Standing as the gatekeeper between the fans and the organization, the broadcaster is the lifeblood of the team. Through winning and losing their voices resonate authoritatively and become the soundtrack of summer. For the Boston Red Sox it seems that voice will change on NESN entering the 2016 season, as Dennis and Callahan of WEEI in Boston report that play-by-play man Don Orsillo will not have his contract renewed.
This will be Don Orsillo’s final season on the Red Sox broadcast according to multiple sources.
— Dennis and Callahan (@DandCShow) August 25, 2015
Orsillo has been the voice of the Red Sox on television since the 2001 season and is forever remembered for being on the mic for Hideo Nomo‘s no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles that same year. In fact, it was the first game he called as their full-time broadcaster. During his tenure, Orsillo presided over the most successful run of Red Sox baseball, being the local voice of the club for each of their three recent World Series championships (2004, 2007, and 2013). In addition, he called a total of four no-hitters, most notably the ones tossed by Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester in consecutive seasons.
Teaming with former Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy, the duo displayed strong chemistry and a dynamic which endeared themselves to Red Sox fans. Don and Jerry, as they are known, have been arguably the most popular broadcast team in Boston sports outside of Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn with the Celtics. Orsillo carried that influence onto the national stage, calling seven consecutive Division Series for TBS from 2007 through 2013 with an array of broadcast partners.
Dave O’Brien, a veteran of ESPN and one of the voices on the WEEI Red Sox radio network, will likely replace Orsillo on NESN telecasts next season, according to Mike Lynch of WCVB in Boston.
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
O’Brien has been a play-by-play voice in baseball for the past twenty years with four different teams, including a notable two-year stint with the New York Mets from 2003-2005, teaming with Hall of Famer Tom Seaver on WPIX. Pawtucket voices Will Flemming and Josh Maurer could be considered for the vacant radio spot after the latter filled in for Orsillo this past July.
From Ned Martin to Dick Stockton to Joe Castiglione and Sean McDonough, the Boston Red Sox have always assembled a competent and professional play-by-play man in the broadcast booth. After fifteen memorable seasons, it appears that Orsillo’s time with the Red Sox is coming to an end. It reminds us how scarce a job as a Major League Baseball announcer can be and that every job is fragile. Given Orsillo’s credentials it is likely he will find another landing spot in the majors leagues but with the minors developing quality voices and no significant broadcasting changes last winter, options could be limited. As the curtain falls on the Red Sox forgettable 2015 campaign, it appears changes are happening everywhere, including behind the mic.