Red Sox Not Likely To Sign Tim Tebow

I’m not a big football fan. The Penn State sex abuse scandals and the neurological issue highlighted by the film Concussion turned me off to the game. But I find it interesting when an athlete jumps from one sport to another. So I found it intriguing when I heard the rumor that the Red Sox might sign Tim Tebow.

It’s rare to see athletes jump from one sport to another, but it’s not rare. The mostsign Tim Tebow famous two-sport athlete, Bo Jackson, showed the world that he was more than proficient in both baseball and football. During his career, Jackson was an All-Star, All-Star MVP, 1993 AL Comeback Player of the Year, and had four 20+ home run seasons. In his rookie football season, on 81 carries, Jackson rushed for a total of 554 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per carry (I assume that’s good). Other athletes who played two sports include Deion Sanders. Sanders played baseball for the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees, while also playing football. Then there’s Michael Jordan, who in 1994 retired from basketball to play baseball.  He hit a paltry .202 playing Double-A ball in the Southern League.

Now we have Tim Tebow.

I remember years ago when people gave him a hard time for Tebowing. I thought it was stupid that people got so worked up about it. Many football fans shrugged off the Penn State abuse scandal. Those same fans didn’t seem to care about players who beat their wives either. But a lot of them flipped when Tebow spoke out about his religious views. So what? Personally, I thought it was cool. He believes in something important to him and wasn’t afraid to show it. But it’s going to take more than his faith in God to get to the Major Leagues.

Would A Team Sign Tim Tebow To Boost Tickets Sales?

Tebow might be an amazing athlete, but it takes a lot more than muscle and speed to play the game of baseball. Tebow last played competitive baseball at Nease High in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida in 2005. High school baseball eleven years ago? Yes, that’s the extent of his experience. And while he can run the dash faster than the average baseball player at 6.8 seconds, there’s hitting, throwing, and quick-decision making that will truly test Tebow if he’s signed to a contract.

Are the Red Sox one of the teams seriously pursuing Tebow? Not really. In a NESN interview, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski stated, “We did our due diligence. I don’t want to say anything negative because other teams are looking at [Tebow], but I don’t think we’ll be rushing out to make a signing.”

Not exactly a sign of confidence.

Not only would Tebow have to get in line behind the hundreds of other minor leaguers trying to make it to the show, but he doesn’t have much to add defensively. Professional baseball is stocked plenty with outfielders, especially the Red Sox, and that’s the only position Tebow can really play. Additionally, Tebow will face a lot of resentment from those in baseball who know he used his status as a football hero to bypass the system.

It’s a good thing that Dombrowski doesn’t want to sign Tim Tebow right away. He might help ticket sales, but I doubt the Red Sox are lacking in that department anyway. If anything, he’d be a distraction, and that’s the last thing the Red Sox need right now.

The Red Sox Announcer Dilemma

The only thing about as inconsistent as the bullpen this summer is who we hear in Red Sox announcer booth. There are a multitude of former Red Sox alongside Dave O’Brien in the NESN booth this season. Most fans are annoyed with the constant changing in commentators. They need to keep just one other signature guy in the booth already. Who should NESN stick with and why?

During home games this season, Jerry Remy is still the Red Sox Red Sox Announcerannouncer voice fans commonly hear. Since 1988, Remy has been a part of Red Sox broadcasts. In my experience, there is one major skill he lacks: the ability to analyze baseball well. To me, that is a key skill to have in the baseball analyzing business but hey, he’s still there.

Nary has he enriched the broadcasts since I’ve been watching this team. Still, the Red Sox and NESN have had plenty of opportunities to part ways with him and haven’t. I don’t want to bring his personal life into a discussion about his broadcasting, but the legal problems with his son as well as legitimate health concerns could be reason enough for Remy to leave on his own.

The ‘Other’ Red Sox Announcer Stand-Ins

Next in the Red Sox announcer pecking order is Steve “Psycho” Lyons. Lyons had three stints as a player in Boston between 1985 and 1993, his first and last Major League stops. He is most known for being traded for the great Tom Seaver as well as dropping his pants while on first base during a game. After a completely bogus firing from Fox nearly a decade ago, Lyons eventually brought his talents to the NESN booth. Originally, he was on the pre and post game shows, which he still is when not color commentating. Psycho brings a great analysis of players on and off the field for fans to better understand the game.

Finally, Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley emerges as the best Red Sox announcer NESN has. “Eck” is by far the best man in the booth. While I think Lyons is good, it’s really not a close race as far as I’m concerned. Even in a “contract year” for all intents and purposes, Remy doesn’t compare. I’m not one for commentators with a stupid schtick, but Eck can back it up. His constant muttering of “cheese” and “hair” to describe the game actually makes him enjoyable. In fact, in the past week I’ve heard Eck refer to both a home run and a contract as a “Johnson”.

