For the second time in recent weeks, the Sox have made an off the field move that is a bit of a head scratcher. First, they brought in Dave Dombrowski to be President of Baseball Operations, which led to Ben Cherington walking away from the team. Granted, Dombrowski is a well respected baseball mind. When someone like that becomes available, it's generally a good idea to get him on your team. But, Ben was pretty well-respected as well. He won a World Series just two years ago. So, while you can understand making the move, it's sort of fixing a problem that didn't really exist...if it existed at all.
The Sox just did it again, with another Dave. This time they pegged Dave O'Brien to replace Don Orsillo as NESN play-by-play guy. Just like with Dombrowski, the move makes sense when you consider that O'Brien is one of the best play-by-play men in the county. But, so was Orsillo. So, once again, even if you consider the move an upgrade, it's an upgrade that wasn't really necessary.
Frankly, I would have understood the move more if NESN went in another direction completely. If instead of replacing Orsillo with another pro, they went for a shtick guy. A wild entertainer full of catch phrases and antics. At least I could say they felt they needed to go in another direction to increase viewership. It would be disappointing and wrong, but it would be a reason. This one just seems like a move for a move. Just like the other Dave.
Or, maybe it's what people have been begging for all along. It's frustrating to me when people go on and on about fixing the culture in the clubhouse, but you can't get rid of Pedroia. He's the heart and soul. Ignoring the fact that he's apparently the heart of a team that has finished last more often than it has finished first since he's been on the team. Do the Sox need a change, or not? The same, to a much lesser degree, applies in this case. People don't like the "culture" promoted on NESN. How tone deaf are they, people tweet, to keep playing an "Everything is Awesome" ad? They need to stop acting like mediocrity is OK. They need to change things up. So, they did...and everyone threw a fit. If it wasn't the on-air talent, what were people complaining about?
Now, to be fair, I haven't watched NESN in years. But, I have listened to games on the radio. So while I don' know exactly how often Don talks about mittens on air, I don't remember O'Brien doing it. In fact, I remember him stopping things like that. Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano used to have this continuous gag going where a player with a name like "Trout" came up, and they would declare him a member of the "all-fish" team, and continue on forever naming other members of that team. Tim Salmon, Mike Carp. It happened with all sorts of names and teams. "all-cities" "all-presidents" "all-fruit" It was endless. I remember when Dave first broadcast with Joe. Joe started the gag by saying a player was a member of one of those teams. Dave responded with an "uh-huh."
Again, I don't know how much of a change this will be. But if you're looking to change the way a team is portrayed, the way people think about the team, the way it enters someone's consciousness...the play-by-play guy is a decent way to start.
So, for everyone who begged the Red Sox to fire everyone. To change the culture. To make it about baseball again. Careful what you wish for. The Red Sox listened.
Pedrioa might be next.
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