Please. No more. You’ve cussed on air. You’ve jinxed potential no-hitters. You’ve refused to expand your third-grade vocabulary. You’ve made it genuinely difficult to listen to an entire Red Sox game on television.
Even Tim McCarver is laughing at you. Poor Justin Masterson is still waiting for an apology for your confusing his namesake with a well-known verb for autoeroticism.
Face it. You’re just not cut out to be sitting in a broadcast booth for a full nine innings. The Red Sox play a lot of long games and you lack the requisite stamina. Sure, you’ve gotten some national gigs for TBS in the past, but consistently providing insightful color analysis in a two-man booth isn’t for everybody. Take a cue from your brilliant pitching career and go back to closing out game broadcasts with your short, energized spurts of post-game analysis. Tell your NESN bosses you’re out of gas.
You often become noticeably annoyed by relief pitchers who refuse to throw fastballs down the middle of the plate during mop-up duty and non-save situations. You’ve apparently forgotten that these guys are pitching for their livelihood, facing professional hitters constantly trying to pad their stats. Some of these guys could hit a home run out of Dodger Stadium with half a swing of the bat. (Sorry, we didn’t mean that, bear with us.)
Your chemistry with play-by-play man Don Orsillo is unnatural—if not blatantly rife with unspoken tension. At first you were a novelty. It was cute the way you continuously used words like cheese and paint and salad over and over again. But poor Don has increasingly had to carry you to the finish line, leading you with questions about pitching in which you might respond with something intelligent, all the while keeping a cupped hand close by in case he has to muffle your latest F-bomb.
It must be tiresome for Don to hide his frustration as you struggle through reading mid-inning promotions, often sounding like a high schooler who forgot to take his Ritalin before English class. This is not meant to disparage you. We all get it. Any youngster with a talent to throw a baseball like you did would have had, at best, a casual relationship with phonics.
Please do not worry about us viewers. As NESN awaits the return of Jerry Remy, Orsillo can do his best Vin Scully and man the booth alone. Orsillo already boasts some experience as a solo act, namely when Remy renders himself speechless during one of his classic, tangential giggle fits. Not that we’ll ever complain about Remy again…
Absence makes the heart grow fonder and Remy’s time off as he recovers from cancer has certainly made us all appreciate his consistent presence over the last 20 years. We long for a five-minute tirade about the inability of today’s players to execute a proper sacrifice bunt. We yearn for an explanation of how middle infielders decide who will cover second base in the event of a steal attempt. Heck, we’d be downright giddy to hear him predict yet another hit-and-run with Jason Varitek at the plate. We simply took for granted those little insights, too often tritely griping about Remy’s forced self-promotion of a persona contrived by publicists and marketing execs.
Now, karmic forces have left us with you, Dennis Eckersley. Please do not take this as ingratitude. Dave Roberts wasn’t exactly Bob Uecker in the booth, either. But let’s just say we won’t be too disappointed if you decide you want to head back to the Oakland A’s should a job opening become available. For old time’s sake, maybe the Coliseum will even blare George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone as you make your return.