Jerry Remy Returning To Red Sox Telecasts – Not A Good Idea

It’s not easy to write this.

I think it is a big mistake that Jerry Remy is returning to the Red Sox broadcast booth on NESN this season. I understand why he is going to do it, and why he feels he needs to do it. I don’t begrudge him that decision at all. The problem I have here is that this should not have been his choice to make.

Remy announced yesterday in an emotional, tearful session with the media that he had decided to return to his job at NESN this spring, following his son’s arrest last year for the brutal murder of the mother of Remy’s granddaughter.

I don’t have a single doubt that Remy is sincere and completely heartbroken over the situation. By all accounts, he is a sensitive, thoughtful man who has had to struggle mightily through the last few seasons even before this situation came up. Battles with cancer and depression have cut into his time on the network, and forced NESN to scramble for fill-ins.

Remy insisted yesterday that he would be able to go back to doing his job as he’s done in the past. “I’m going to be myself.  That’s what I’ve always been. I don’t see how else I can do it. If I didn’t think I could be myself, I wouldn’t do it. I hope that doesn’t come off as insensitive. It may to some, but it’s the only way I know how to do my job. He (Don Orsillo) asked me that same question 45 minutes ago and I gave him the same answer. I said, “We’ll take it as we always do. The game is most important, first of all. Anything that flows off the game, you go with it.” If people think that’s insensitive, I’m sure I’ll hear about.”

Both Remy and NESN are fooling themselves if they think things will be able to just go back to normal. This isn’t going away. It’s going to be a very high profile case. There will be updates, both through the media, and to Remy personally. If something more comes out during the day, will Remy be able to go to the park that night and banter with Orsillo like everything is OK?

When asked about the inevitable media blitz around the trial, Remy said “It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. There is going to be more stuff to come out. There’s going to be a trial in October which will probably be pushed back. I think it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen.”

It would seem that the trial being held at the earliest in October would be a reason for Remy feeling that he could come back for this season, at least. If the trial were to be held in say, June, I doubt he would be coming back at this point in time.

It’s going to be impossible for many viewers to listen to Remy this season without thinking of his family situation. It’s not fair, but when he jokes around and engages in his banter with Orsillo, some are going to object to that. At least one member of the Martel family has already said it will be tough to hear Remy in the booth.

As mentioned earlier, Remy has had a difficult few years, health-wise. Despite the battle with lung cancer, he’s still smoking, and how is the strain of this added emotional burden going to impact his mental and physical health?

Remy seems to maintain that it would be worse for him to be stuck at home and not working. He said “I can’t sit there. I just can’t sit in my chair. I’ve been there long enough already. I’ve got to be busy. I’ve got to do something to preoccupy myself. I need to do something I enjoy.”

Perhaps getting back to work, getting into the old routine is something that can put Remy into a comfort zone for himself, but I don’t think it can last. Eventually, I think the questions, the criticisms are going to get to be too much.

I often hear from viewers who say that Remy’s performance in the booth isn’t what it once was. It’s hard to argue that. Couple that with the health and emotional issues, and now this, it just doesn’t seem like this is the right move, for Remy or for NESN. He wanted to quit before, when those issues were fresh. Can he plow through this unaffected? I have serious doubts.

Reading through the media stories and the interviews on Remy, it seems that most of the local media are circling the wagons around Remy, thoughts such as “Remy deserves a chance to rebuild his life.” or that “Jerry Remy is part of the fabric of the Red Sox.” The Voice Of Boston Sports, invokes the Kennedy assassination when writing about the laughter in the booth being gone. Steve Buckley seems to be the only one saying that perhaps this isn’t a good idea. I think if the others really cared about Remy as a person and friend, they would tell him that he’s making a mistake.

This just cannot end well. In my opinion, NESN should’ve taken the decision out of Remy’s hands. He needs to be saved from himself. I feel for the man, and do not wish for him to have to suffer publicly in this manner. While this is the path he has chosen as his career, Jerry is 61 now. These should be his golden years. He should have many more years ahead of him, but I fear that continuing in the public eye like this will deprive his family of his needed presence (Remy said they’re trying for custody of their granddaughter) more quickly than if he were to try and find something else to do.

