Surprised there isn't an announcer thread...

johnlos

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I tend to put games on in the background a lot (I'm still at work when most games start) so am not the most qualified person to assess this. That said, some scattered thoughts:
• Dave O'Brien is fine. He asks a lot of dumb questions sometimes but I get that he's playing the "straight man" as the non-former-player, play-by-play guy and he genuinely seems to love the game. I miss Orsillo but he seems happy in SD so good for him.
• Eck grew on me even though I found his yokel schtick insufferable in the beginning. Kinda miss him but sounds like it was his choice to leave.
• Youk has been good I think? Insightful and sorta funny. Happy to hear thoughts to the contrary.
• Been disappointed in Wake and Middlebrooks the last couple days. Don't seem to bring anything analytical to the table. A few days ago them and DOB were unanimous on how Verdugo clearly should have made the ASG instead of Julio Rodriguez. I get that they're BOS homers but JRod had 0.5 more fWAR and 7 more HRs at the time. Definitely not "obvious" they only picked JRod because the game's in SEA. Just one example but emblematic of the total absence of analytics from these three. One other example: yesterday when Yoshida moved the runner over with a grounder to second one of them said something like "that's just an example of how they play fundamentally perfect baseball in Japan". First off, analytics will tell you moving a guy from 2nd to 3rd for an out isn't worth it unless it's close and late (it was the 1st), so the premise isn't even right. Second, what's the evidence that Japanese ballplayers are more fundamentally sound? Unnecessary stereotype that adds nothing. Just another example of empty commentary.
• Bill Burr was the best announcer the Red Sox have ever had. Want to go back and watch that game again. 10 innings of hilarity, and he had some legitimate good questions for Youk too (who couldn't help but take the bait).
 

Ale Xander

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Out of curiosity, why are you using fwar? CF's are obviously going to be advantaged there.

Bref has WAR at 3.1 v. 2.3 in favor of Verdugo
 

johnlos

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Valid point. I just find bRef's site harder to navigate (can't easily parse offensive vs. defensive RAR). Do you know why their defensive metrics diverge so much? I did notice Connor Wong is way more valuable in bWAR than fWAR.
 

Bergs

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• Bill Burr was the best announcer the Red Sox have ever had.
I wouldn't go that far, but "This is another good place to kill your wife with all the lakes up here" might've been the hardest I've ever laughed during a Sox broadcast.
 

johnlos

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I wouldn't go that far, but "This is another good place to kill your wife with all the lakes up here" might've been the hardest I've ever laughed during a Sox broadcast.
Was being cheeky, but yes, I don't usually lol during the broadcasts
 

beautokyo

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Second, what's the evidence that Japanese ballplayers are more fundamentally sound? Unnecessary stereotype that adds nothing.
Trust me it's not.
 

beautokyo

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One other example: yesterday when Yoshida moved the runner over with a grounder to second one of them said something like "that's just an example of how they play fundamentally perfect baseball in Japan". First off, analytics will tell you moving a guy from 2nd to 3rd for an out isn't worth it unless it's close and late (it was the 1st), so the premise isn't even right. Second, what's the evidence that Japanese ballplayers are more fundamentally sound? Unnecessary stereotype that adds nothing. Just another example of empty commentary.
Trust me it's not. It can be a total comedy show at times.
 

AB in DC

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I saw in the game threads that Sean McDonough was doing the WEEI pbp this weekend? How often is he there, and why can't he switch places with DOB since Sean is so much better?
 

grimshaw

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I saw in the game threads that Sean McDonough was doing the WEEI pbp this weekend? How often is he there, and why can't he switch places with DOB since Sean is so much better?
He has been on way more often this season than last one - especially after the hockey season ended. NESN is cheap is probably your answer.
 

LoLsapien

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Thanks for mentioning Merloni. I loved hearing Lou and Wake in the booth together one of the games last week. I don't recall if they were particularly insightful or not, but it was obvious they enjoy talking with each other about the game and there was something comforting to me having been a fan during their playing days. I'm a big fan of Lou in the booth. And I'm probably biased with Wake as he is one of my all-time fave players.
 

Whoop-La White

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I saw in the game threads that Sean McDonough was doing the WEEI pbp this weekend? How often is he there, and why can't he switch places with DOB since Sean is so much better?
Not often enough, in my opinion. He seems to rotate in every other weekend series or so. When he pairs with Castiglione or Flemming they share PBP duties.

