SBD/January 28, 2014/Media

Emotional Jerry Remy Announces Return To NESN After Family Tragedy

Questions remain about Remy's return to the Red Sox broadcast booth
An "emotionally devastated" Jerry Remy yesterday announced he will return to NESN's Red Sox broadcast booth this season, "five months after his son was arrested for murder," according to John Tomase of the BOSTON HERALD. Remy yesterday spoke to several reporters at NESN's studios, "pausing frequently to compose himself and swallowing hard to avoid tears."  He gave a "wide-ranging 35-minute interview," discussing the "fate that likely awaits his son, how he arrived at the decision to return, and whether he’ll be able to maintain his affable screen persona." Remy "spent most of the last five months assuming he wouldn’t return to the booth," but at the "urging of his wife, Phoebe, and three close friends, he began to reconsider after the holidays." Remy: "Some of these things started to resonate a little bit with me. I’ve never been a quitter, and I don’t intend to be one now. I’ve been in professional baseball in some capacity for 40 years. It’s what I do. It’s what I know." Tomase notes the question Remy "wrestles with -- and the one broadcast partner Don Orsillo asked him in a meeting yesterday -- is whether he’ll be able to return to the airwaves as the Rem Dawg, a sardonic jokester who banters easily and can keep even a lopsided game entertaining." Remy: "I don’t see how else I can do it. If I didn’t think I could be myself I wouldn’t do it. I hope that doesn’t come off as insensitive. It may to some, but it’s the only way I know how to do my job" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/28).

A RETURN TO NORMALCY: Remy acknowledged there likely will be people "who will be very upset with me, and I'm sure there will be people that are happy I'm coming back." Remy: "I have no way to predict right now what the response is going to be. ... I know one thing: I work for very smart people here at NESN and with the Red Sox. If the response is overwhelmingly negative, they'll take care of it." In Providence, Brian MacPherson notes by making the announcement now, a "little more than a month before NESN broadcasts its first Grapefruit League game from Fort Myers, Fla., Remy said he hopes to focus solely on baseball when he resumes his work" with Orsillo (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 1/28). He said that he "would not address his situation during the Red Sox' first broadcast this season, acknowledging that the reason he was speaking now was to hopefully prevent it from being a story in spring training" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/28).

IS COMING BACK THE RIGHT MOVE? The BOSTON HERALD's Tomase notes it will "undoubtedly be difficult" for Remy to banter with Orsillo, as he has "done so effortlessly for nearly three decades." But Remy "deserves the right to try" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/28). But in Boston, Dan Shaughnessy in a front-page piece writes it is "hard to imagine Remy and Orsillo once again talking about wardrobe problems, rogue taxi drivers, and room service gone awry" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/28). Also in Boston, Steve Buckley writes Remy "has every right to go back to work." Buckley: "But should he? No." Looking into Remy’s eyes is seeing someone "whose life has been thrust into chaos in the aftermath of the events of Aug. 15." But to watch a Red Sox game on NESN this season, and "to see and hear Remy engage in his famously upbeat and entertaining banter" with Orsillo, it will "be difficult not to think of that brutal murder, difficult not to speculate about the trial" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/28).
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