fill the enormous shoes left behind by Don Orsillo.
I went to bat for NESN to somehow reverse their decision and keep the #Dontourage in Boston. But ultimately, us measly fans just couldn't persuade the powerful NESN Execs (hey, don't they own the Sox, too?).
Nonetheless, nothing beat Orsillo's laughs and humor with Remy and maybe no one can ever replace it.
I think with regard to true play-by-play, O'Brien has Orsillo beat.
But with regard to entertainment, Orsillo leaves O'Brien in the dust.
With Regional broadcasts, entertainment is so much more important than just being able to give great play-by-play and statistics. Games are at least 9 innings, and at times in excess of 4 hours. So just simply telling the viewer what is happening for 4 hours gets rather boring. That's why we have radio. And with this new generation, we aren't just going to sit and watch a slow game for 4 hours.
We don't have the time. Entertainment helps us and keeps us watching longer (I'm speaking for my generation here, not me).
O'Brien is a great announcer. He's just not appealing to most Red Sox fans. Obviously he'll get better with time, but he's just not Orsillo.
Every Red Sox fan will have a spot in their heart for Orsillo. But for now, we have to get acclimated to O'Brien.
It just may take some time.
How do you feel about Dave O'Brien? Continue the conversation on Twitter with Evan Marinofsky.