2011 Approval Ratings – Don Orsillo

Don Orsillo is the Red Sox play-by-play announcer for NESN.

Growing up in Madison NH, Orsillo dreamed of being a broadcaster for the Red Sox. In 2001 that dream became reality as he became the NESN Red Sox voice. His very first game that season was a no-hitter by Hideo Nomo. Since 2005, Orsillo has been calling all local Red Sox TV broadcasts. In 2007 he began working during the postseason for TBS, and the Boston Globe reported earlier this year that the network has tried to recruit Orsillo on a full-time basis.

Orsillo got his start as a baseball play-by-play announcer for the Pittsfield Mets of the New York-Penn League during the 1991 and 1992 seasons. In 1993, Orsillo moved to Binghamton, N.Y., to do play-by-play radio and television for the Binghamton Mets of the Double-A Eastern League. While with Binghamton, he had the opportunity to serve as a commentator for the nationally syndicated 1994 Double-A All-Star Game.

During the 1991-1996 hockey seasons, Orsillo was the play-by-play radio and television voice for the Springfield Indians/Falcons. He hosted “Inside the Indians,” a weekly live television talk show and was the analyst for the 1994 AHL All-Star Game.

During the 2009 season, analyst Jerry Remy was sidelined for much of the season while battling cancer, and Orsillo had to adjust to numerous broadcast partners throughout the season, the Providence Journal in a feature on Orsillo from May lists out 23 different analysts who worked with Orsillo during that season.  The experience left many viewers with a new-found respect for Orsillo and his abilities as a broadcaster.

Don Orsillo 2011 Approval Ratings
Total Votes: 1366 Started: August 3, 2011 Back to Vote Screen
  • yerfatma

    Needs a "meh" option.

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    As a bonus, he can also fly a commercial airliner if all three of the pilots had the fish.

  • brian

    Approve – has grown considerably in the role since his flat monotone call of Nomo's no-hitter in his debut. Has done fill-in college hockey work for NESN in the past few years and is a good play-by-play hockey announcer as well. You get a sense of how good he is when you listen to an out-of market announcer through the MLB Direct package and hear how bad they are in comparison. If I had to mark anything against him, it would be when he and Remy get the giggles over the stupidest things and it carries over for a few at-bats.

  • Lance_

    I like him. Appears to not take himself too seriously and knows how to have a fun time which is rare in the local media.

  • Winning_

    Approve, makes the game extremely enjoyable and personal for watchers/listeners. I agree that when listening to out of market announcers, you really get an appreciation for Orsillo. I did like Sean McDonough, and was sad to see him leave but I cannot complain with Orsillo.

  • bill

    can't stand him if he didn't have a media guide in front of himto read from wouldn't know what to say.never engages remy in strategy talk,should the infield be in,should they start the runners etc.i believe because no matter how many games he has announced dosen't know srategy.he is awful and boring.

    • Patrick

      I bet his grammar is better than this though.

  • Paul

    He does a radio play by play. I can see when a batter swings and misses, you don’t have to tell me. It seems that Remy is talking a lot less and DO is talking more, mostly stats from the media guide.

    Now that Sean McDonough is back doing baseball on ESPN, watch a game he does and then watch DO on NESN. You will see the difference.

    DO seems like a nice fellow…but I would rather have him as a neighbor than my TV play by play guy. NESN should grab Dave O’Brien and give EEI Orsillo (although I am not sure ESPN would approve that trade.

    • dan

      You are so right about him and the radio pbp style. And another anoying aspect of his game calling is his obsession with always saying what the pitch count is when we already see the graphic on the corner of the screen.

  • Paul

    He does a radio play by play. I can see when a batter swings and misses, you don’t have to tell me. It seems that Remy is talking a lot less and DO is talking more, mostly stats from the media guide.

    Now that Sean McDonough is back doing baseball on ESPN, watch a game he does and then watch DO on NESN. You will see the difference.

    DO seems like a nice fellow…but I would rather have him as a neighbor than my TV play by play guy. NESN should grab Dave O’Brien and give EEI Orsillo (although I am not sure ESPN would approve that trade.

