Dave O'Brien NESN

It’s rare to see a broadcaster leave a game in the middle, but that’s what happened with NESN’s Dave O’Brien during a Boston Red Sox broadcast Saturday. As WEEI’s Rob Bradford writes, the team’s been dealing with a round of flu, and it may have spread to O’Brien, who had to exit thanks to illness in the sixth inning:

Television play-by-play man Dave O’Brien was forced from the broadcast during the sixth inning of the Red Sox’ tilt against the Tigers at Comerica Park after feeling ill.

At first color analyst Jerry Remy executed the play-by-play. He then turned it over to studio host Tom Caron, who called the action remotely from NESN headquarters.

“I have to admit this is the first time in 30 years this has happened,” said Remy.

It’s perhaps not surprising O’Brien (who’s in his second year with NESN after they picked him to replace Don Orsillo after the 2015 season) got sick, as the flu seems to be really ravaging everyone associated with that team:

In addition to O’Brien, outfielder Andrew Benintendi was throwing up in the sixth inning Saturday, but he stayed in the game; the Red Sox are hopeful he might avoid the flu.

The flu has claimed several victims, beginning last week with Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland and a few members of the coaching staff. Right fielder Mookie Betts, who missed three consecutive games, rejoined the team here Saturday, but designated hitter Hanley Ramirez is still back in Boston after testing positive for influenza.

Lefty reliever Robbie Ross Jr. was placed on the disabled list after testing positive for the flu. Fellow reliever Joe Kelly, who pitched in the eighth inning Friday, remained at the team’s hotel Saturday after being hit by the illness.

“This hasn’t been able to be contained from one certain group to another or a couple of guys,” manager John Farrell said. “There’s three different things that are going around — one’s a respiratory one, one’s flu-like symptoms and one is the full-blown flu.”

This is a strange end to a remarkable week for O’Brien. He was on the call for ESPN in Mississippi State’s Women’s Final Four upset last Friday, then called the women’s NCAA title game Sunday and then headed to Fenway for Opening Day Monday. Hopefully the illness won’t hold him back too much, and hopefully it clears up before any more players or media members come down with it. Props to Remy and Caron for filling in on short notice here.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.