Report: This is Don Orsillo's last season

tomdeplonty

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This is a matter of taste, right? I liked Orsillo. He was affable, called the game competently, and didn't draw attention to himself. He did a good job making some of the awful fill-in color guys, that he sometimes had to work with, less excruciating to listen to. He was good with Remy (whom I don't care for much) and great with Eck.
 
If this means I like vanilla pudding, I'll own it. So what?
 
O'Brien will make a fine replacement. But I'm worried about who they'll replace him with on the radio (I typically listen to about as many games as I watch). And I don't like the way NESN treated Orsillo. I think his competence and professionalism warranted better treatment than a "see ya!" from NESN.
 

InsideTheParker

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geoduck no quahog said:
 
 
Things were good. The Red Sox had a first-rate team for TV and radio. Now this NESN guy wants to fuck it all up because he has a small penis. The executives should know that you can't bring someone from the upper midwest to a real market without courting disaster. I suspect this guy Maar came real cheap and has been trying to make a name since he got to Boston.
I believe it has been pointed out that he's had a successful career at ESPN. 
 

MakeMineMoxie

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E5 Yaz said:
One of the things that made Ned Martin great was that he didn't strive for "greatness." The question about memorable calls misses the point. Memorable calls aren't what make a great local baseball announcer. What does is a combination of knowledge (of the team and the game), companionship (do you like having the guy around) and, for lack of a better term, wearability. Ned simply didn't wear out his welcome. He never tried to inject more into the moment than what was in front of you, and that's a welcome trait over 162 games. Even Martin's signature moment -- the Rich Reese popup to Rico -- invited the listener in to share in the experience ".. and there's pandemonium on the field ... listen!" Nothing he could have said after that would have outshone the moment.
 
In general, I'm disappointed in the idea of getting local announcers who try to bring a national-game atmosphere to, say, a midweek midseason game against the Mariners. What made Orsillo and Remy work at their best was that they knew it was a long season and, sometimes, their silliness and exhaustion paid off. 
 
 
 
Quote from John Marzano Olympic Hero #293

"I think that what makes TV play-by-play guys so good, especially for baseball teams, is that they have a habit of fading into the background. Baseball isn't like other sports where there's wall-to-wall action every second or it's an event that only happens 16 weeks out of the year. Baseball is an every day thing that begins in April and ends in September (for the local dudes) if you're trying to make a June Sox/Twins game sound exciting, then you're trying way too hard and you're not doing your job. In fact, I think that every person you listed would agree with that. 
 
The thing is that if the Sox win a June game on a grand slam homer in the bottom of the ninth with two out and two strikes, yes, that's incredibly exciting and it's awesome. But the reality is, there's another game tomorrow. And one the day after that. And the day after that. Most of the biggest in-season wins gets forgotten."
 
Well said. This is what makes Vin Scully so good.
 
I'll miss Don & even some of the silliness (and I don't think Remy will be around too much longer, either) and from what little I've heard of O'Brien, I think he'll be good.  What worries me is that NESN will try to make the broadcasts 'edgy' and 'controversial' like ESPN & I can't imagine anything that would get me to cancel my MLB EI package quicker.
 
Edit: to credit quote to JMOH. I fail at the Internet today.
 

kiljiggly

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The Petition to Keep Don Orsillo is now over 18,000 supporters.  This article notes 2014 viewership was 114,000 per game and declining.
 
To a layperson, this seems a significant turnout.  For those who'd know better - Is there a different way to interpret this data?
 
What volume, if any, catches the attention of the execs at NESN and/or FSG?  I can't imagine they'll walk something like this back, but there has to be hand wringing at some point.
 

JimBoSox9

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Almost nothing.  The point of announcing DOB in response to the leaks was to rip off the band-aid.  It'll get worse before it gets better, and the social media pressure on NESN to not suck so bad is great, but there's no reversal happening here.
 

brs3

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E5 Yaz said:
One of the things that made Ned Martin great was that he didn't strive for "greatness." The question about memorable calls misses the point. Memorable calls aren't what make a great local baseball announcer. What does is a combination of knowledge (of the team and the game), companionship (do you like having the guy around) and, for lack of a better term, wearability. Ned simply didn't wear out his welcome. He never tried to inject more into the moment than what was in front of you, and that's a welcome trait over 162 games. Even Martin's signature moment -- the Rich Reese popup to Rico -- invited the listener in to share in the experience ".. and there's pandemonium on the field ... listen!" Nothing he could have said after that would have outshone the moment.
 