Yesterday, tangential to talk about the A's moving to Las Vegas, there was a whole riff on Wayne Newton and he didn't miss a beat calling the game.

I could see a Sean & Lou pairing working really well.
 

AlNipper49

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They need to yo yo Merloni between broadcasting between Boston and Worchester. The ultimate long insult. #mockery
 

I Miss Maalox

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Dave O'Brien is fine.
I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone thinks Obie is fine.
Obie is the PBP equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard.
He's the reason I listen to the radio feed on MLB.com even though its typically 30 seconds behind the TV feed.
Its less annoying to listen to the announcers talk about what happened 30 seconds ago than it is to have to endure hour after hour of Obie.

I wouldn't go that far, but "This is another good place to kill your wife with all the lakes up here" might've been the hardest I've ever laughed during a Sox broadcast.
Quoting Bill Burr's "a good place to kill your wife" shtick with your 20,000th post is epic....Thank you!
 

The_Dali

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I do t get the OB hate. He’s a pro announcer. He is dry and boring and sometimes says dumb things, but I’ll take him 100 times out of 100 over Will Fleming.

Wake is boring. I like him but zzzzx

Middlebrooks is ok.

Youk is fine… Merloni is a little cocky for me, but he’s got decent insights.
 

8slim

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I’ve listened to a couple of the radio broadcasts this week while doing house projects, and the McDonough/Castiglione combo is delightful.

I continue to chuckle at all the longing for Orsillo since soooo many people here hated him when he took over for McDonough.

O’Brien isn’t great but he’s doesn’t bother me. Youks and Merloni are by far the best of the color guys.

The broadcasts are fine. Not as good as when Eck and Remy were in the booth. But fine.

Take a spin around MLB.tv if you want to hear what truly lousy announcing sounds like. Half the league is terrible.
 

Whoop-La White

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Take a spin around MLB.tv if you want to hear what ruly lousy announcing sounds like. Half the league is terrible.
I landed on a Tigers game recently where they had 3 ex-players (Dan Petry, Todd Jones and Craig Monroe, I think) in the booth and no PBP at all (this was apparently deliberate, there was a special name for the production), they just said shit like "go get 'em" when the home outfielder had to hustle to cut off a double.
 

simplicio

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DOB feels like the Jeb Bush of broadcasting to me. He really needs someone with character in there with him, and I get that most from Youk and maybe Middlebrooks, though neither is nearly as good as Remy and Eck.
 

The Gray Eagle

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I’ve listened to a couple of the radio broadcasts this week while doing house projects, and the McDonough/Castiglione combo is delightful.

I continue to chuckle at all the longing for Orsillo since soooo many people here hated him when he took over for McDonough.

O’Brien isn’t great but he’s doesn’t bother me. Youks and Merloni are by far the best of the color guys.

The broadcasts are fine. Not as good as when Eck and Remy were in the booth. But fine.

Take a spin around MLB.tv if you want to hear what truly lousy announcing sounds like. Half the league is terrible.
Orsillo joined NESN in 2001. There's probably like a handful of people who posted then who still regularly post here.
Anyway, Sean was good and Orsillo wasn't when he first started, so people didn't like the change. Orsillo got a lot better quickly. And now we have much worse announcers. Doesn't seem inconsistent to prefer Orsillo, who was good, to the mess we have now, but okay.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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Orsillo joined NESN in 2001. There's probably like a handful of people who posted then who still regularly post here.
Anyway, Sean was good and Orsillo wasn't when he first started, so people didn't like the change. Orsillo got a lot better quickly. And now we have much worse announcers. Doesn't seem inconsistent to prefer Orsillo, who was good, to the mess we have now, but okay.
Part of the initial reaction to Orsillo was also due to the circumstances of his hiring. Sean was pretty much fired for being too critical of the team (and he was more expensive), so NESN hired cheap, boring Osrillo who was every bit the company yes-man the team wanted in the booth. I think the reaction would have been more benign if Sean left amicably due to retirement or getting a much bigger gig elsewhere.

Orsillo did indeed get better, and a big part of it was being paired with prime Remy, who by then had grown into the role and helped loosen up the stiff Orsillo.

Unlike Orsillo, who was a bit of a tabula rasa, O'Brien is at a disadvantage because I don't think he has any room for growth, he is a finished product. The stiffness and stiltedness ain't going away. Orsillo's humor was natural, O'Brien's occasional humor is forced. That doesn't mean O'Brien is untalented. Far from it. Just that it is a mismatch being the every day guy for the home team, he should be doing national tv broadcasts for an audience that is not attached to the teams he is calling. I thought he was fine doing the radio broadcasts, where his straight approach is useful and balanced by the poetry of Castig.

