It is the summer of being fired. The man who made the phrase “you’re fired!” was fired from a bunch of stuff: The Apprentice, Macy’s, NBC, and the list goes on. But Donald Trump has not been fired by the Republican Party. There is a way to go before the first caucuses and primaries so there is time, but as long as he stays at 25% of the Republican vote it will be hard to fire him as a candidate.
But there was another Don fired this summer in Boston. Don Orsillo, the Red Sox television play-by-play announcer. The public announcement was made in a very ungracious way by NESN and the Red Sox brass while Don was on the air. We can only suppose that he had been told in advance. Chad Finn wrote in his column for Boston.com
We’re veteran bickerers and dedicated cynics around here – hell, it’s why two sports radio stations are not just sustainable but successful in Boston. We can’t get a consensus on which glove Hanley Ramirez should take to work each day, and yet the support for Orsillo is overwhelming. It says something about the man, I think. It’s a remarkable tribute.
The genesis of the consensus and the disappointment is fundamental. You feel like you’ve lost a friend.
Orsillo has been a television voice of the Red Sox since 2001 and the sole TV voice since 2005, when the excellent Sean McDonough’s tenurecalling the team’s games met a similarly graceless end.
To add the icing to the not so edible cake was the lack of comment from the Red Sox management. When Tom Werner finally spoke he basically said nothing. Steve Buckley wrote in the Boston Herald
It was going to be impossible for the Red Sox and NESN to move the popular and talented Don Orsillo out of the television booth without there being a major public outcry.
Still, the situation could have been handled better — with better timing and a whole lot more candor. But the news of Orsillo’s ouster was leaked out, as often happens in these cases, and then Red Sox/NESN management got quiet instead of getting out in front of the story.
Which brings us to the question of the day: Why, exactly, is Orsillo being replaced?
The answer, in the opinion of Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and NESN president/CEO Sean McGrail, is that they believe Dave O’Brien, currently the play-by-play man on the radio side, will be an upgrade.
I listen to the radio quite a bit and, yes, Dave O’Brien is good. But the combination of Orsillo and Jerry Remy is what I call entertainment. I don’t want to debate the merits of various play-by-play announcers, but to pay tribute to Don Orsillo.
Don Orsillo has stayed on the air without betraying any of the bitterness he has a right to feel. Unlike the Red Sox owners, he is a consummate professional. He will land on his feet somewhere and that will be Boston’s loss. I wish him well.