  • Peter

    Approve. For those that criticize Orsillo, you should live in another market for a month or two and watch their play by play teams. I have done this on 3 different occasions and I miss Don and Jerry every time I do it. He is professional yet funny. He has great chemistry with Remy which isn't easy to do given that Rem Dog can be cantankerous sometimes. He has a good knowledge of the game and knows when to shut up and let Jerry speak. NESN clearly knew what they had in Don when they let that pompous jackass McDonough walk away. I also like when Don and Jerry laugh so hard they can't speak. The game is supposed to be fun. If my friends and I are at a game and a guy grabs his girlfriends boob on TV of course we are going to laugh uncontrollably. That is what I want in my announcers too. The media these days is too stuffy and boring. Don is certainly not that.

  • Funkhouser

    He's harmless enough, even if he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer as he thought that a solar eclipse was when the sun passed between the earth and the moon. Yikes! I could take a few less of his and Remy's giggle fits but he's a decent enough PBP guy. APPROVE!

  • SnuffySmith

    DO is great, and he and Remy are the best team in baseball. I absolutely hate it when FOX and ESPN (better now without Joe Morgan) bring in their hacks to replace DO and JR.

    And, Remy is much better now that he not trying to sell everything in his briefcase during the game.

    It's great that they don't take things or themselves too seriously. The boob squeeze in the stands was a few weeks ago was too funny. It took both of them right out of the game. If you missed it, visit YouTube.

  • Doc Michaels

    I don't think DO is anywhere near "great" — he's serviceable, but seldom if ever interjects an opinion. Personally I find him vanilla, but obviously there are far worse out there, he's got a good voice and seems to be a good guy. He does work well with Remy but I get tired of their "hilarious antics" when they spend a couple of innings laughing at an in-joke or something that has nothing to do with what's going on.

    Overall I'm tired of the Remy-Orsillo combo and the whole NESN Sox announcing crew could use a shake up — but I know I'm in the minority.

    • Winning_

      D.O. is the play by play guy. Historically, they don't interject with an opinion. Think of sum of the greats, Vin Scully, Pat Summerall. I don't recall too many interjections. Even Mike Gorman doesn't inteject his opinion that often, he leaves it to Tommy. I'm not saying you have to like him, but just understand what is required of him.

      • Doc Michaels

        I do understand what's required of him. In this day and age I expect more than an announcer to say "ball hit to first, he's out" and then 30 seconds of silence until the next batter comes up. Most nights that's what you get out of DO, nothing less and usually nothing more. I do find it stale and other guys in this town whether it's Mike Gorman, even Jack Edwards, bring more to the table than Orsillo does.

        I agree totally there are worse, but IMO the Red Sox muzzled him from trying to do anything like McDonough did and that's ENGAGE the viewer, engage Remy, etc. In many ways that's not on DO, because when he's ever filled in on EEI or elsewhere, it's jaw dropping to hear him express an opinion or any point of view whatsoever about what's going on during the game.

    • dan

      You are not in the minority. Most people I know think Orsillo is a bloated robot. He is a NESN tool and that is why he is there and McDonough isn't. McDonough would criticize the team and Don never has. That is why Sean is not there because he has pride and a mind of his own.

  • JimmyHook

    I agree with the commenter searching for a "Meh" option. I approved because I don't think he's terrible, but he's certainly mediocre. The Monday night Sox game was available on ESPN in this market and I much preferred McDonough over him. Don's canned calls after walkoffs and milestones are very weak. He may be better than some announcers in other markets, but can't compare to the upper echelon of MLB announcers. In Boston, we deserve better than him. But he's perfect for this ownership because he's a company guy who will never criticize the team.

    • Winning_

      Name one play by play guy employed by the team that will harshly criticize their own team that employs them. Joe Buck will never say a bad word about the Cardinals, Tommy Heinsohn will never say a bad word about the Celtcs, and you will not hear John Sterling ever utter anything remotely bad about the Yankees!

