Some changes in NESN Red Sox broadcasting

Aug 11, 2019
117
According to Peter Abraham in today's Globe, Dave O'Brien will miss nine games in the coming weeks to call games for the ACC Network. Tom Helmer will work the Rockies' series with Todd Walker (Helmer has done some work for NESN in the past). The Sep. 7th game against the Yankees and the Sep. 13-14 series against the Phillies will be handled by Alex Faust, who calls LA Kings games. Sep. 20-21 games at Tampa Bay will be called by Will Fleming, who has been doing Sox radio games this season and the Sep. 27-28 games against the Orioles will be done by PawSox broadcaster Mike Monaco.
 
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StuckOnYouk

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So calling games on the ACC network is more important than calling games for the Red Sox? The ACC Network can't wait to use him until October? Bizarre.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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Holy crap, WEEI and NESN over here hopscotching the announcing teams like they're paying $50/game. Can't they incentivize any of their talent to the extent they don't desire to pick up a second job or only do spot work? Ratings are declining, and instead of beefing up ancillary coverage or shows to hold on to their viewers the networks are leaning into the smaller revenues and doing less, guaranteeing the cycle of a worse on-air product and declining ratings.
 

JMDurron

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Last night's game was tough for me to listen to, but I don't think it's because I necessarily have a problem with Tom Helmer.

It just sounds/feels wrong to tune into the NESN feed and have zero familiar voices, IMO. I've gotten used to sporadic guest color commentators over the years as Remy has been absent more often, but if they are going to have stand-ins for O'Brien during this period, it would be nice if at least one of Eck or Remy were in the booth with the substitutes. Two outside guest voices in the same broadcast make me feel like I'm listening to the other team's feed on the MLB.TV app. There's something that just feels instinctively *right* about hearing a familiar voice during the game, on either NESN or WEEI, and having none of that really threw me off last night.
 

JMDurron

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Watch them add Merloni so you will feel more comfortable
I'll come back to the thread for my well-earned flogging if that turns out to be the case.

Although, I personally haven't listened to WEEI enough lately (Castig/O'Brien was my peak "driving during lots of games" period) for Merloni to sound all that familiar to me, so he wouldn't even do that much from a "comfortingly familiar voice" standpoint anyway.
 

Rovin Romine

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Last night's game was tough for me to listen to, but I don't think it's because I necessarily have a problem with Tom Helmer.

It just sounds/feels wrong to tune into the NESN feed and have zero familiar voices, IMO. I've gotten used to sporadic guest color commentators over the years as Remy has been absent more often, but if they are going to have stand-ins for O'Brien during this period, it would be nice if at least one of Eck or Remy were in the booth with the substitutes. Two outside guest voices in the same broadcast make me feel like I'm listening to the other team's feed on the MLB.TV app. There's something that just feels instinctively *right* about hearing a familiar voice during the game, on either NESN or WEEI, and having none of that really threw me off last night.
I had the same experience. They weren't bad, per se, but it was jarring.

I've said this before, but there's something about having two familiar voices. For me, it's like having a pair of uncles talking in the next room. Especially in the context of the radio broadcasts, if it's on in the background while you're doing something like driving, working in the garage, etc.

PS - Sure, there are games when you hang on every pitch, but honestly, there are many where I'll just be aware the game is being played and will sort of focus in more during the critical spots. (Or every other flyball for Trupe.) Some of the ease in doing that comes from being familiar with the announcers. I also think there's less pressure on established guys to continue the current anecdote/observation at the expense of the play by play.
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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I had the same experience. They weren't bad, per se, but it was jarring.

I've said this before, but there's something about having two familiar voices. For me, it's like having a pair of uncles talking in the next room. Especially in the context of the radio broadcasts, if it's on in the background while you're doing something like driving, working in the garage, etc.

