Report: This is Don Orsillo's last season

Harry Hooper

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BellhornIsGod said:
 
 
It cannot be stated how bad of a decision maker Maar is. The only good thing he's done is bring Erdahl with him from Minnesota. He's the one responsible for talent decisions like Nikki Reyes, Sarah Nicole Davis, Elle Duncan, ect. Made the call to go with the super generic new morning show and putting Duncan/Davis together for NESN Live, which may be the worst show ever created. His eye for talent is pitiful (minus Erdahl), and his feel for programming is worse. 
 
So in other words, he's Tom Werner's dream hire!
 
Red(s)HawksFan said:
The timing is questionable, but if it's true that DO leaked the story today, I'm not sure NESN is 100% to blame for it.  If the network was planning on quietly letting him go after the season/the end of his deal, that seems like the best possible way to handle it other than maybe a fond farewell/tribute during the last NESN broadcast of the season.
 
Unless DO felt his hand was forced by the threat of yanking him off the broadcasts sooner than the end of the season, the awkward situation tonight and going forward might be as much his own doing as NESN's.
 
I thought DO was extra-giggly this past weekend on the games. I guess he knew the end was near and decided to thoroughly enjoy himself.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Cumberland Blues said:
 
Because Dave never talks about silly stuff like Joe's latest trip to Shaw's.
 
Merkle's Boner said:
Or his love of pie.
 
To be fair, there's a bit more idle time for chatter in the TV broadcast than the radio one.  And I often get the impression that when one of the radio guys is doing PBP, the other is out of the booth at times.
 
They encouraged the off-topic schtick between Orsillo and Remy, and I would not be the least surprised to see it from O'Brien and whomever his regular partner turns out to be.  Maybe it will take a while until the guys get comfortable with each other, but I think it's inevitable.
 

nattysez

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Pete Abraham ‏@PeteAbe  1m1 minute ago
Again, Don O. not commenting. But he's clearly crushed. This really is a shame.
 
 
This makes me angrier than it should given that the upshot of it is that a well-paid stranger is going to be out of a job for about three months.
 
 
Edit:  Before last season, the Warriors were rumored to be getting rid of their TV color man.  The overwhelming fan response against the move caused them to relent.  I think the Sox are too arrogant to let fan response change their minds on this, but Chad Finn makes it sound like he's getting inundated with negative responses to the news.
 

NortheasternPJ

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Snoop Soxy Dogg said:
 
I'm surprised anybody watches NESN outside of Red Sox games. That channel is a black hole. 
 
They know it too; one of the main things holding up my completely cutting the cord is NESN's hanging on to silly black-out policies.
NESn outside of sox games is l a worthless station. I'd watch CSNNE or Fox1 any day. I'd rather watch NECN over NESN.
 

Julius.R

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I enjoyed Orsillo, even with his random comments and stories that didn't relate to the game whatsoever. He was great at interviewing whoever was in the booth and I always loved him with Remy and Eck (or even a few Sabr guys). While I never tuned in just to see him, he certainly stopped me tuning out (or falling asleep) when we were down by a lot in a losing season. Next year better be good since I think NESN is making a huge mistake.
 

timelysarcasm

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Even though I made fun of his catchphrases, I enjoyed DO a lot. And as a few said, I realized how good we had it when I moved out of MA and had to rely on away broadcasts and mlb.tv.
 
Dave O'Brien would be fine with me. And I love, love Eckersley, so fingers crossed. I'm not a fan of Merloni at all, though, so kinda hoping he doesn't take over the radio side.
 

TedsColdHead

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I will miss him.  I watch on MLB TV, so I get to see all the other broadcast teams when they are on the road.  Most of them are truly painful.  I do like DoB, but this move now is unbelievably stupid.  Just feels like a punch in the gut. 
 

Rasputin

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I have a hard time believing this is about money. Orsillo does a good job, but I don't think he's going to be tabbed for any of the really prime jobs. 
 
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PedroKsBambino

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This is a spot they certainly can upgrade; he's no Sean McDonough, or even in the same ballpark.
 

Redkluzu

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This is just a drag. First off, I love Don and Remy, the verbal sillies, and the repartee' which helps a lot when the Sox are losing or the game is boring. But it feels like a mistake too, a misjudgement since so many people are furious at this move. "Family" is the word I've heard bandied about on twitter and in the press.
 