I don’t want to see that happen.

NESN’s Red Sox Playoffs Coverage Plans

NESN has announced their plans for coverage of the Red Sox in the American League Divisional Series.

Here is the release:

October 3, 2013 – NESN, the official home of the Boston Red Sox, will deliver wall-to-wall Red Sox coverage across TV, web and social media throughout the playoffs. On TV, NESN will provide one-hour of pre and post-game shows and special coverage each night on NESN Sports Today. On NESN.com there will be live blogs, up-to-the minute reports, videos, and photo galleries. On social media, NESN will feature in-game updates on Facebook and Twitter along with extensive stories, photos and videos.

NESN’s ALDS pre and post-game coverage for Red Sox home games will originate from the network’s Yawkey Way stage and feature studio host Tom Caron (@TomCaron) along with Red Sox legend Tim Wakefield and Hall of Famer Jim Rice. Reporters Jenny Dell (@JennyDellNESN) and Adam Pellerin (@AdamPellerin) will have the inside scoop from the players and coaches on the field and in the clubhouse before and after each game.

“The Red Sox have captured the hearts and minds of New England sports fans this season by winning the Division and finishing the season with the best record in the American League,” said Sean McGrail, NESN’s President and CEO. “NESN will provide more Red Sox playoff coverage than any other network and deliver real-time updates across NESN.com and social media to all of Red Sox Nation.”

NESN’s vice president of programming & production, executive producer, Joseph Maar added “NESN’s experts have been with the team all season long and provide Red Sox fans the most comprehensive and knowledgeable pre and post-game coverage in the region.”

NESN televised 147 of 162 Red Sox games this season averaging a 7.3 household rating, which ranks as the 5th highest regional sports network rating in the country. NESN’s playoff coverage will be available to over 4 million homes throughout New England and nationally on NESN National to an additional 5 million homes.

NESN’s ALDS Soxtober Schedule Highlights

Date

Time

Program

Friday, October 4

2:00 PM

Red Sox GameDay LIVE

6:00 PM

Red Sox Extra Innings LIVE

Saturday, October 5

4:30 PM

Red Sox GameDay LIVE

8:30 PM

Red Sox Extra Innings LIVE +

Monday, October 7

TBD

Red Sox GameDay LIVE

TBD

Red Sox Extra Innings LIVE

Tuesday October 8

TBD

Red Sox GameDay LIVE

TBD

Red Sox Extra Innings LIVE

Thursday October 10

TBD

Red Sox GameDay LIVE +

TBD

Red Sox Extra Innings LIVE +

+  = on NESNplus, visit www.nesn.com/NESNplus to find the NESNplus channel in your area.

See also: CSNNE Announces Red Sox Postseason Coverage Plans

NESN Announces Hiring of Three Production Executives

From NESN a few minutes ago:

NESN’s Vice President of Programming & Production/Executive Producer Joseph Maar recently announced the addition of 3 new production executives to the NESN staff as part of the network’s commitment to  growth and innovation.

Howard Zalkowitz has joined NESN as Director of Production/Sr. Coordinating Producer with oversight of live games and pre/postgame shows.  He most recently served as Vice President of Production at Turner Sports where he supervised remote and studio shows. In his nine years as an executive with Turner, Zalkowitz oversaw content and production for the network’s MLB, NBA and NCAA Tournament coverage. He was responsible for hiring NESN’s Don Orsillo as an announcer for Tuner’s postseason MLB coverage.

Jim Daddona has been hired as NESN’s Coordinating Producer, Red Sox Baseball. He is a veteran sports television industry producer/director who has worked for ESPN, NBCSN, HDNet, NCAA Productions, and Kraft Sports Production among others.

Denny Iott has joined NESN as Coordinating Producer of News including daily oversight of NESN Sports Today. He was most recently at FOX Sports Detroit where he served as Director of Production overseeing studio shows covering all four major professional teams in Detroit.