Sean was and remains my favorite. My guess is that he is earmarked to take over for Castig whenever he retires, though Sean is getting up there in years too. I think a tv pairing of Sean and Merloni would be ideal. I can just imagine a younger Sean needling Merloni about the career mockery stuff, not sure present Sean would do that.
 

BigJimEd

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I think Youks is pretty good. Not a big fan of Merloni. He's not horrible but not good either.
 

Benj4ever

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• Bill Burr was the best announcer the Red Sox have ever had. Want to go back and watch that game again. 10 innings of hilarity, and he had some legitimate good questions for Youk too (who couldn't help but take the bait).
I'm sure I'm the contrarian here, but I did not enjoy Burr. I can't stand nonstop talking during any sporting event, so he just rubbed me the wrong way.
 

TFisNEXT

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Part of the initial reaction to Orsillo was also due to the circumstances of his hiring. Sean was pretty much fired for being too critical of the team (and he was more expensive), so NESN hired cheap, boring Osrillo who was every bit the company yes-man the team wanted in the booth. I think the reaction would have been more benign if Sean left amicably due to retirement or getting a much bigger gig elsewhere.

Orsillo did indeed get better, and a big part of it was being paired with prime Remy, who by then had grown into the role and helped loosen up the stiff Orsillo.

Unlike Orsillo, who was a bit of a tabula rasa, O'Brien is at a disadvantage because I don't think he has any room for growth, he is a finished product. The stiffness and stiltedness ain't going away. Orsillo's humor was natural, O'Brien's occasional humor is forced. That doesn't mean O'Brien is untalented. Far from it. Just that it is a mismatch being the every day guy for the home team, he should be doing national tv broadcasts for an audience that is not attached to the teams he is calling. I thought he was fine doing the radio broadcasts, where his straight approach is useful and balanced by the poetry of Castig.

Sean was and remains my favorite. My guess is that he is earmarked to take over for Castig whenever he retires, though Sean is getting up there in years too. I think a tv pairing of Sean and Merloni would be ideal. I can just imagine a younger Sean needling Merloni about the career mockery stuff, not sure present Sean would do that.
This is a pretty solid analysis of the PBP guys.

Orsillo was definitely not as good as McDonough when he first got to NESN. But he really improved rapidly after the first or second season and I think most fans noticed that and eventually embraced him.

I'd love to have more McDonough either on radio or TV...he's already a good PBP guy for multiple sports but his local affection for the Red Sox takes it up a small notch which I always enjoyed. Plus, there's probably some nostalgia factor too as I grew up listening to him on old TV38 (then later UPN38 and NESN)
 

LoLsapien

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What's frustrating about OB for me is that I thought he was fantastic on the radio. To me, it felt like he got "promoted" into a role he hasn't been able to grow into. I mostly follow the Sox on the radio and was really disappointed when he moved to TV for that reason.
 

ookami7m

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I do t get the OB hate. He’s a pro announcer. He is dry and boring and sometimes says dumb things, but I’ll take him 100 times out of 100 over Will Fleming.

Wake is boring. I like him but zzzzx

Middlebrooks is ok.

Youk is fine… Merloni is a little cocky for me, but he’s got decent insights.
OB >>> Fleming for sure. The radio feed is only tolerable when Castig or McDonough are moderating how much fleming we get.
Youk tries too hard to be funny.
Merloni I like, Middlebrooks is ok.
 

joe dokes

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Suprisingly, I think Loomer, Youk and Middlebrooks have all been good enough most of the time not to make me turn off the sound. Unlike Millar, who I hope we've seen the last of. Wake is sort of a weak link, but I think he becomes OK when there's a 3rd guy in the booth. Maybe it's their lack of real personal familiarity between him and the others to draw something out of him, but O'Brien is soul-lessly bland. Like he leaves the park and locks himself in a box until the next game. The familiarity between Youk, Loomer and Wake helps a lot.

Castig and McD are the best together. In their own right and because that means less Flemming.
And Castig's MassMutual ad is really great. "Does Marcia really have a Cobb salad . . .?"
 

Harry Hooper

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What's frustrating about OB for me is that I thought he was fantastic on the radio. To me, it felt like he got "promoted" into a role he hasn't been able to grow into. I mostly follow the Sox on the radio and was really disappointed when he moved to TV for that reason.