What I want to know is what does it mean that the management of NESN is so out of touch with its viewers?
 

Fratboy

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DO is broadcasting the game tonight, and in the open he sounds like he has a little more pep in his step than usual.
 

czar

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Smells like NESN trying to prevent a snowballing public backlash by running out and announcing DOB before the "bring back DO!" chants get louder.
 

MuzzyField

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PedroKsBambino said:
This is a spot they certainly can upgrade; he's no Sean McDonough, or even in the same ballpark.
The fact that DO isn't Sean is why ownership hired him and kept him. I'd have preferred Sean, but I blame ownership for that decision and realize that DO is solid and probably in the top-10 when you sample all the broadcast teams around MLB on Extra Innings.
Given the way he handled the revolving sidekicks, DO showed some talent siting in Remy's shadow effectively hid. His TBS work was also solid.
 

Laser Show

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Redkluzu said:
This is just a drag. First off, I love Don and Remy, the verbal sillies, and the repartee' which helps a lot when the Sox are losing or the game is boring. But it feels like a mitake too, a misjudgement since so many people are furious at this move. "Family" is the word I've heard bandied about on twitter and in the press.
 
What I want to know is what does it mean that the management of NESN is so out of touch with its viewers?
This is the network that continues to produce Charlie Moore Outdoors remember.
 

PedroKsBambino

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MuzzyField said:
The fact that DO isn't Sean is why ownership hired him and kept him. I'd have preferred Sean, but I blame ownership for that decision and realize that DO is solid and probably in the top-10 when you sample all the broadcast teams around MLB on Extra Innings.
Given the way he handled the revolving sidekicks, DO showed some talent siting in Remy's shadow effectively hid. His TBS work was also solid.
 
Having listened to a lot of extra innings over the years, I do not think he is top-10.    I think he's thoroughly average---smooth, few mistakes, and adds virtually nothing.  Just my take---I know many have a different one, and I should probably let them vent.
 
O'Brien is an upgrade.
 

Dalton Jones

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I'm sorry for Orsillo and I agree that he's probably better than the majority of play-by-play guys around the country, but anyone who thinks OB is not an upgrade is insane.
 

GBrushTWood

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Corsi said:
This is Joseph Maar:
 

 
 
This douchebag looks like a pit boss at the Borgata. 
 
The news about Orsillo certainly gives me one less reason to watch the Red Sox in 2016. As countless others have mentioned, Orsillo and Remy are almost like extended members of your family. For me, it's just a summer tradition to have the Sox on in the background while listening to Don and Jerry. They just bring back memories of the glory years of 2004, 2007, etc.
Even though the product on the field was utter dogcrap this year, I found myself tuning into NESN games because that's what you do in New England in the summer. I'm not sure how much of that was due to Don, but I know the ritual of catching a Sox game in the summer will not be the same without Orsillo.
 
Fuck NESN and Joe Maar in their ears. There really doesn't seem to be any reason to do this.
 
Thanks for the reply, Laser Show.
 
Don might not be the best play by play guy in the business but he's good.  And I know this sounds corny, but baseball announcers are in your home for 145 - 155 days and nights per year. Call me a Pink Hat, but being likable is just as important as making the correct call on the air.  And Orsillo just seems like a good guy.  My 80 year old mother loves him and finds him funny.  He's self-deprecating and never takes himself too seriously.  And on the couple occasions I've met him, he was kind and genuinely appreciative to have a conversation with a fan.  
 
I like O'Brien very much and I'm sure he'll do a great job.  But I'm going to miss Orsillo.  
 

Rough Carrigan

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Well, it all depends on his replacement.  As some have noted, there are lots of worse announcers out there, starting with Josh Maurer.  But if someone like Dave O'Brien gets the job, then we're all good. Another little Red Sox drama unfolds.  Lucchino, Cherington, Orsillo....who will be next?
Yup.  I don't like Don.  His vocal style is fine.  But he brings nothing to the table for smart analysis or commentary on his own. 
Yes, I could name several guys working for other teams whom I would dislike much much more than Don.  The guy working for the Rays, Staats(?) is painful.  The Jays' guy is worse.  DelMarVa homer Gary Thorne is probably worse and I used to think he was much better.  You go around MLB and I'd probably hate having half the play by play guys put in Don's place.  That doesn't mean that Don is good enough.  The Red Sox, with this fan base should have a top 2 or 3 in MLB play by play guy.  I like McDonough a lot but that ain't happening again.  Dave O'Brien would be fine.  That chatty fuck Maurer would be horrible.
 