PS - Sure, there are games when you hang on every pitch, but honestly, there are many where I'll just be aware the game is being played and will sort of focus in more during the critical spots. (Or every other flyball for Trupe.) Some of the ease in doing that comes from being familiar with the announcers. I also think there's less pressure on established guys to continue the current anecdote/observation at the expense of the play by play.
This hits it for me as well. It's also one of the reasons why I miss Orsillo so much(well that and the fact that O'Brien sucks). Hearing Orsillo and Remy felt like home for me, very familiar and very comfortable. It's like hearing Gorman doing the Celts or Brick doing the Bruins.
 
Aug 11, 2019
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Oct 17, 2018
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Speaking of Orsillo, a couple of weeks ago a sports media blog announced the annual results of voting by its readers on who the best baseball announcers were and Padres' trio for Fox Sports were on top with Orsillo, Mark Grant and Mark Sweeney receiving "A's" from almost 50% of the voters. In all, every team received at least 1300 grades. https://weei.radio.com/blogs/alex-reimer/mlb-announcer-rankings-don-orsillo-finishes-no-1-san-diego-padres
Reinforcing once again what a massive blunder it was by NESN to let Don go.
 
Nov 24, 2007
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Speaking of Orsillo, a couple of weeks ago a sports media blog announced the annual results of voting by its readers on who the best baseball announcers were and Padres' trio for Fox Sports were on top with Orsillo, Mark Grant and Mark Sweeney receiving "A's" from almost 50% of the voters. In all, every team received at least 1300 grades. https://weei.radio.com/blogs/alex-reimer/mlb-announcer-rankings-don-orsillo-finishes-no-1-san-diego-padres
I've tuned in some Padres games just to hear Orsillo from time to time. My experience is that his colleagues are bush league. As for the grading, keep in mind that the San Diego audience is not a tough crowd. That broadcast team would not get 50% A's in Boston.
 

Al Zarilla

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I like Orsillo far better than O’Brien, but he’s not among the best I’ve ever heard. He’s a little too “nice”, where all players from both teams are like the kid next door, if not angels. I like a bit of an edge to announcers, not exactly Hawk Harrelson, but one who establishes a rivalry a bit more. Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow of the Giants are my all time favorites, and I go back to Ned Martin and Ken Coleman. The Giants are completely rich with announcers since they have Jon Miller also. Again, Orsillo>>>O’Brien for me.
 

cornwalls@6

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Wonder if McDonough would consider a full time return to Sox television broadcasts(and if NESN would ever open up the coffers to hire him). Think he would pair well with the primary Eck/Remy rotation. I never loved Orsillo, and roundly mocked what I thought was the over the top outrage over his departure. Actually thought OB was going to be an improvement. But after the last few years of his Brockmire-level inanities, I'm definitely ready to try something new.
 
Aug 11, 2019
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There are currently more words being spoken during broadcasts than there are seconds in a game. You have a one time ball player talking about how he batted back when in an era when there is pronounced shifting going on. A 98-mph fastball is traveling 1724.8 inches per second. The plate is 17 inches deep, so a pitch is over the plate for 1/100-seconds (roughly speaking) and the batter has a 90 degree angle in which to keep the ball fair. Controlling where the ball is hit ain't easy.

But that aside, Remy and Orsillo together got to a point where they were more interested in discussing what color shirt to wear or what they were going to eat than what they devoted to the game. Both weren't bad apart from each other. Remy and O'Brien were starting to join that mode. I like Eckersley as the colour guy.
 

StuckOnYouk

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McDonough was great on TV. Funny, smart, and pulled no punches.
I think he and Eckersley would be great together.
 

Leskanic's_Thread

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Last night's game was tough for me to listen to, but I don't think it's because I necessarily have a problem with Tom Helmer.
I had the same experience. They weren't bad, per se, but it was jarring.
Maybe it's the same experience for me, but...I think he is actually pretty bad. I know someone was cataloguing all the mistakes O'Brien, but I've noticed more mis-called moments tonight in Colorado than I've heard O'Brien make in a season. Between getting players wrong, saying a ball is a strike, not knowing the count...it's been real rough. If I didn't know any better, I would think he is a brand-new announcer on-air for the first time.

