Friday, August 28, 2015

Bob Lobel: I Can Definitely Relate to Don Orsillo

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

Dave O'Brien and Dennis Eckersley will make a really good announcing team. 

Actually, Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy were a really good announcing team.  

Larry Lucchino made a really good  person to have in charge of rebuilding and fixing what needed to be fixed. Larry is quietly gone, which is odd because there was nothing quiet about him when he was here. One thing that didn’t need to be fixed was the Red Sox broadcast team on NESN. The rest of the station, labeled by many as the worst in New England, is what needed to be fixed.  

Tom Werner is the one in charge of that. How is that working out for you? Tom put up lots of money to get in bed with John Henry. Now, Henry and the limited partners need someone to take charge of their television investment (worth more than the team and ball park, by the way). 

It seemed natural that the only guy with any television experience was Tom.  

After all, he was a very successful builder of shows… The problem with that is, just because you can put talent in story line situations, people think you know all you need to know about television. Truth is, the knowledge of a packager of television shows is on par with selling and delivering sets to consumers. Fixing sets is a step above. Assembling writers and creative minds is part and parcel with hiring talent. 

It's pretty well documented that Roseanne Barr and Bill Cosby are the two at the top of Werner's resume. 

Lucchinno's absence moved Werner into the decision making position he coveted. My sources tell me Werner wanted Orsillo and Remy gone a while ago. Who knows about the timing. Perhaps no thought went into the timing.  

Doesn’t sound like Orsillo was expecting this. So, why now, if ever? I do speak with some experience. 

When Channel 4 was being purged of anybody and everybody about eight years ago, there were enough surprises for a lifetime. 

People were crying in the newsroom. People like Scott Wahle and Joyce Kulhawik were axed. I was totally surprised on that Black Friday, when I had my little meeting in the GM's office, that both he and the news director were pulling the plug. These two guys may have known a lot about television, although I have no proof either way, but both had recently arrived from Minnesota, and television there ain't like television here. 

Alas, both of those guys have moved on and the damage has been done. 

I tell you this story because getting fired in public brings its own dread. When you think you're doing a good job for your organization but are told that, even if you are, they need to move on, it's jarring to the psyche in a big way. 

Certainly, if you  have been through it, you can relate to Don. Plus, Orsillo had a special place for Remy, who needed friends and loyalty.  In my mind, this was by far Remy's best year of analysis. The one-word question is the one word people are asking me about this Red Sox front office debacle; WHY?  

I guess you have to ask those who really know, and that is a small sample of one. And he is not, nor will he ever, talk  about it. The announcing teams for the Red Sox have become as close to the fans as most of the players. Ned Martin, Ken Harrelson, Ken Coleman, Curt Gowdy… Plenty more to add as well, to the extended family of Fenway. 

Working without a net can be just as treacherous as you imagine. 

It's so much worse when you’ve earned the net, only to learn it has been removed by strangers from another land. 

The lesson here is, if at all possible, don’t work for somebody, and instead be your own boss. I know that’s easier said than done.

Finally, he may break his silence soon, but so far Don Orsillo has risen to the level we all expected of him.  In this business, praise and public admiration, or getting punked for that matter, gives us all a choice of which road to take.  

Let’s face it, Orsillo and the Red Sox have revealed, to one and all, who they really are at the core.   

We should all get the lesson here. Find the core inside you and there will be no surprises. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. 


Doreen Kibildis said...

Well said, Bob! We generally don't know what goes on behind the scenes (as in when Channel 4 was purged all those years ago). But we, as loyal fans...both of Red Sox and of Don and Jerry (and that includes the former Channel 4 team as well), do NOT appreciate it when someone we've come to know so well is axed for no good reason, seemingly. The team of Don and Jerry WAS a team, and as much as I really like Jerry, the two were as cohesive a team as I've ever known. That is so valuable.. whether someone new to the organization made the wrong decision or whether it was someone who has been here for some time. I tend to think that it has to be someone new to Boston, however, thinking they needed to make a change. One suggestion? Start by getting some good, QUALITY players, pitchers in particular! Stop changing one of the few things that work, and then how about doing their jobs by making improvements to the Red Sox team?

Oh, and one bit of advice? Don't get rid of your only quality players (I'm thinking of Pedroia here, although I THINK he at least has a long-term contract) while trying to improve the team!) In other words, STOP COMPOUNDING YOUR MISTAKES!

Fenway said...

Bob - here is the problem as I see it.

If NESN was a national cable outlet then going with Obie and Eck ( or Steve Lyons ) would be the correct call but NESN is a local outlet.

Werner doesn't understand that.

Anonymous said...

Bob, You were one of the best ever. We enjoyed your reporting for many years when my wife and I lived in Exeter, NH. In 2006 we moved to Maine and were unable to get channel 4 anymore. Again, good people are let go from their work without just cause and we know you were along with many others.

Doug Dicey, Kennebunkport, Maine

annieb said...

Big fan of Bob from way back in the 'BZ glory days.....#SaveOrsillo Please join members of the facebook group, Don Orsillo & Jerry Remy Fan Club, on Monday night at Fenway Park. We will be protesting this travesty and hope to attract lots of media attention. You can also follow us on Twitter @dojrfanclub. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

First off Bob - Applecreek is alive and well! Well said sir. I often would catch a game from another market on MLB network and say to myself - thank God we have Don & Remy. They were insightful and warm and had the ability to sprinkle in just the right amount of humor without taking away from the game. The ownership has forced a series of dreadful product schemes upon The Nation and it is time THEY leave don't ya think? Sign me Doylestown

Mary Z. said...

Well said Bob. I followed you for a long time on 'BZ so I know you speak from experience on the comings and goings of on air talent.I think it is such a shame to have unqualified people in charge of these decisions. I know Don will get a good gig, but still won't be the same for the listeners.