The Red Sox are down to the final 10 games of their season, which means Don Orsillo is down to the final 10 games of his 15-season run as the play-by-play voice of the team on NESN.
The network’s decision to replace the popular Orsillo with Dave O’Brien next season generated extraordinary local backlash when the story broke Aug. 25. Fans are certain to give Orsillo a warm sendoff at Fenway during the disappointing season’s waning days.
But those who aren’t satisfied with the explanation for the decision — team chairman Tom Werner has told other media outlets that the Orsillo-for-O’Brien swap was made to “reenergize” the broadcast — can take solace in an emerging truth.
Career-wise, Orsillo may end up in a sunnier place.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the San Diego Padres are aggressively pursuing Orsillo for a significant role with their television broadcast team on Fox Sports San Diego.
Orsillo has spoken with the Padres about a long-term contract that includes an opportunity to broadcast some national games for parent company Fox Sports.
The Padres possibility makes sense. Dick Enberg, a broadcasting legend who currently calls Padres games, is 80 years old and announced Wednesday night that 2016 would be his final season. It’s uncertain how Orsillo would fit in next year if he lands in San Diego, but Enberg already works a reduced schedule — he’ll call in the vicinity of 140 games this year.
Former Red Sox executive Mike Dee is the Padres’ president and CEO. Orsillo has long had Dee’s respect, and Padres owner Ron Fowler is also said to be a fan. The downside to a move to the West Coast is a personal one. Orsillo has two daughters from a previous marriage, and he lives in Smithfield, R.I., now to be close to them.
According to Orsillo’s agent, Brad Blank, other franchises (one is believed to be the Dodgers) have shown interest in hiring the broadcaster. ESPN also has reached out. But the Padres possibility is the clear front-runner. A deal is unlikely to be official until around Oct. 4, when the Red Sox season ends and Orsillo can turn his attention toward considering the possibilities.
“Don has drawn a lot of interest, and San Diego has been incredibly gracious, but there are elements to any deal that still need to be sorted out,” said Blank. “We’re not popping the champagne bottles just yet.”
Credit to the Boston Globe who originally published this article
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Miami Marlins Continue Broadcast Changes, Drop J.P. Arencibia
The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida.
After announcing last week that Miami Marlins play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner wouldn’t return to the booth next year, the club continues to make changes. J.P. Arencibia won’t return as an analyst for the club in 2023.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Arencibia was informed he will no longer work on either the team’s television or radio broadcasts next season. The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida. It was his first season as a television analyst. According to Jackson, the reason for Arencibia’s departure is “unclear”, adding a reason “was not offered”.
The club will continue to use a rotation of analysts in 2023, with Jeff Nelson, Gaby Sanchez, Rod Allen, and Tommy Hutton working in the booth.
Arencibia was brought on for the 2022 season after the Marlins dropped former Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth from the clubs televisions broadcasts after the previous season concluded.
Rebecca Lobo Signs Extension With ESPN
She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.
ESPN and Rebecca Lobo have signed an extension to keep the women’s basketball legend with the network.
Lobo joined ESPN in 2004 as a WNBA and women’s college basketball analyst. She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.
“I am thrilled to continue doing what I love, calling women’s basketball games,” said Lobo. “It is an honor to be a part of the soundtrack for the games played by these incredible female athletes.”
Lobo had a storied career at UConn before winning an Olympic Gold Medal. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
“Rebecca is one of the best in the business. She excels on both game coverage and studio coverage,” said Patricia Lowry, ESPN Vice President, Production. “Her knowledge, history, and passion for the game and its growth continue to make us better. She is a true asset and a highly valued member of our team.”
ESPN Reaches Extension To Remain Home of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
“It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year.”
ESPN and the International Federation of Competitive Eating have agreed to a deal that will see the network remain the home of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on the 4th of July.
The Major League Eating contest has aired on the network since 2004. The new contract will see the event take place on ESPN through the 2029 event.
“You can’t beat the spectacle that is the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest,” said ESPN Director of Programming & Acquisitions John Suchenski. “It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year. It has had memorable moments over the years, and we’re ecstatic that many more will be on our platforms for the foreseeable future.”
The event has risen to prominence during its tenure with the Disney-owned network, seeing the rivalry between Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut grow into one of national prominence. The rivalry even sparked an ESPN documentary on the subject. Chestnut has grown into an American celebrity for his performance during the contest, winning his 15th mustard-yellow belt in 2022.
“We’re thrilled to extend our agreement with ESPN and ensure that viewers will continue to join in this great July Fourth tradition. ESPN is a fantastic broadcast partner and they capture the spirit of the event perfectly.”