If I had omnipotent powers, I'd bring Orsillo back to NESN and move O'Brien back to WEEI. But...I'll take O'Brien on TV over Helmer given his performance in this series.
 

TheoShmeo

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Caveat 1: I love Eck and would have no problem with him as the Sox color man indefinitely.

Caveat 2: I like Remy and in Eck's absence, am always happy to hear Jerry.

With those caveats out of the way, I liked Todd Walker.

He wasn't overly unique or insightful, like a Tony Romo in football. But I found him listenable, knowledgeable and likable.

What do others here think about him as potentially part of the color rotation going forward?
 

geoflin

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I found Walker OK, a bit vanilla but that might be due to him just starting out as a color man (unless I'm mistaken and he's done this elsewhere before). There was nothing in particular I didn't like so I'd give him more time and see what he develops into.
 

Harry Hooper

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He did OK, except for repeating some of his points a bit too often.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I've tuned in some Padres games just to hear Orsillo from time to time. My experience is that his colleagues are bush league. As for the grading, keep in mind that the San Diego audience is not a tough crowd. That broadcast team would not get 50% A's in Boston.
Yeah, Ted Leitner is absolute garbage yet is an icon in San Diego. And so is Jerry Coleman, who wasn’t bad but his malapropisms would not have gone down well in Boston. It is not a market with a strong tradition of good broadcasting, moreso when you consider Josh Lewin was the voice of the Chargers for years.
 
Nov 24, 2007
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Caveat 1: I love Eck and would have no problem with him as the Sox color man indefinitely.

Caveat 2: I like Remy and in Eck's absence, am always happy to hear Jerry.

With those caveats out of the way, I liked Todd Walker.

He wasn't overly unique or insightful, like a Tony Romo in football. But I found him listenable, knowledgeable and likable.

What do others here think about him as potentially part of the color rotation going forward?
Ugh. We get it, you don't like the shift, and sometimes someone will beat it. So explain why teams are shifting 40% of the time. Bring some stats to show that it hurts more than it helps. Otherwise you just want the damn kids to get off your lawn because that's not the way you did it back in the day.
I recall him talking about infielder positioning a little bit. Something about middle infielders not changing their positioning based on the upcoming pitch (i.e., not cheating toward third for a righty hitter when an off-speed pitch was called) because doing so would alert the hitter to what's coming. More of that kind of insight and less (as in, none) complaining about the shift and he might be ok.
 

MuzzyField

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Yeah, Ted Leitner is absolute garbage yet is an icon in San Diego. And so is Jerry Coleman, who wasn’t bad but his malapropisms would not have gone down well in Boston. It is not a market with a strong tradition of good broadcasting, moreso when you consider Josh Lewin was the voice of the Chargers for years.
Wasn't Ted in Hartford at channel 3 before heading west and opening the door for Dave Smith almost 20-year run?
 
Aug 3, 2014
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Send DOB back to radio, maybe Joe C can control Dave's desire to be the Commissioner of baseball.

I like Todd Walker, not sure he wants a full time gig.

Would love to hear a real play by play announcer. Miss Don Orsillo every game.
 

JBJ_HOF

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Looks like NESN is going to allow Guerin Austin's contract to expire after the season
 
Aug 11, 2019
117
.Thought that was announced quite a while ago.
A Google News search turned this up from the Globe, 3/29/19:
In Boston, Chad Finn reports Guerin Austin's future as NESN's Red Sox sideline reporter "appears to be uncertain." Sources said that Austin is "not on the schedule for a couple of months following the first few weeks of the season, and her role has been left unclear." She is working the Red Sox' season-opening road trip in her "familiar role" and is "scheduled to work at least part of the Red Sox' first homestand."
 

