NESN’s Dave O’Brien Largely Rejected By Red Sox Fans

By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB

As a Red Sox fan, I always feared Don Orsillo might end up broadcasting Major League Baseball for another team, or possibly a national platform such as FOX or ESPN.  However, I felt it would be on his own accord, and for a bigger pay day.

In late August of 2015, I was eating my usual foot long tuna at a Subway Restaurant on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, Maine, when I saw the tweet announcing Don Orsillo would not be back for the 2016 season.

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It was not immediately clear as to why Orsillo was leaving, but the dirty details trickled out over the course of the week.   Red Sox Chairman, Tom Werner, had apparently made the decision to replace Orsillo with WEEI’s Dave O’Brien, because they felt they needed a “new direction,” and that the latter was an “upgrade.”

In Orsillo’s defense, the ratings for the Sox were down mostly due to the fact they finished in last place during both the 2014 & 15 season’s.   With O’Brien leading the broadcast, ratings are down 15% from 2016, even after Boston won the AL East for the second season in a row.

The perception of O’Brien’s ability to connect with the Fenway faithful is not getting any stronger.  More and more across social media we are seeing fans post about their displeasure of having to listen to the live NESN broadcast.  Many insist they watch with the TV on mute, or simply prefer the radio coverage.

 

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O’Brien is very dry in his delivery and commentary.   He often complains about the pace of play, and what inning they should be playing based on how late it is in the evening.  It is almost as if he knows his ratings are slipping, and airs out his complaints in regards to the game’s pace in an attempt to justify the declining numbers to his viewers.

Orsillo on the other hand, would banter back and fourth with legendary color commentator Jerry Remy.    It wouldn’t matter how late the game was going, or if the score was 9-2 for either team, they were always entertaining.   It could be about a mishap at the hotel or airport, stealing mustard from cafeterias, they always made us laugh.  Both lead broadcasters could not be more polar opposite.

Red Sox owners John Henry & Tom Werner have had a long standing accountability problem.   Terry Francona left the city of Boston with a knife in his back after it was suggested he had marital, and possible substance abuse problems.   Many suspected Larry Luchhino as the culprit, but Henry & Werner did not clear the air, or defend their former manager nontheless.  Jon Lester was let walk due to a severely botched negotiations breakdown.   They brought Pablo Sandoval to Boston in an attempt to help the team’s marketability.   When he showed up grossly overweight for spring training in 2016, Henry attempted to come to the rescue by saying the Kung Fu Panda was 17% body fat.   Just a little white lie, right?

This will be O’Brien’s third full season in the NESN booth.   If the ratings do continue to slide, we can only hope the NESN (owned by the Red Sox) will decide to cut ties and move on.   Not only have the ratings slipped, but empty seats could be seen in various spots of Fenway Park during both games of the 2017 ALDS playoff series against the Astros.  One might suggest this is an apples and oranges comparison, but O’Brien still speaks to the likability of the team.

 

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Despite Orsillo’s immense and everlasting popularity with Red Sox fans, it’s unlikely he will never be back.   He snubbed NESN when they tried to get him to publicly state this departure was a “mutual decision.”  My dream candidate to put in the NESN booth was Matt Vasgersian, but he recently signed a deal with ESPN to take over Sunday Night Baseball.

One thing is for certain, Dave O’Brien has ultimately failed to become a beloved and revered voice for Red Sox Nation.  He has quite frankly been mostly rejected by the vast majority of the fan base.   It’s anyone’s guess as to who a possible replacement candidate could be.   It all depends how long Tom Werner and NESN will be willing to hold out.

Make no mistake about it, they never admit they were wrong in ousting Orsillo.  That’s not who Werner & Company are.  They do not have the character or integrity to take that step.

Don Orsillo was our voice, and they took him away.

