There’s been some good shit going on at 4 Yawkey Way as of late. While this whole season has been very disappointing (just read my season preview blogs to know what I’m talking about) the newest wave of positive Red Sox news has been highlighted by some laser shows and the hiring of one of the best baseball minds in the world, Dave Dombrowski, to become the newest member of the front office.
But today, ladies and gentlemen, the Red Sox organization took yet another step back.
NESN announced that longtime play-by-play man Don Orsillo will not be returning to the booth to call Sox games in 2016. These last few, meaningless games will be our final memories with Don.
No, NESN, everything is not fucking awesome. WHY would you get rid of the one guy that makes people tune into games when they suck so hard? He started back in 2001 so the Sox had a fair amount of seasons where the Sox weren’t good. Yeah, they did well in ’03, ’05, ’08, (technically) ’11, and won 3 championships since he took over, but all of those other seasons were pretty much ass, especially those seasons between the second and third rings.
He has an iconic voice and was committed to the Sox and his network like no one else. He follow in the footsteps of guys like Bob Kurtz and Sean McDonough, who was extremely talented calling a game as well but was a huge burden outside of the booth in his tenure. It was always “me, me, me” with McDonough.
But Don? Don didn’t complain about much. The only thing he did complain about was, get this, taking mandatory days off. He hates the idea of missing games because he doesn’t wanna miss anything exciting to call for us, the fans.
He came to NESN knowing he wasn’t getting the highest paying job, but he accepted it and stuck with them. He could’ve gone to national broadcasts full time, but he stayed loyal to NESN. He has the power to make people tune in all over Red Sox Nation, and now he’s gonna be gone because NESN/the Red Sox organization is full of a bunch of asshats who can’t tell what the people want at all.
Don knows how and when to highlight certain plays or raise his voice at just the right time like many broadcasters in baseball do. He can narrate a game as well as guys like Duane Kuiper, Gary Thorne, Gary Cohen, or Len Kasper. Not gonna put Vin Scully in there, though, because the man is in a class of his own.
But what makes Orsillo different, and better, than most broadcasters is what he does in moments not crucial to the game. Sure, Cohen’s “IT’S OUTTA HERE!” is an awesome call, but he can’t entertain you in lull points like Don. No one can make a moment in the top of the third in a shit game during a disappointing season a career highlight, except for Orsillo. And that’s exactly what he did with the Boob Grab game.
No one can turn Jerry Remy’s inability to say words properly into 8 minutes of broadcasting gold, except for Orsillo.
No one would fathom imitating Joe Castig speaking Spanish in a 6-0 game, except Orsillo.
No one gets excited over a lamp like they’re Brick Tamland, except Orsillo.
No one gets tutorials to work their windshield wipers and high beams in a 7-2 game, except Orsillo.
No one wonders if they’d receive mouth-to-mouth from their color partner, except Orsillo.
His giggle, his enthusiasm, his unpredictability; that’s what makes Don Orsillo one of the best modern day baseball commentators. He knows how to utilize big time situations, and he knows how to work past boring ass periods. He gives you interesting tidbits throughout the game which please diehard baseball fanatics, and has just the right amount of goofiness to entertain viewers who don’t know the difference between a grand slam and a backwards K.
Here’s hoping Orsillo gets a bigger and better gig. He had “no comment” on the issue, but you can just tell he’s heartbroken. This is all he wanted to do: to watch the game that he loves and to bring his positive vibes into the homes of his fellow New Englanders. He deserves to be treated better than this. Pound sand, NESN.
I’ll leave you with his two most memorable moments. First, Toothgate.
And then his magnum opus, the Pizza game.
“I’M GONNA THROW MY PIZZA!!!!”