the count

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Sep 20, 2019
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Dont get me started on NESN. Isnt Tom Warner supposed to be some kind of tv/entertainment wiz? NESN is awful on many levels...and considering it is the flagship television network for red sox baseball, that is disapointing and sad.
Lets start with the pre and post game shows. Can someone tell Tom Caron he has a microphone and doesnt have to shout? And secondly, i find it annoying to have a hockey first guy as out chief baseball studio host. A few seasons ago, i forget which, he was supposed to be doing color for the red sox game and he actually missed a play on the field because...from the red sox booth...he was watching the Bruins game. what the hell. I understand the boston sports guy need to be versatile and be able to speak intelligently on sox, bruins, celtics, pats..i just find his regular hockey mentions and references slightly annoying.
But it gets worse. Why in the world is it automatically assumed that a Hall of Famer (Jim Rice) or red sox HOF (Wakefield) can provide astute intelligent analysis. Jim Rice! Good lord. I loved Jim as one of the premier offensive presences in the game for a decade...but we all remember...he hated the media and sucked as a hitting coach because he didnt communicate well with the players. Why the hell he is an in studio analysts is beside me. I mean the guy actually said once that the sox wanna score some runs and add on, because scoring runs is what can lead to wins? Really? Wake is a pleasant enough man, but other than when Steven Wright pitches....does he bring anything to the table? Steve Lyons? I dont want a polyanna by any means but this guy goes out of his way to accentuate the negative for some reason. I guess his idea of being edgy? How about some of the great names from the past we've had to analyze. Remember the Jim Corsi era? And this sites name sake Sam Horn was actually an analyst for NESN and one time, in discussing the MLB playoffs said "thats why they call it the big dance". Do they Sam? Do they call the mlb playoffs the Big Dance?
 
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the count

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In reality, and as terrible as I feel having to say it the YES Network runs circles around NESN when it comes to baseball coverage. Lets go to the on field reporter: as a middle aged washed up man...i appreciate eye candy as much as the next man. But cant we get eye candy that actually knows something about the game and can offer legit insights on the team. Meredith Marakovits with YES for example. Very much eye candy with a Dolly Parton build....but she is also baseball savy and obviously has sources and connections. Guerin, this years hot blonde on the sox, is nice enough. Seems like she would be a fun date. But what does she offer during her reports....when she isnt sampling the food at various ball parks. She re hashes Alex Cora's pre game gaggle. Stuff that we've already been told or already read. Nothing against diversity but get someome who knows something. I forgot the young guys name from NESN sports desks that sometimes fills in. Equally as uniformed. When the Sox were on the road recently...San Diego i think....Alex had mentioned that Price might throw a sim game in Colorado and if all goes well...start in Anaheim. Three innings later this guy is babbling about Price having a good pen and might be targeted to for a start against the Rockies. Good lord.
And why do the pre games begin with the three idiots rehashing last nights game? Other MLB teams go right to the field reporter with the news of the day. Not NESN...babbling and joking for ten minutes and then we go to the field to see how sale's test went. wth.
 

the count

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Sep 20, 2019
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Why, with the exception of rain delays, doesnt NESN just air Alex Cora's pre game media session? He addresses all the questions and issues of the day, usually in ten minutes. Cant we air that instead of 14 highlights from last nights loss? And why....why do we cut out of Alex' post game wrap up with the media. what the hell. The pre and post games arent for the pink hat "i cant absorb baseball info i like pretty shiny things crowd". The real fans are the ones who watch the pre and post games. No need to interview little league teams...or talk about Walleys play house or whatever. geesh it is frustrating!
 