Eckersley seems to know exactly what the pitcher is doing, what the manager’s thoughts probably are and the hitter’s expectations. His extensive knowledge of baseball makes for an incredible broadcast. Even with a hairstyle grossly out of fashion, Dennis Eckersley should absolutely be in NESN Red Sox announcer permanently.

David Ortiz Criticizes Crybaby Players

Anyone who saw the Red Sox play in the mid 1970s can tell you about the violent clashes between catcher Carlton Fisk and New York Yankees’ catcher Thurmond Munson. It seemed like anytime the Yankees came to Fenway the two all-star catchers would fight, but they weren’t the only ones. Throughout the next thirty years or so, Fenway would see its fair share of brawls, particularly in 2003 when Pedro Martinez defended himself when Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer charged at the Red Sox ace only to be thrown to the Ortiz Criticizes Crybaby Playersground. Brawls of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s were epic; a symbol of defending one’s honor. But in an interview with NESN, David Ortiz criticizes crybaby players who he says are too serious and don’t know how to have fun playing baseball. Ortiz’s word reflect how brawls today start not to defend one’s honor but because players can’t control their emotions.

“Quite frankly, I think baseball wants to be too serious about what we do. Whenever we have any reaction within the game, people want to make it about, ‘Oh, he’s a showboat,’ you know? People need to realize that this is a game. OK, we get paid a lot of money. But it’s a game. You have to have fun.”

Brawls today seem to start because players are too sensitive. Many don’t like when an opponent does something like fist pump or cheer when he hits a home run, or strikes out the order. Take for instance the Jose Bautista feud with the Texas Rangers last fall. After hitting a home run, Jose Bautista flipped his bat as he started his run around the bases, incensing the Rangers players who accused him of showboating. It eventually led to revenge when Rougned Odor landed a punch to his face after Bautista made a questionable slide towards Odor’s legs at second base earlier this season. While most people love a good brawl, the fight between Bautista and Odor didn’t start for the right reasons. It started because the Rangers couldn’t take seeing a player better than them hit a home run. In other words, players like Odor and the Rangers don’t like seeing any kind of showboating, which in my opinion equates to whining.

Is Ortiz Right Or Does This Reflect Society?

“There are a lot of crying babies in baseball,” Ortiz told NESN. “There’s all the complaining and bitching about things. When you strike me out and pump your fist, I don’t care. That motivates me to go out and hit a homer the next at-bat. I don’t really mind. But whenever you hit a homer, and you do what you do, everyone starts complaining. For me, the reality is, I don’t pay attention to any of that crap.”

Some might say that this trend reflects today’s society where every kid gets a trophy, and people can’t say speak their minds because others get offended too quickly. On a larger level, what this trend reflects, whether it’s in baseball or just in America, is that people don’t know how to control their emotions. Thankfully for the Red Sox, players like David Ortiz can control his bat as well as his temper (most of the time). So the next time David Ortiz criticizes crybaby players, I’m going to see what led him to voice his opinion instead of choosing to get offended.

A Farewell to Don Orsillo

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, Don OrsilloJoseph 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.

Jerry Remy is Back in the Booth

jerry remy

You don’t realize you miss something until it’ss gone. In this case it was Jerry Remy, who works alongside Don Orsillo calling games for the Boston Red Sox on NESN. Remy was out sick during most of the month of June. During the games he missed, a few radio and other NESN personalities sat in his place. Some of those that took the Remdawg’s seat talked too little, others talked far too much. Still others had voices like nails on chalkboard. It just wasn’t the same.

Don and Jerry get it just right.

Don and Jerry know when to allow silence. Many broadcasters fear this “dead air.” Viewers most definitely saw this with some of the personalities that sat in for Jerry during his bout of pneumonia. Don and Jerry know it is okay to shut up, once in a while, throughout the broadcast. They are both very funny at times and talk about silly topics, but are also very attentive to the game. Don and Jerry have just the right timbre of voices for calling games. This is very important to me. I like a deeper voice and they both have it. Other teams, like the Yankees, are not so blessed (so I hear from the New York radio personalities that I listen to). These guys know the game and make it an experience for the viewers, and the fans at the game, too. Jerry likes to buy hot dogs for fans that hold up signs asking for them.

When I’ve had a tough day and just want to relax, not be overwhelmed by too much noise from the tube, I know where to turn. Don and Jerry have lulled me to sleep some nights, calmed my nerves, and made me laugh on days I have been down.

Welcome back to the booth, Jerry. Please take care of yourself. New Englanders want to hear more of you and Don each night when we tune in to NESN. You are both a big part of Red Sox nation.