In general, I'm disappointed in the idea of getting local announcers who try to bring a national-game atmosphere to, say, a midweek midseason game against the Mariners. What made Orsillo and Remy work at their best was that they knew it was a long season and, sometimes, their silliness and exhaustion paid off. 
 
No, this isn't a huge crisis. I think if most people stepped back for a moment, they'd admit they're probably more upset at the timing and manner of the decision than the actual change itself.
 
I think this is spot on, especially the bold part. I don't really object to DOB taking over...and part of me is ready for a younger former player to step in for Jerry Remy. It just wasn't handled well at all. It's a cherry atop a shit sundae of a season. 
 

Lose Remerswaal

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kiljiggly said:
The Petition to Keep Don Orsillo is now over 18,000 supporters.  This article notes 2014 viewership was 114,000 per game and declining.
 
To a layperson, this seems a significant turnout.  For those who'd know better - Is there a different way to interpret this data?
 
What volume, if any, catches the attention of the execs at NESN and/or FSG?  I can't imagine they'll walk something like this back, but there has to be hand wringing at some point.
 
This has 0.00% chance of working.
 

kiljiggly

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Lose Remerswaal said:
 
This has 0.00% chance of working.
 
Oh I totally agree, didn't mean to insinuate otherwise.  
 
Maybe to ask another way - has the response been greater than expected, and if so, does it put added pressure/risk on the folks who made this decision?  Or is the sense that this type of response was anticipated and they just need to plow through it?
 
bankshot1 said:
Change for change sake is overrated.
Sounds like someone at NESN wanted to swing some dick.
Dick.
 
IMO DO was pretty good, called a good game and seemed like a real good guy. His chemistry with Remy (who i can imagine can be a PItA) was very good, they had a nice partnership that mostly worked. And the fall-out/next step will be an interesting development.
 
fwiw i was more upset when Ned got heave-hoed on radio.
 
One of the darkest days in Boston sports. Unlike this situation, Ned Martin & Jim Woods were perceived as THE best pairing in radio at the time. Public outrage ensued. Bringing back Martin on TV with Hawk Harrelson didn't come close to replacing those five golden years that were 'Ned and Jim.'
 

Lose Remerswaal

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kiljiggly said:
 
Oh I totally agree, didn't mean to insinuate otherwise.  
 
Maybe to ask another way - has the response been greater than expected, and if so, does it put added pressure/risk on the folks who made this decision?  Or is the sense that this type of response was anticipated and they just need to plow through it?
 
No.  In a country where you can have Donald Trump leading polls for President, there is no number of people wasting time signing an online petition that would surprise anyone with half a brain in their head
 

MuzzyField

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Maar is 3-years into his tenure at NESN. What exactly has he done to improve the network other than continue to miss on attempts to fix what may be the worst non-game RSN schedule on the planet?
 
Maar’s arrival also seems to coincide with my pet peeve about Sox game coverage, the dropping of the score bug except when a pitch is being thrown.  This is very NOT helpful during 3 minute replay reviews. I’ve noticed Maar’s prior stops in Minnesota, Milwaukee and at ESPN haven’t adopted this brilliant contribution to live sports production.
 
The irony of all of this is that Don played the role of affable company man that Sean wouldn’t and this is how John Henry shows his appreciation.  
 
The staffing of the booth isn’t the problem; the clubhouse and front office are the real reasons ratings for Sox games are soft… the team sucks.
 
DO and Remy may be having their best year together.  Remy reengaging in the games has been surprising and very much welcomed.  You combine that with Don becoming more of an equal in the booth due to Jerry’s health leaves and I’m left wondering why Maar is putting so much effort into fixing shit that isn’t broken.
 

MuzzyField

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runnels3 said:
 
One of the darkest days in Boston sports. Unlike this situation, Ned Martin & Jim Woods were perceived as THE best pairing in radio at the time. Public outrage ensued. Bringing back Martin on TV with Hawk Harrelson didn't come close to replacing those five golden years that were 'Ned and Jim.'
Very True.
 
Most of my images of 1975 are the vivid pictures they painted in my head. We didn't get TV-38 on my cable system in CT until 1978, so WTIC and Ned and Jim were the only way I could follow the games.  I'm starting to feel the need to break out the turntable and spin me some Super Sox of 75.
 

NortheasternPJ

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MuzzyField said:
Maar is 3-years into his tenure at NESN. What exactly has he done to improve the network other than continue to miss on attempts to fix what may be the worst non-game RSN schedule on the planet?
 