      • JimmyHook

        I never said “harshly.” I merely said criticize. Sean McDonough would always call out a Sox player for lack of hustle. He did so with Manny for failing to go to first base on a grounder to the pitcher. It’s one of the reasons they let him go. I don’t see a need for Remy to go, but they already have a replacement for D.O. in-house. Dave O’Brien on Sox radio. Great pipes, his calls don’t sound rehearsed, he’s a local guy like Don. Like I said, I don’t think he is bad. I think he is average and we deserve better.

        • todd

          Get your facts straight. NESN wouldn't pay him the $5,000 per game he was demanding 10 years ago, not to mention first-class air travel he insisted on when not flying with the team. Dissing Sean McGrail didn't help, either.

  • Peter

    Do those that say DO and Rem Dog are mediocre or "serviceable" then come up with their replacements. I dare you to name two other commentators from other networks around the country that could do a better job. Lord knows they put what NY has to shame. If your going to make such comments have the balls or suggested resolution to back them up. If you don't your just blowing smoke.

    • Scott

      Eckersley would be a great replacement for Remy. I think it would benefit Orsillo as well. Remy appears to be coasting at this point. He seems to tell the viewer what happened but rarely tells you what to expect. Listen to him after every time the ball is in play—he tells you what happened and rarely with real insight. Remy seems jealous of todays player salaries, as evidenced by his swipe at Mike Lowell. If you wanted to replace both, someone mentioned Dave O'Brien—he could work with Eck.

      • Larry Krasner

        I'm really enjoy Orisllo and am OK with Remy. Any time you hear one person so often they do tend to get repetitive; it's unavoidable. That's why I like the Sox announcers better a couple decades ago when they had four announcers, one team for road games and one for Femway. They one that aggrevates me about Remy is his incessant "you knows." Count them sometime. It's staggering. And a sign he hasn't thought through his answer before starting to talk.

    • Larry Newburyport

      I would take a BUM off the street before I would take Orsillo..He is the worst and most ANNOYING,MORONIC announcer ever…any other announcer is 100 times better than him!!!!

  • MurbsSox

    Not having been privy to Sean, I have grown to like the DO-Remy combo. DO has his flaws, but when you listen to other combos, you can appreciate this pairing. The only question is if this is his last year with NESN.

  • Clint Tyree

    DO is fine. Sean McD. was/is a much better play-by-play guy in baseball (and other sports as well.)

    Good interplay with Jerry.

    Approve, but would rather have Sean McD back in the play-by-play chair.

  • JohnnyApps

    Don Orsillo is boring and bland. He's the typical company Yes man. Would never dream of criticizing or questioning the players or management. Too much fake laughing with Remy. Sean McDonough is 10x better and never should have been let go.

  • B Dub

    Sean McDonough wanna be but no where as good. That said, he doesn't have any douche chilling moments like Sterling or Kay, and doesn't distract or take me away from the game which is all I can really ask for.

    Loves to read what is already on the screen such as every at bat stats. Please stop Don. I can see a batters Avg. Hr's, and RBI's.

  • NNNNN

    Even as a Yankees fan, I can appreciate his calling. He clearly loves his sox but doesn't homer the place up. Others, above, have commented about "going to another market and missing him" — concur here. This is one of not many things that NESN gets, instead of the "public access" feel most of their other stuff has.

  • Florian Hall

    Approve! He calls a good enough game and has never crashed into me, left me in pieces and skeedadled until his Daddy could call in enough favors to cover his butt.

  • NASCL

    If you leave the game on the tube, boring enough to possibly make you fall asleep during hot sex with a Brazilian supermodel.

    Competent, yes. Considering that turd Jack Edwards is his NESN counterpart, I have commissioned Height 4 Hire to give him a meek thumbs up.

    "Approve." Barely

  • latetodinner

    I understand the "meh" sentiment towards DO…I don't agree with it as I think he is actually quite good as a play by play guy…but i get it…he has a very even delivery, shows little emotion and over time it can almost be melodious. I think DO's real problem is that Dave OB might be the best play by play guy in the country right now at both baseball and football so to have a several night a week side by side comparison to him is difficult.