If NESN execs think that Orsillo and Remy are dragging down their ratings they're nuts.  By that conception of things they must think Orsillo and Remy were moribund in 2012, charismatic and charming in 2013, sluggish again in 2014 and again this year.
 

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canderson said:
Orsillo gets a bad rap here but is one of the better PBP guys in MLB. Sure he and Remy get chatty and silly (less so this season thankfully) but he is still better than the vast majority of PBP guys working. If you have .tv or EI poke around other broadcasts and you'll notice fairly quickly.
 
I've been able to get away with putting the game on in the living room over my wife's TV preferences more than a few times thanks to Don and Remy amusing her just enough that she enjoys having the game on even when she's not really paying attention to it.  Sometimes their goofiness was actually notable enough that I'd mention something to her (the Francona attack highlights being a recent example), and she'd laugh out loud because she enjoys their dynamic so much.  Also, I think the fact that his voice was just Sean-lite enough to remind me of my days as a kid watching on TV-38 added something.  
 
During a season like this one when the team is shitty, my tolerance for having the game on (even just as background, in case a great play happens or just something odd) is strongly related to how comfortable I am with the voices on in the background.  Losing Orsillo's voice and his dynamic with Remy and Eck make me less likely to watch the game with my wife as often in any season, and less likely to bother fighting with the buffering on my iPad to put it on in the background when the team sucks and I have other things that I need to be doing.  Bad move by NESN, but at least O'Brien is a solid choice for his replacement.  
 

Laser Show

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Thanks for the reply, Laser Show.
 
Don might not be the best play by play guy in the business but he's good.  And I know this sounds corny, but baseball announcers are in your home for 145 - 155 days and nights per year. Call me a Pink Hat, but being likable is just as important as making the correct call on the air.  And Orsillo just seems like a good guy.  My 80 year old mother loves him and finds him funny.  He's self-deprecating and never takes himself too seriously.  And on the couple occasions I've met him, he was kind and genuinely appreciative to have a conversation with a fan.  
 
I like O'Brien very much and I'm sure he'll do a great job.  But I'm going to miss Orsillo.  
Completely agree. I'm graduating from college this year, so Don is literally the only play-by-play guy I can remember the Red Sox having. He's been in my life on a near daily basis every summer for the past 15 years. I grew up watching games with him, Jerry, and my family. Even now, despite less Red Sox on the TV with me gone, I'll get messages from my mother asking "Did you see the poncho thing with Don and Jerry?"
 
There's been a great deal of comfort always having him there, calling the Sox, despite moving away from home, getting a job, trying to figure out real life things and all of that.
 
Clearly this is all sentimental for me. I don't care if there are better announcers out there. Don is a damn good one, he's familiar, and he's ours.
 

riboflav

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I'm torn. I'm sort of like blah with DO. I was a huge McDonough fan and still am. I like DOB better than DO as a PBP guy. But, I hate the way this went down and I sympathize with DO. I'm not sure really what to root for. I guess having DOB take over for Castig on radio and leaving DO at NESN with a new and fresh partner would've been optimal for me.
 

Toe Nash

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Laser Show said:
Completely agree. I'm graduating from college this year, so Don is literally the only play-by-play guy I can remember the Red Sox having. He's been in my life on a near daily basis every summer for the past 15 years. I grew up watching games with him, Jerry, and my family. Even now, despite less Red Sox on the TV with me gone, I'll get messages from my mother asking "Did you see the poncho thing with Don and Jerry?"
 
There's been a great deal of comfort always having him there, calling the Sox, despite moving away from home, getting a job, trying to figure out real life things and all of that.
 