Generally agree with this, though I'd put O'B on the radio as "well above average" and not "fantastic." On television he's "above average," but I don't think it's unfair for viewers to want more from someone on NESN doing the bulk of the 162-game season. I wish NESN would give us McDonough or Mike Monaco over O'B.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Middlebrooks and Youk are both too homerish for my taste. Even for a local color guy, I don’t need to hear a lot of “oh yeah!” or “[so-and-so] is gonna hit a bomb here!”

Remy and Eck were both way better at clearly being more excited when the Sox did good things without descending to outright cheering of the type that you’d yell at your screen at home. Merloni also seems much better in this regard.

I also may be in the minority here but generally speaking I haven’t found the three-man booths to work well - for example when you have Youk and Middlebrooks (or Wake) together it seems way easier for them to devolve into two former ball players sitting back and just watching the game/rooting for the Sox then providing actual analysis.

As for DOB, he strikes me as perfectly average, which frankly is probably what NESN wants in a PBP guy - isn’t going to ever say anything remotely controversial or interesting, isn’t ever going to question or push back on anything the color guy says, but does an adequate job of keeping the trains running on time, so to speak.
 

gryoung

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O’Brien — Not bad/plays the role pretty well/professional
McDonough — The Best of the bunch
Merloni — feels the need to always talk/would not miss
Middlebrooks — best potential/smart
Youkilis — improving/insightful
Wake — not bad/would not miss
 

YTF

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DOB feels like the Jeb Bush of broadcasting to me. He really needs someone with character in there with him, and I get that most from Youk and maybe Middlebrooks, though neither is nearly as good as Remy and Eck.
Middlebrooks and Youk are both too homerish for my taste. Even for a local color guy, I don’t need to hear a lot of “oh yeah!” or “[so-and-so] is gonna hit a bomb here!”

Remy and Eck were both way better at clearly being more excited when the Sox did good things without descending to outright cheering of the type that you’d yell at your screen at home. Merloni also seems much better in this regard.

I also may be in the minority here but generally speaking I haven’t found the three-man booths to work well - for example when you have Youk and Middlebrooks (or Wake) together it seems way easier for them to devolve into two former ball players sitting back and just watching the game/rooting for the Sox then providing actual analysis.

As for DOB, he strikes me as perfectly average, which frankly is probably what NESN wants in a PBP guy - isn’t going to ever say anything remotely controversial or interesting, isn’t ever going to question or push back on anything the color guy says, but does an adequate job of keeping the trains running on time, so to speak.
First bolded...IMO Youk much more than Middlebrooks. I think that they are both smart and have something to offer, BUT Youk's becoming a bit of a motormouth with no one to reign him in. OB should be pro enough to try to steer the boat and I think that is part of the overall issue.

Second bolded...Again, IMO, this is where Middlebrooks really suffers. I think perhaps there was a three man once with him and Merloni, but put him in there with Youk (bad), Millar (worse) or Wakefield (great guy, offers nothing) and Middlebrooks becomes more of a conversationalist than commentator.

Overall I'm not as down on OB as many others are. My biggest beef with him these days is that he should be the veteran guy that can run (for lack of a better word) the booth. But he's lost two guys who knew how to work a game and has been forced to work with a revolving door of inexperienced talent. Hard to build up some sort of rapport under those conditions. I think Merloni has been really good. He's miles ahead of the others when it comes to experience and he and OB as a team work OK for me. IIRC Merloni and Monaco were paired up a few times during ST and I enjoyed the two of them together.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The three man booth in total, no matter who is involved, is useless. They're trying to capture the magic of Remy and Eck but ignoring the fact that those guys had 30+ years of friendship AND a combined 40+ years of broadcast experience under their belt before they ever shared a booth. THAT is why it worked. There is no combination close to that on the NESN roster.

They're far better off continuing to break in Youk, Merloni, and Middlebrooks by themselves with OB (or Monaco or whoever else might fill in at PBP). Let them find their own solo styles and rhythms before trying to mix things together.
 

LeastSculptedJew

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What's frustrating about OB for me is that I thought he was fantastic on the radio.
Almost-entirely-radio fan here. Agreed -- when he was with Castiglione it sounded like there was real chemistry; they were a pleasure to listen to. Some of that may have been Castiglione's relief after too much Trupiano for too long, but I don't think most of it.

Nowadays, when it isn't Castiglione or McDonough talking, radio is at best bearable, sometimes painful. Lou Merloni is a change, but he'd be twice as good if he talked half as much.