    As for his chemistry with Remy, I think DO's even temperament allows Remy to not grate on the viewer. I also think DO's talent really shined through when Remy had the cancer and DO was forced to carry rank amateurs like Frank Viola, Rance Mullinis and Greg Zaun. DO knows his role, unlike a lot of media people in the market, and he does not try and be something he isn't.

    • Doc Michaels

      DO was better when he was forced to carry those guys than he is most nights with Remy. I think you make a good point, in that I think he relies on Remy too much when they're together, doesn't try to do anything other than call the basic play and rehash the stats everyone can see on the screen. Those gaps of silence I mentioned — perhaps that's on Remy and not DO for saying anything. Either way, I know he's not bad, and there ARE far worse in the country, but he is bland to me in his call of a game.

      O'Brien is such a better announcer on every level, you wonder if some day they would find a way to get him in the broadcast booth because it seems a waste to have him relegated strictly to the radio calls.

  • tl;dr

    I love how sunburned he gets during Spring Training. Hey, Don did you fall asleep by the pool or did you pass out?!

  • Yeeeesh

    Of course we all yearn for the days of Ned Martin, but DO is just fine (better than fine). My primary complaint is that sometimes he seems to be in a hurry to transfer all the media guide information on each player, when I think he could work the information in more casually during conversation with Remy. I, for one, do not miss Sean McD — toward the end I found him grating and pompous (like Joe Buck).

  • dan

    I hate Borsillo. Every now and then I think I'm listening to McDonough. McDonough was the best! The Sox never should've dumped him for a cheaper McDonough clone.

  • dan

    Don is suchy a poser too. I remember he was doing commercials with the World Series ring on acting like he was part of the actual team. Total jerk move.

  • Larry Newburyport

    Typical Orsillo comment goes something like this: Michael Young last year led the league in hits with 221 a year ago!….see what I am talking about?….he says the SAME
    thing TWICE in the same comment on a REGULAR basis….Last nite after Carrera loaded the bases,he said "Scutaro is up now with the bases loaded"……he is a REPEATING machine! dictating to us continually what the inning is,how many outs in the inning and what the score is…..not to mention the pitch count….He is the WORST and most annoying EVER! he is not a professionall announcer……Dave O'Brien,Gary thorne,now they are top flight announcers……for those who somehow like Orsillo I don't understand how they can……..I find his opening monolouge each game humorous with him telling us 10 times that the game is from Fenway,what the weather is,whose pitching,and so on……its really laughable…..
    Remy tells us the same thing that Orsillo tells us after the team scores a run….listen for yourself……I cant stand either of them….FIRE orsillo please?

  • BIlly Bob

    disapprove, Yawn Orsillo is a big bowl of vanilla. take a drink each time Don says "carved foul", "down by way of the K", "in the backdoor from 3rd comes __", "doesn't throw to either venue", "the dirt of the track" "bill of the cap high" . dude is a cliche machine

    he's a harmless company man…which is why he has the job…easy on the eyes too for the ladies

  • Tony

    I like him. I'm used to him now. Yes, Sean McDonough is better, but McDonough really lost me and made me start rooting for Orsillo when McDonough went on a local radio show the year after he was let go by NESN and spent about 10 minutes taking thinly veiled shots at Orsillo. That was classless.

    As someone else has pointed out, Orsillo really did a good job in 2009 when Remy was out sick and he had to juggle so many different color commentators. The other thing about Orsillo is that he clearly is a baseball fan, as evidenced by the fact that he constantly talks about "west coast games" that he watches after he gets home from calling a Sox game all night long. That's a good quality to have, I think, if your job is to be a baseball announcer. I wonder how many regular play-by-play guys do that?

  • teddyballgame

    Orsillo isn't offensive, I agree. But isn't that the point? Not much in the way of charisma there. He never takes a stand on anything. And as someone pointed out, Orsillo's calls lack originality. I also agree the Red Sox already have one of the best play by play guys in the country, doing radio. Dave O'Brien is great, and NESN would be smart to move him in to TV with RemDawg.