Clearly this is all sentimental for me. I don't care if there are better announcers out there. Don is a damn good one, he's familiar, and he's ours.
Agree. There is a reason that even mediocre announcers stick around for a while, absent a scandal or the like. Continuity is comforting. And DO is better than mediocre - if he didn't want to go, he shouldn't be forced out unless he was demanding an insane amount of money or something, which doesn't seem to be the case.
 
Bad call by NESN. O'Brien might be better (I suspect the answer comes down to taste) but he's going to have to be GREAT to win over the fanbase. Not sure he is. And they have to find a radio guy too.
 

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riboflav said:
I'm torn. I'm sort of like blah with DO. I was a huge McDonough fan and still am. I like DOB better than DO as a PBP guy. But, I hate the way this went down and I sympathize with DO. I'm not sure really what to root for. I guess having DOB take over for Castig on radio and leaving DO at NESN with a new and fresh partner would've been optimal for me.
 
In many of the posts so far it seems like people are asserting that it's a foregone conclusion that Remy is gone too as a result of the DO move.  Why would that necessarily be the case?
 

Redkluzu

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Laser Show said:
Completely agree. I'm graduating from college this year, so Don is literally the only play-by-play guy I can remember the Red Sox having. He's been in my life on a near daily basis every summer for the past 15 years. I grew up watching games with him, Jerry, and my family. Even now, despite less Red Sox on the TV with me gone, I'll get messages from my mother asking "Did you see the poncho thing with Don and Jerry?"
 
There's been a great deal of comfort always having him there, calling the Sox, despite moving away from home, getting a job, trying to figure out real life things and all of that.
 
Clearly this is all sentimental for me. I don't care if there are better announcers out there. Don is a damn good one, he's familiar, and he's ours.
 
This is exactly on the money. Hurts the heart. It is personal, damn it. That's why we love all the schlock around baseball and we do!
 
I do not think they will ever talk about this on air because it is way too charged and you betcha Jerry is pissed for his friend. I am sure NESN has warned them to say nada, and maybe we'll get a goodbye Don "party" somewhere but it will be damn close to the end.
 

sharke5

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I think this is a mistake. I like Orsillo. Does anyone know what this means for the radio side? Will O'Brien be replaced or will "Hall of Fame Joe" do the entire game?
 

Van Everyman

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Slight counterpoint:

Orsillo has been the voice of the Red Sox for 14 years. He's called all three WS championships. He's roughly tracked the tenure of Henry's ownership.

Don's very solid at what he does. He does his homework – he reads thru stats almost as earnestly as he reads sponsor text. He has a sonorous baritone and a few worthy tag lines ("Fenway stands as one!" "And that is very gone!"). As a person, he seems very likable.

But that's pretty much it. This isn't Vin Scully or Curt Gowdy. As evidenced by his entirely professional performance tonight in his first game after the news got out, Don is an affable, successful company man. But he's no legend. That's not a problem tho. In a sport that doesn't expect a lot out of their PBP guys, Don's brand of vanilla will be more than enough to find him regular work going forward.

But this is the Red Sox. A premier organization in sports. Right now, the organizational modus operandi, on the field and off, is that they can do better. That they expect more out of their broadcast is not a bad thing in and of itself. I'm sure more fans would love to root for a team that feels that way.

In O'Brien, the organization has a guy with the potential to be one of the great play-by-play guys in the game. He's that good. If I had to guess the Sox may have been worried they might lose that kind of talent if they didn't pounce now. And given how valuable live sports broadcast rights have become, that's one asset they couldn't afford to lose.

So while all this probably could have been handled better in the press, I suspect this will be a good thing in the long run.
 

RIFan

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For those who weren't around back then, the uproar today isn't much different than when McDonough was let go (other than social media impact). At the time, the games were on both over the air and NESN. As I recall, McDonough was marginalized by being given the smaller slate of over the air games. It was unimaginable that Orsillo would win out over McDonough when all the games were consolidated to NESN with a single crew handling all games. I distinctly recall Remy being on record as saying it has to be Sean getting the gig. Orsillo was viewed as bland and completely inferior to McDonough (who had a longer tenure than Orsillo does now). No one could have imagined the outpouring of support for Orsillo 10 years later.

The anguish will pass and everyone will move on. It absolutely sucks the way it's going down, but it will be forgotten much faster than you think.