 
It's amazing this is a typical daily lineup:
 
5-9 - NESN Sports Update (20 minutes)
9-12 - Paid Programming
12-2 - NESN Sports Update (again!)
2-4 - Racing Car Shows, Maybe a Liverpool game, World Tennis
4-6 - Sox in 2
6-11 - Red Sox 
11-12 - Dining playbook with Billy & Jenny
 
What exactly is Maar's job? Outside of fully baked products: the Red Sox (Sox in 2) and NESN Sports Update repeating 300 times a day, the content sucks, with a Liverpool game or a shitty ass show thrown in. 
 
Does he just deal with sponsors all day? Call comcast and try to get more fees out of them? 
 
At least on CSNNE they have: Sports Tonight, Early Edition, Quick Slants, SportsNet Central in addition to T&R, Felger and Mazz, Celts and Bruins. 
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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 Because it was a Fox game?
 
Dude can't even remember what broadcast team was doing one of the most iconic games in Red Sox history, but he wants to us to accept as evidence his lack of recall of iconic lines by Orsillo? Okey-dokey, artichokey. 
 
Hey Zink, do you remember what Orsillo had to say when Pedro threw Zim to the ground?
 

rlsb

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Gowdy was an all time great from the golden era of announcers, no doubt about that.   Martin did PBP for 31 years and McDonough for 16 years.  Honest question, how many great calls do you recall from them?   
 
I'm also assuming that you aren't on the DOB bandwagon, because he is just a slightly different flavor of vanilla. 
I'm too young for Gowdy's Red Sox days, but as for Martin, well, actually, there is pandemonium here sometimes in these threads.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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the1andonly3003 said:
what are the chances NESN address this on the telecast tonight?
 
They've done a press release formerly announcing the change.  Unless Orsillo isn't going to finish the season, I'd wager we're done hearing anything from NESN about it until the last game of the year.
 

NortheasternPJ

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
They've done a press release formerly announcing the change.  Unless Orsillo isn't going to finish the season, I'd wager we're done hearing anything from NESN about it until the last game of the year.
 
Don Orsillo should present to himself a token of gratitude from Red Sox Nation ala Jeter, Mariano, Pedro etc.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Orsillo gets a bad rap for being "too vanilla". He was vanilla, as he was supposed to be and was hired to be, but he was definitely sprinkled with some interesting. 
 
Orsillo is a funny guy who wasn't afraid to look bad in order to be funny. 
 
I'll miss stuff like this.
 
"Donny Kid" in the outfield, tries to make a diving catch.
 
Orsillo takes questions from kids.
 
Announcer Boy wrestles Tito.
 
Orsillo takes batting practice.
 
As for his memorable calls, what memorable calls has Dave O'Brien made on the radio? That Joe C. gets free food from Shaw's? Guess what, during the long season, most announcers talk a lot about non-game stuff. Sometimes it's awkward and weird. To me, O'Brien is more vanilla than Orsillo. He's pretty good, but he's not memorable or exciting, and not exactly Eckersley when it comes to calling guys out. That's fine, he doesn't have to be, and TV play-by-play guy is an outdated, kind of pointless role where you should not be calling a lot of attention to yourself.
 
O'Brien will be all right. Kind of bland, not many memorable calls, no hot takes (which is good.) Will joke around from time to time with the other guy. Kind of like Orsillo but with less humor, without the immediate chemistry with Remy, and who hasn't shown he can make it work with a bunch of random people next to him like Orsillo has.
 
This was a pointless move that didn't have to be made. It's not exactly the end of the world, but it wasn't needed, it's just some corporate douche showing off his "power." So Orsillo is down by way of the douche.
 

Laser Show

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The Gray Eagle said:
Orsillo gets a bad rap for being "too vanilla". He was vanilla, as he was supposed to be and was hired to be, but he was definitely sprinkled with some interesting. 
 
Orsillo is a funny guy who wasn't afraid to look bad in order to be funny. 
 
I'll miss stuff like this.
 
"Donny Kid" in the outfield, tries to make a diving catch.
 
Orsillo takes questions from kids.
 
Announcer Boy wrestles Tito.
 
Orsillo takes batting practice.
 
As for his memorable calls, what memorable calls has Dave O'Brien made on the radio? That Joe C. gets free food from Shaw's? Guess what, during the long season, most announcers talk a lot about non-game stuff. Sometimes it's awkward and weird. To me, O'Brien is more vanilla than Orsillo. He's pretty good, but he's not memorable or exciting, and not exactly Eckersley when it comes to calling guys out. That's fine, he doesn't have to be, and TV play-by-play guy is an outdated, kind of pointless role where you should not be calling a lot of attention to yourself.
 