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19 thoughts on “NESN’s Dave O’Brien Largely Rejected By Red Sox Fans

  1. Amen on loss of Don Orsillo he had personality he was not just a voice. His interaction with Jerry Remy made watching NESN an enjoyment no matter if the Soxes were wining or losing. On the other hand Dave OBrien or as I refer to him as Encyclopedia Dave. He seems to be more interested in expressing his knowledge rather than being a personality to enjoy. Yes I would like to see him go and forget the number of errors in decisions that ownership have made, if it wasn’t Boston where fans come to the game because they love Boston. Three monkeys could own the franchise and the Fans would still be there. Just my opinion.

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    1. I can’t stand him. He ruins every game. He never shuts up. He repeats the same lines over and over again. He makes games almost intolerable for me. Mostly I just shut off the volume. I don’t need the health and wellness reports on every batter that steps up to the plate. I swear he stays up all night searching google for facts on opposing teams to broadcast the next day. I think he thinks he is on radio instead of live team coverage.

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  2. I used to watch nearly every Red Sox game during the season on NESN. What the owners have done with Tito Francioa and especially Don Orsillo by installing O’Brien in the booth have caused me to follow the Red Sox for about 1/3 of their games and always with the volume turned down and the radio on. I think that even if Don Orsillo was begged to return that he would refuse with this regime in place. Don has too much class to do to San Diego what Warner and the so called brain trust in Boston did to him. Jerry Remy should get hazardous duty pay.

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  3. Sometimes there is an adjustment period when a new play caller comes in. Joe Castiglione was despised at first, because, he had been working in Cleveland not New England. They just had to get to know him, and in time, they realized that he was a good ol New Englander too. The fact is, Dave does not look or act like a New England sports announcer. In his three piece pinstripe suits and slicked down hair, he looks more like he should be in the movie The Sting,, than announcing a baseball game. He does not sync with anybody. Jerry, Eck and Steve Lyons do not dress or groom themselves in that manner when announcing. He seems to have no sense of humor too. New Englanders are emotional people and Dave is emotionally dead.

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  4. I’m sure you’re real connected with everything that happens in Boston up in Lewiston Maine. You’re such a fraud and a phony. And a horrible writer. Stop pretending to be an expert

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  5. Don and Jerry giggling thru half an inning was not annoyingly…Dave O’Brien opening his boring, repetitive mouth is. I watch on MLB TV and unless we have Jerry or Eck I watch the opponent’s feed. Most of them don’t have incessant promos-added bonus.

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  6. Dave is very boring. He means well but he’s such a sycophant to jerry and ECK. I hope one day he doesn’t lick their faces; he’s so in awe of them that it’s embarrassing. He is very dry. Also his back stories are sort of pointless and enough about your wonderful son in the military !

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  7. I have regularly listened to the opposing announcers just because I find the announcing team of O’Brien and Remy so forced. They try forced humour. O’Brien is flat out boring. Rem Dawg, still popular does need an energizing partner. NESN has runined the game for me and 2018 is not half as much enjoyable because of the boring announcing team. DULL DULL DULL

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  8. Trying to be compassionate here – and it must be tough adjusting to different color guys every few days – but DOB is SO repetitive. Constant gripes about Spring weather in New England – what else is new? – are particularly grating lately. Stick to calling the game, talk baseball and don’t be afraid of a little silence, please…..

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  9. Dave O’Brien has statistical diarrhea mouth. All he does is brag about the Red Sox and statistically knock the opposition. I have muted him and turn the radio on.

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  10. I have been following Boston baseball for over 70 years.I have listened to all of the broadcasters starting with Tom Hussy and Jim Britt.
    DOB belongs on the radio.
    Any professional sportscaster would be an improvement.

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  11. I dislike his subtle condescension toward Remy. It’s there if you listen closely. During yesterday’s game, he argued with Eck, as well. He thinks he knows more about baseball than these guys? Definitely miss the relationship between Orsillo and Remy. They made me laugh on a nightly basis.

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