Does anyone know what's up with Joe Castiglione? There's been very little of him this year. They talk about vacations and family obligations, but he's getting up there -- I worry that he's not well.
 

johnlos

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I saw in the game threads that Sean McDonough was doing the WEEI pbp this weekend? How often is he there, and why can't he switch places with DOB since Sean is so much better?
What’s crazy is I don’t even remember McDonough doing a game recently. Love him as a Big East basketball announcer. I think I watch a lot less on weekends and it seems that’s when he moonlights. Looking forward to hearing more of him and Merloni based on the opinions here!
 

biollante

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O'Brien is vanilla and terrible. He talks too much. I don't think he is a bad announcer but just one that I don't want to listen to. Sean is ok to listen to but everyone else is a work in progress.
 

derekson

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Give me Monaco and Youk every game. Monaco and Merloni as a split if Youk doesn't want to go full time.
 

Laser Show

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Almost-entirely-radio fan here. Agreed -- when he was with Castiglione it sounded like there was real chemistry; they were a pleasure to listen to. Some of that may have been Castiglione's relief after too much Trupiano for too long, but I don't think most of it.

Nowadays, when it isn't Castiglione or McDonough talking, radio is at best bearable, sometimes painful. Lou Merloni is a change, but he'd be twice as good if he talked half as much.

Does anyone know what's up with Joe Castiglione? There's been very little of him this year. They talk about vacations and family obligations, but he's getting up there -- I worry that he's not well.
pretty sure they announced at the beginning of the year that he’d be cutting back on working starting this season, so I think this is all planned.
 

Bertha

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Monaco is so good, and without needing to be the star, a la DOB. Even in limited games, he seems to have a nice chemistry with Youk. He is prepared, sets up Youk to analyze, and seems like a guy you would want to sit and watch a game with. For the notoriously cheap NESN to not save $ by grabbing Monaco and dumping DOB, there must be some reason not obvious to the average viewer.
 

Harry Hooper

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Monaco is so good, and without needing to be the star, a la DOB. Even in limited games, he seems to have a nice chemistry with Youk. He is prepared, sets up Youk to analyze, and seems like a guy you would want to sit and watch a game with. For the notoriously cheap NESN to not save $ by grabbing Monaco and dumping DOB, there must be some reason not obvious to the average viewer.
I believe O'B's expensive contract has years to run as he signed a multiyear extension in the summer of 2019.
 

JCizzle

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Monaco is so good, and without needing to be the star, a la DOB. Even in limited games, he seems to have a nice chemistry with Youk. He is prepared, sets up Youk to analyze, and seems like a guy you would want to sit and watch a game with. For the notoriously cheap NESN to not save $ by grabbing Monaco and dumping DOB, there must be some reason not obvious to the average viewer.
Yep, no offense to DOB who is probably a nice guy, but Monaco is a much more enjoyable listen.
 

Brohamer of the Gods

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Almost-entirely-radio fan here. Agreed -- when he was with Castiglione it sounded like there was real chemistry; they were a pleasure to listen to. Some of that may have been Castiglione's relief after too much Trupiano for too long, but I don't think most of it.

Nowadays, when it isn't Castiglione or McDonough talking, radio is at best bearable, sometimes painful. Lou Merloni is a change, but he'd be twice as good if he talked half as much.

Does anyone know what's up with Joe Castiglione? There's been very little of him this year. They talk about vacations and family obligations, but he's getting up there -- I worry that he's not well.
Joe isn't doing road games anymore, so that explains half of his absences.
 

richgedman'sghost

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Monaco is so good, and without needing to be the star, a la DOB. Even in limited games, he seems to have a nice chemistry with Youk. He is prepared, sets up Youk to analyze, and seems like a guy you would want to sit and watch a game with. For the notoriously cheap NESN to not save $ by grabbing Monaco and dumping DOB, there must be some reason not obvious to the average viewer.
Monaco is an up and coming broadcaster who is moving up the chain at ESPN. Why would he take the peanuts NESN would offer to do Sox full time and give up ESPN? At ESPN he can really expand his portfolio by doing a variety of sports and increase his national profile. Seems like a no brainer to me. I agree with you that Mike is pretty good especially with Youkilis.
 

Humphrey

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I think I like road games better no matter who's doing them. Less (quite a few less, actually) innings where DOB and his analyst-du-jour chat with visitors-to-the-booth and pay no attention to the game action.