While awaiting the righting of the Red Sox shaky ship, I have two complaints that ostensibly don’t have anything to do with their current baseball struggles, tho on reflection, maybe there is a connection.
First, Touring Fenway:
I wrote a couple of years ago (A Modest Proposal) that I thought the Fenway Park tours were sadly lacking, and the one at the Nationals’ new park in Washington was far superior.
Therefore, I was delighted when Jere Smith of the good Sox blog A Red Sox Fan from Pinstripe Territory, alerted me to a Red Sox announcement that there was to be a new, improved tour beginning this, the 100th year, of Fenway.
So with delight and anticipation, and with Jere and my wife Ellen, last weekend I took the ‘new, improved’ tour.
It was worse than the previous one.
Granted it was a game day and so there we weren’t allowed in the Visitor’s Dugout, in the Visitor’s locker-room, nor anywhere near the field (even tho it was covered by a tarp and almost no one was around). Plus, it was drizzling, and the tour group ($18 a person) was huge, thus making it slow moving through the Fenway.
Fortunately, Bill, unlike the former tour guide, did not waste time making fun of the Yankees (as our guide did previously). However, he was not very informative. He seemed to be going through the motions of introducing us to Fenway. As on the previous tour, his portable microphone-box didn’t work very well, and he had to shout most of the time. You’d think that after spending more than $250 million to upgrade Fenway since the new owners took over they could spend a few more dollars on a speaker system that actually works.
There was so much we didn’t see, hear about, or visit, that the only saving grace of the tour was that we were with Jere, who seemed to know more about the park than did the paid Fenway tour guide.
He, and the second guide (who rushed us along from behind), gave me the feeling we were intruding and that we should be thankful for the ‘honor’ of just walking around Fenway and for receiving the few morsels of information they offered.
Second, NESN, Jerry Remy, & Don Orsillo:
When I don’t have the opportunity to attend a Sox game, I follow them on MLB.com, where in High Definition I can see almost every game.
My problem is with the Red Sox announcers Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo, the duo that provides commentary and analysis of the game. Or at least that’s what they are supposed to do.
Mostly, however, Orsillo, obsequiously, asks Remy about his last night’s dinner, his struggles on getting to the park, what each of them is wearing, and numerous other personal trivia that is tiresome and irrelevant.
Remy seems bored to me and is boring in his role, even tho he seems to be a favorite of the Red Sox Nation. Orsillo, who perhaps has much to offer, allows himself to play second fiddle to Remy, and the two of them waste so much time and are so weak as play by play announcers that I’m surprised there have not been more complaints about NESN’s broadcasts.
What really drove this home the other day was when the Sox were playing an away game, and by mistake, I clicked on the link for the broadcasters from the home team.
Nothing but terrific analysis and commentary on the game. Not only did I enjoy watching the game, I learned something in the process about the players, the plays, the game in general, etc.
According to the Red Sox, Jerry & Don have done more than 1,417 games together, including 1,337 regular seasons games, 670 at Fenway.They have spent more than 2,345 hours broadcasting together in the NESN booth.
Maybe that’s the problem. Too long and too comfortable in their job.
It’s time for some fresh voices, broadcasters who are not so comfortable and who do not feel they’ve seen it all, broadcasters who understand their role is not to talk about themselves but about what is going on on the field.
Until that happens, no more Remy and Orsillo for me.
If it is not too much to draw a generalization from the two ‘rants’ above, it seems to me that one of the things haunting the Sox is that folks associated with the team, organization and park that I have loved for the past 60 years believe that they are more important than the game and the park itself. They seem to feel we should be thankful for the opportunity to visit Fenway and listen to what they have to say.
Well, Fenway & NESN powers that be, the folks you have representing you are simply out dated. Every other park I’ve visited, tour I’ve taken, and broadcast I’ve listened to have representatives that are more alive, more informative, and more fan friendly than the ones you have.
Wake up call Red Sox. Your Official Tour Book says “Fenway Park: It Never Gets Old.” The reason? You’ve continually updated Fenway to the benefit of everyone. Except for those mentioned above.
Throw ‘da bums out.