If it was up to Boston Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, Don Orsillo would return to the NESN broadcast booth to call games.
On Thursday, Barnes did an Instagram Live session from Florida Gulf Coast University, where several Red Sox players are working out since major-leaguers are locked out of team facilities. (Gulf Coast is in Fort Myers, Florida, where the Red Sox train, but Chris Sale is also an alum.)
During the live video, a fan asked Barnes whom he’d like to replace the late Jerry Remy in the Red Sox TV broadcast booth. (Remy passed away last October after a long off-and-on struggle with lung cancer.) Barnes immediately answered that he’d like the team to bring back Don Orsillo.
That would surely be enormously popular with Red Sox fans, who probably felt Barnes was speaking for them with that answer. Orsillo was let go by NESN after the 2015 season, following 15 years with the team. The network decided to hire Dave O’Brien as its TV play-by-play voice and didn’t renew Orsillo’s contract. It was a baffling decision, not just because of Orsillo’s popularity but because there was seemingly no reason for NESN to make the move.
Orsillo eventually landed with then-Fox Sports San Diego to call San Diego Padres broadcasts, a position he still holds and figures to for years to come. However, Orsillo is in the final year of the six-year contract he signed with now-Bally Sports San Diego. If Barnes knew that, his suggestion was particularly savvy.
Upon hearing of Barnes’s endorsement, Orsillo said on Twitter that, while flattered, he’s very happy with the Padres. (Is a new contract on the way?)
Besides referring to his current team as “my” Padres, Orsillo may also have indicated his true feelings on the situation by liking a tweet that said the Red Sox (or NESN) “blew it” by letting him go.
Barnes probably wasn’t thinking of this, but to get nerdy (or “well, actually”) about it, Orsillo likely wouldn’t take Remy’s role as analyst anyway. Dennis Eckersley is expected to move up to lead analyst on the Red Sox broadcasts with O’Brien remaining on play-by-play. And as popular as Orsillo was, and baffling as his dismissal was, O’Brien is an excellent broadcaster who certainly deserves to continue in his role.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts
“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.
“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.
“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”
Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC
“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”
Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.
“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”
Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”
FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.
USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.
The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.