I'm going to preface this by saying one thing: nothing will EVER replace Don and Jerry in the NESN booth. The combination of Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy amused and entertained Red Sox fans from 2001 through 2015. A few moments during their tenure can be described as nothing other than magical.
Remember the pizza?
Or, a certain "interaction" between two fans?
Hell, even opening a window was funny with these two.
For the 2016 season, NESN decided it was time for a change. They announced that radio announcer Dave O'Brien would be switching over to the TV side, and Don Orsillo would no longer be a part of the broadcast. Fans, including myself, were absolutely devastated by the news. Red Sox ownership was skewered on social media by the fans:
...and so on (there were a lot to pick from).
To make matters worse, the other half of the broadcast booth, Jerry Remy, has battled cancer on-and-off for years now, with his latest remission happening this season.
Through all of the heartbreak, the misery, and the god-awful NESN broadcasts, one ray of sunshine has peaked its way through the clouds, and has turned the tide on the Red Sox television presence.
Say it with me folks...IT'S TIME TO PARTY!
That's right, Dennis Eckersley should be getting WAY more credit than he does right now.
Yes, he's a little bit quirky. Yes, it can seem like he's trying to be "one of the boys" when he uses some of his unique baseball slang. It's so unique, in fact, that Bleacher Report put out a "Webster's New World Ecktionary" back in 2009 (this thing is a beauty).
But if Jerry Remy can't be the regular voice in the booth anymore, and history tells us that he probably won't be, I only have one question.
How could you NOT want Eck?
Two reasons to love him? You got it.
ONE: he always says what's on his mind, no matter what. This actually leads to some very intelligent color commentary, especially when it comes to breaking down pitch selection and pitching mechanics. It can also lead to moments like this:
Way to tell it like it is, Eck.
But seriously, the primary goal of a sports television broadcast is to entertain. If the games were on TV solely to show the game itself, then there would be no need for broadcasters in the first place.
It's very rare to find a ex-player-turned-broadcaster who can successfully possess knowledge of the game, an engaging personality, and command of the English language. As bad as the team is, that's why the Mets always have one of the best baseball broadcasts on television.
The Sox have finally found a prospective successor to Jerry Remy, who had all three of those qualities, and it's Eck.
Oh, that's right. TWO: HAVE YOU LISTENED TO THE OTHER OPTIONS NESN HAS???
I'm sorry, I love Jonny Gomes for what he did for the Sox in 2013. He was a sparkplug off the bench, and contributed some of the season's biggest hits. But when your color guy is getting the this kind of hate...
...why would you keep trying?
Between him and Saltalamacchia (spelled without looking it up I swear), the booth was a complete snooze fest.
Even Steve Lyons, who has been a professional in the business for years, can only provide so much in terms of entertainment.
Here's the bottom line: Keith Hernandez isn't walking through that door anytime soon looking for a job with the Sox, and the Orsillo bridge has been thoroughly torched beyond repair. As far as the Red Sox broadcast is concerned, you can't get much better than Dennis Eckersley as your main color guy, end of story.