O'Brien will be all right. Kind of bland, not many memorable calls, no hot takes (which is good.) Will joke around from time to time with the other guy. Kind of like Orsillo but with less humor, without the immediate chemistry with Remy, and who hasn't shown he can make it work with a bunch of random people next to him like Orsillo has.
 
This was a pointless move that didn't have to be made. It's not exactly the end of the world, but it wasn't needed, it's just some corporate douche showing off his "power." So Orsillo is down by way of the douche.
THIS GAME IS TIED THIS GAME IS TIED

of course that's the exception that proves the rule. Orsillo doesn't get to do playoff games.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Laser Show said:
THIS GAME IS TIED THIS GAME IS TIED

of course that's the exception that proves the rule. Orsillo doesn't get to do playoff games.
Great point, that was a great call, but like you said, Orsillo never got to call a Red Sox game that important.
 

Laser Show

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The Gray Eagle said:
Great point, that was a great call, but like you said, Orsillo never got to call a Red Sox game that important.
Yea, just felt the need to point it out because reading the bit about DOB not having any memorable calls was a bit jarring.
 

soxhop411

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“@GordonEdes: According to a source, Orsillo was told the decision to bounce him was unanimous.”
 

timlinin8th

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The Gray Eagle said:
Orsillo gets a bad rap for being "too vanilla". He was vanilla, as he was supposed to be and was hired to be, but he was definitely sprinkled with some interesting. 
 
Orsillo is a funny guy who wasn't afraid to look bad in order to be funny.
He gets hell from a lot of people for his corny catchphrases as well, but with his self-deprecating humor, I've heard him make fun of those same signature calls many times.

Its hard to find broadcasters that don't take themselves too seriously. He was professional without selling himself up. Thats a tough thing to find.
 

Harry Hooper

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soxhop411 said:
“@GordonEdes: According to a source, Orsillo was told the decision to bounce him was unanimous.”
 
What was the purpose of making this comment to Orsillo? In case the dagger missed the artery the first time?
 
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Unanimous among whom? It's very difficult to image a group of intelligent people unanimously deciding to move on from Orsillo at this juncture, but I should know better than put anything past Sox/NESN management.
 
O'Brien might be a marginal upgrade to baseball broadcast purists; I doubt he's enough of an upgrade to justify the jarring nature of this move while the team is already at a low point. I've seen nothing to suggest that he possesses a sense of humor, which was Don's saving grace--when the team sucked, or when NESN was self-important, or when Remy was indifferent, Don could at least be counted on to keep things light. 
 

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nothumb said:
Before Don goes, can he throw out a "fakes to third, fakes to first, doesn't throw to either venue" just for old time's sake?
 
My favorite is "without much room with which to work with"
 

Sprowl

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The odd thing about the timing is that I think most would agree that Orsillo and Remy have been at their best this season, after the extended fishing holiday that was 2014. With the exception of the stultifying booth guests (for whom NESN, not Orsillo, should  be blamed), they've been sharp, baseball-focused and good humoured in an ill-humoured season. If Orsillo and Remy had both been turfed after last year, I wouldn't have had any objection.
 
Maybe it was Don's sonorous chant of NESN that set off management, which just goes to show that they have no sense of humour.
 
We need to know the names and pictures of each of the unanimous decision-makers to give them the roasting they really deserve.
 

Dick Pole Upside

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The Gray Eagle said:
<snip>
 
... So Orsillo is down by way of the douche.
 
soxhop411 said:
“@GordonEdes: According to a source, Orsillo was told the decision to bounce him was unanimous.”
 
This whole thing is frustrating to me, and I feel badly for Orsillo.  I really enjoy him as PBP, as I mentioned earlier.
 
As much as Don is well-compensated and probably loves being the Sox announcer, if your boss doesn't want you on the team, your boss doesn't want you on the team.  It sucks, it feels shitty, a boatload of people disagree, but... your boss doesn't want you on the team anymore.  So there's just no way he should WANT to return the way this has played out with these jerkstores running the show.  It stinks and it sucks and it stinks and it sucks, but he'll realize that the guy making the call just didn't want him around anymore.
 
That blows.
 