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A Google News search turned this up from the Globe, 3/29/19:
In Boston, Chad Finn reports Guerin Austin's future as NESN's Red Sox sideline reporter "appears to be uncertain." Sources said that Austin is "not on the schedule for a couple of months following the first few weeks of the season, and her role has been left unclear." She is working the Red Sox' season-opening road trip in her "familiar role" and is "scheduled to work at least part of the Red Sox' first homestand."
would have left a while ago after getting doused in gatorade after every walkoff
 

YTF

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In reality, and as terrible as I feel having to say it the YES Network runs circles around NESN when it comes to baseball coverage. Lets go to the on field reporter: as a middle aged washed up man...i appreciate eye candy as much as the next man. But cant we get eye candy that actually knows something about the game and can offer legit insights on the team. Meredith Marakovits with YES for example. Very much eye candy with a Dolly Parton build....but she is also baseball savy and obviously has sources and connections. Guerin, this years hot blonde on the sox, is nice enough. Seems like she would be a fun date. But what does she offer during her reports....when she isnt sampling the food at various ball parks. She re hashes Alex Cora's pre game gaggle. Stuff that we've already been told or already read. Nothing against diversity but get someome who knows something. I forgot the young guys name from NESN sports desks that sometimes fills in. Equally as uniformed. When the Sox were on the road recently...San Diego i think....Alex had mentioned that Price might throw a sim game in Colorado and if all goes well...start in Anaheim. Three innings later this guy is babbling about Price having a good pen and might be targeted to for a start against the Rockies. Good lord.
And why do the pre games begin with the three idiots rehashing last nights game? Other MLB teams go right to the field reporter with the news of the day. Not NESN...babbling and joking for ten minutes and then we go to the field to see how sale's test went. wth.
Just curious, what original programming does yes have to fill the baseball voids.
 

shaggydog2000

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Todays actual YES schedule:

1:00 AM (MLB) New York Yankees Postgame '19 #162 (R) HDTV
2:00 AM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
2:30 AM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
3:00 AM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
3:30 AM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
4:00 AM (SOC) ACC Women's Soccer '19 #3 Virginia Tech at Clemson (D) 09/29/19 HDTV
6:00 AM (MLB) New York Yankees Postgame '19 #162 (R) HDTV
7:00 AM (MLB) New York Yankees Postgame '19 #162 (R) HDTV
8:00 AM (MLB) New York Yankees '19 #162 Yankees at Rangers (R) 09/29/19 HDTV
11:00 AM (MLB) New York Yankees Postgame '19 #162 (R) HDTV
12:00 PM (TLK) Cooperstown 2019: Mo & Moose '19 #1 (R) HDTV
12:30 PM (SOC) MLS: New York City FC '19 #23 NYCFC at New England (R) 09/29/19 HDTV
3:00 PM (TLK) The Michael Kay Show '19 #195 (L) HDTV
7:00 PM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
7:30 PM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
8:00 PM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
8:30 PM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
9:00 PM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
9:30 PM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
10:00 PM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
10:30 PM (MLB) Yankees Postseason Preview '19 #1 (R) HDTV
11:00 PM (TLK) Best of The Michael Kay Show '19 #195 (D) HDTV


I guess no Mad Fisherman or infomercials. But maybe 10 hours of actual content a day, and most of it is a radio show simulcast and coverage of non-baseball sports. And I bet every regional sports network is like that.
 

jon abbey

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YES has the Nets also, but their season hasn't quite started yet.
 

shaggydog2000

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YES has the Nets also, but their season hasn't quite started yet.
And NESN has the Bruins. You need something to get eyeballs in the winter. I think every regional sports networks knows they're not a real 24/7 channel. People want them for the games, and everything else is just filler. The cost of branching out and making content people will actually want to watch is really too high. The risk/reward isn't there.
 

IpswichSox

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Imagine the money and time spent on the outside vendor to design that masterpiece -- when no one cares? Use the perfectly fine old logo and reprogram the money saved into keeping the good talent you have (admittedly few).
 
Jul 15, 2005
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Imagine the money and time spent on the outside vendor to design that masterpiece -- when no one cares? Use the perfectly fine old logo and reprogram the money saved into keeping the good talent you have (admittedly few).
Are we sure it wasn't assigned to the NESN summer interns?