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Red Sox’s Matt Barnes Pushes For Don Orsillo Back In The NESN Booth

“Thank you @mattbarnesRHP my friend for thinking of me. I am good to go in 2022 with my @Padres.”

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If it was up to Boston Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, Don Orsillo would return to the NESN broadcast booth to call games.

On Thursday, Barnes did an Instagram Live session from Florida Gulf Coast University, where several Red Sox players are working out since major-leaguers are locked out of team facilities. (Gulf Coast is in Fort Myers, Florida, where the Red Sox train, but Chris Sale is also an alum.)

During the live video, a fan asked Barnes whom he’d like to replace the late Jerry Remy in the Red Sox TV broadcast booth. (Remy passed away last October after a long off-and-on struggle with lung cancer.) Barnes immediately answered that he’d like the team to bring back Don Orsillo.

That would surely be enormously popular with Red Sox fans, who probably felt Barnes was speaking for them with that answer. Orsillo was let go by NESN after the 2015 season, following 15 years with the team. The network decided to hire Dave O’Brien as its TV play-by-play voice and didn’t renew Orsillo’s contract. It was a baffling decision, not just because of Orsillo’s popularity but because there was seemingly no reason for NESN to make the move.

Orsillo eventually landed with then-Fox Sports San Diego to call San Diego Padres broadcasts, a position he still holds and figures to for years to come. However, Orsillo is in the final year of the six-year contract he signed with now-Bally Sports San Diego. If Barnes knew that, his suggestion was particularly savvy.

Upon hearing of Barnes’s endorsement, Orsillo said on Twitter that, while flattered, he’s very happy with the Padres. (Is a new contract on the way?)

Besides referring to his current team as “my” Padres, Orsillo may also have indicated his true feelings on the situation by liking a tweet that said the Red Sox (or NESN) “blew it” by letting him go.

Barnes probably wasn’t thinking of this, but to get nerdy (or “well, actually”) about it, Orsillo likely wouldn’t take Remy’s role as analyst anyway. Dennis Eckersley is expected to move up to lead analyst on the Red Sox broadcasts with O’Brien remaining on play-by-play. And as popular as Orsillo was, and baffling as his dismissal was, O’Brien is an excellent broadcaster who certainly deserves to continue in his role.

Sports TV News

Cris Collinsworth Wonders If Tom Brady Knows Broadcasting Is a Hard Job

“It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised.”

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Many in the sports media industry were surprised by the news that Tom Brady will join FOX Sports as the lead NFL analyst when he eventually decides to end his playing career. That includes the current lead analyst of NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecasts, Cris Collinsworth. 

“I’m a little surprised,” he said on the latest episode of The Cris Collinsworth Podcast. “There’s no amount of money they could throw at him that would have influenced him. He’s going to still be working weekends for half the year no matter what it is.” 

Collinsworth mentioned that he hears from most people and they ask him what the TV life is like when they are thinking about getting into the industry. Tom Brady was not one of those people. He hopes the GOAT knows what he is in for.

“It’s hard. I’m working on the airplane when I’m flying home from the other game. I’m working on the next game. It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised. I guess the money now has gotten to the point where it’s of interest to everybody.” 

While some might be unsure about how Brady will do in the FOX NFL booth with Kevin Burkhardt, count Collinsworth in as one of those people who think Brady will do a great job.

“I think he’ll be fantastic. Every conversation I have ever had with him about the game of football, you always go oh, I didn’t know. He’s always been pretty open and honest with us. He has a real personal side to the game…He’s got it all, but I’ve got to say I am surprised.”

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Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up On ESPN

“Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers.”

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The first month of the 2022 MLB regular season has concluded and ESPN is celebrating an uptick in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball.

The network announced on Tuesday that viewership for Sunday Night Baseball is up 4% compared to this time last year. In addition to that, compared to the 2020 full season average, ratings are up 40%.

Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers. The Dodgers/Cubs game on May 8 averaged 1.781 million and peaked at over 2.1 million viewers during the 8-8:15 p.m. window.

Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone comprise the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth, with Buster Olney contributing reports.

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Nickelodeon Gets Christmas Day NFL Game

“This will be the network’s first regular season game.”

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The NFL’s Christmas triple header will include a little slime this year. The afternoon game between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will be simulcast on CBS and Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon has ramped up its NFL presence each year since 2020. The network has aired a kid-friendly broadcast of a Wild Card Round playoff game each of the last two seasons. Last year’s tile between the 49ers and Cowboys drew an audience of 41 million.

Before the start of last season, the studio show NFL Slimetime debuted. This will be the network’s first regular season game.

Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm Eastern on Christmas Day. No details of what Nickelodeon’s coverage may include are available yet. Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green have been on the call of the network’s previous NFL broadcasts.

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