All the more reason to applaud and celebrate his professionalism as he closes out the season.
 

yeahlunchbox

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As much as I like O'Brian, the David Ortiz, David Ortiz call as always bugged me. Maybe it was just a coincidence but it always seemed a ripoff of the Bergeron, Bergeron call that came 5 months earlier.
 

cornwalls@6

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A harmless, mostly innocuous PBP guy had a good 15 year run, and now they decided to move on and try someone else. It will have zero impact on my interest in the club one way or another. I'm scratching my head over the reaction from so many on social media, who say he was a major reason they tuned in, and his firing may keep them from watching going forward. Huh??
 

Average Reds

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Harry Hooper said:
 
What was the purpose of making this comment to Orsillo? In case the dagger missed the artery the first time?
Taking the heat off Maar and stopping an effort to go above him before Orsillo could even get started.

It does make me understand why Orsillo decided to leak the entire thing with a pre-emotive strike of his own.
 

biollante

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The Red Sox and NESN continue to stumble around in the dark looking for the light switch.
 
They really need to have announcers with accents ~ all these flat voices drive me crazy. It may be one of my favorite things about Remy.
 

ForKeeps

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cornwalls@6 said:
A harmless, mostly innocuous PBP guy had a good 15 year run, and now they decided to move on and try someone else. It will have zero impact on my interest in the club one way or another. I'm scratching my head over the reaction from so many on social media, who say he was a major reason they tuned in, and his firing may keep them from watching going forward. Huh??
 
I feel the same as you, and I think the vast majority of it is perfunctory outrage. People will forget about this in a week.
 

dirtynine

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I'm worried mostly about the radio broadcast.  Castiglione is a friendly voice who needs some help to carry the production these days.  O'Brien has been a stable, professional presence.   I don't want a return to the Glenn Geffner days. 
 

24JoshuaPoint

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Echo most of the comments. Strange timing; nothing to gain, chance of replacement being a huge downgrade.  Always seemed like a great person and loves his work. The last time i ran into him was at the casino for the red sox thing this past winter. He was out just greeting people; asking where they were from, talking about anything. He didn't come off like someone who put his happy face on just because he had to be there. Simply a nice guy.
 

jscola85

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I don't understand this move at all.  How can Orsillo cause "unanimous" disappointment among NESN brass?  The guy is not exactly Keith Olbermann in terms of personality.  Abrasive is pretty much the antithesis of his personality, in fact.  He is a local guy doing a dream job and he did it well enough that national broadcasters like TBS want to use him for their playoff games.  He's fairly upbeat, never trashes the players or organization, and has a great rapport with Remy and Eck, the color guys.  He's vanilla, yes, but in that lovable, kookie uncle who smiles and hugs all the time and brings you chocolate bars whenever you see him even though you're 35 years old.
 
Seriously, what is not to like about the guy?  Much as I like Dave O'Brien for the radio, I think he's far better on the radio and for more serious situations like playoff series or nationally-televised games.  For 162 games, you need someone a bit goofy and willing to lighten up.  That is most certainly not O'Brien.
 

Toe Nash

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Average Reds said:
Taking the heat off Maar and stopping an effort to go above him before Orsillo could even get started.

It does make me understand why Orsillo decided to leak the entire thing with a pre-emotive strike of his own.
Except he didn't, unless you have information to contradict Finn above.
 

Dotrat

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Harry Hooper said:
 
What was the purpose of making this comment to Orsillo? In case the dagger missed the artery the first time?
Well, it will probably convince most of us who aren't already convinced that Tom Werner is an idiot all of whose pre-NESN show-biz successes were utter flukes and/or dumb luck.
 

joyofsox

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Not a fan of Orsillo - I have been using the "ballpark sound" option when watching for the last two seasons - but I wasn't calling for his head either. (It's really Remy I cannot stand.)
 
One thing I respect Orsillo for is his (complete?) refusal to gossip about players in the news and to not get on a soapbox and moralize about the game, its players, and history. He never pompously tells us How The Game Should Be Played. (His self-deprecation is also refreshing.) Focusing on the game on the field is actually pretty rare in an announcer - and it is one of Orsillo's strongest qualities. 
 
From what I have heard of Dave O'Brien, I can't say the same thing about him. He's not Bob Costas, but DOB does seem a little too much in with his own thoughts. 
 

Ferm Sheller

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I like both Don and Jerry and think this move sucks.  With all of the turnover among "visible to fans" people in the organization, it would be nice to have continuity somewhere.  Seems like the broadcast booth, which has no bearing on team performance, would be the place to have it.