Red Sox fans have been accustomed to having Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy call games on NESN since 2001. Fans will have barely over a month to cherish them as they’ll be parting ways at the end of the season. Orsillo is being let go by NESN and will be replaced by radio voice Dave O’Brien who also calls games for ESPN. The news was first reported by WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan:
This will be Don Orsillo's final season on the Red Sox broadcast according to multiple sources.
— Kirk and Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) August 25, 2015
And the news of Orsillo’s departure has been confirmed by Boston sports anchor Mike Lynch:
Disappointed to confirm Don Orsillo out at NESN at end of season to be replaced by Dave O'Brien
— Mike Lynch (@LynchieWCVB) August 25, 2015
Don and Jerry have made boring games tolerable with their ability to laugh and infuse humor. Sometimes it goes over the top, but mostly they know when to dial it back in. Orsillo came in during a period when the Red Sox split games between NESN on cable and various broadcast channels. Orsillo would call games on NESN while Sean McDonough called the games on free TV.
That changed in 2005 when NESN elected to have Orsillo call all of the games
both on cable and broadcast and again when the Red Sox went all-cable soon afterwards. And when Remy had cancer, Orsillo had to work with a bevy of partners until he was ready to return.
Orsillo’s versatility in the booth was a reason why TBS hired him in 2007 to be one of the announcers for the League Division Series and he remained there until 2013. In fact, it was reported that TBS was interested in hiring him full-time, but Orsillo turned Turner Sports down to remain at NESN.
The news came as a shock to Red Sox fans who are a group that rarely likes change whether it’s Fenway Park or their broadcasters. And while NESN is not commenting on the news (Awful Announcing has asked NESN for statement and at publish time, has not received one), a tweet from the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn sheds some light into NESN’s decision:
@SamPfeifle @JohnKelley98 Relatively new guy at NESN named Joseph Maar has never been his biggest fan.
— Chad Finn (@GlobeChadFinn) August 25, 2015
So after being loyal to NESN for 15 years, Orsillo’s paid back by being pushed out the door. Here’s hoping he’s able to find a new gig for next season.