It was revealed on Tuesday that Don Orsillo will not return in 2016 as the Red Sox play-by-play announcer on NESN after NESN declined to renew his contract after this season, per the Boston Globe. Speculation on Dennis & Callahan on WEEI placed some of the blame on falling ratings. Let’s be honest here—the reason for the falling ratings has to do more with the team’s underwhelming performance in the past 2 seasons. This is not Don Orsillo’s fault, obviously.
According to reports, Orsillo was never a favorite of executive VP of programming, Joseph Marr, who has been at NESN since 2012. NESN had considered removing him effective immediately, but decided better of it.
The combination of Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy made Red Sox broadcasts fun to watch, even when the team wasn’t very fun to watch on the field. Some of the crazy conversations they had made the broadcasts infinitely more enjoyable, and it’s something that I will sorely miss.
I personally like Dave O’Brien, who will replace Don Orsillo next year and who has done an excellent job as the play-by-play guy for WEEI. Don Orsillo was unique in that he had a great sense of humor and combined it seamlessly with a professionalism that I always admired as someone who aspires to go into that field.
If Don Orsillo was in any way upset by the news, he did not show it tonight, as the broadcast against the Chicago White Sox seemed like business as usual from an outsiders prospective. I’m sure Don will move on to better things after NESN. He does have experience doing postseason games with TBS, as he started doing the games in 2007. Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, but I would love to see him take Joe Buck’s job at Fox. He would be a massive improvement over Buck, as he can bring out the best in the guys he works with.
Good luck, Don. I, and the rest of Red Sox Nation, wish you all the best in whatever you decide to pursue. You deserved better.