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Remy where he wants to be

Red Sox analyst is a perfect fit

The negotiations, said Jerry Remy, took all of 15 minutes.

''Last August, Sean McGrail [NESN president/general manager] asked me to consider a contract extension," said the Red Sox analyst, who was going into the final year of his contract. ''We finally sat down over the winter and agreed on the basics in no more than 15 minutes."

The result: a five-year extension that will keep Remy in the NESN booth through the 2010 season.

McGrail said it was a no-brainer.

''He's a fixture in New England and most likely the hardest-working guy in baseball," said McGrail. ''We wanted to make sure he was going to stay with us."

Remy left little doubt that's what he wanted, too.

''This is where I want to be," said Remy, who has broadcast more than 2,300 Sox games in his 18 years in the booth. ''The longer I do it, the more I enjoy it."

How much?

''When it's over, I'll miss this more than I missed playing after I retired," he said. For younger members of Red Sox Nation, Remy, who grew up in Somerset, had a 10-year major league career, including seven seasons at second base for the Red Sox (1978-85) and a trip to the All-Star Game.

''I'm happy where I am," he said. ''This is where I want to finish. I'm a local guy. It's where I was brought up. We've established a lot of goodwill. I'd be foolish to do anything else."

Remy didn't start out to market that goodwill, but he now has a website (www.theremyreport.com), plus RemDawg's hot dog stand, the RemDawg line of merchandise, and endorsement deals with Miller beer and Modell's Sporting Goods.

''Everything has come to me," he said. ''It's all been a natural spinoff."

It started with the website, the idea of longtime friend John O'Rourke, who has continued to run the site and streamline its operation. This season, traffic has doubled on the site, with 3,000 visits on a slow day and up to 12,000 on a busy one. In addition, another 4,000 visit the message boards.

Remy sold out his All-Star party at Fenway Park (1,000 tickets at $135 each) in advance and ''next year, it will be even bigger," he said. ''The .406 Club will be remodeled and the Sox can accommodate even more of us."

''None of this would have happened without John," said Remy. ''Nor without Trisha Saintelus-Curtis running the message board."'

Remy points to the talent he's worked with in the booth: Ned Martin, Bob Kurtz, Sean McDonough, and Don Orsillo. But he adds, ''The people behind the scenes -- [producer] Russ Kenn, [director] Mike Narracci, and [associate producer] Adam Jupiter -- make it fun to go to work."

He'll do a national game for Fox a week from Saturday when the Sox visit the Angels, but those calls haven't been as frequent this year, a byproduct of the team's World Series championship. ''The big guys [Joe Buck, Tim McCarver] have been doing all the Sox games this year," said Remy.

For the future, more things seem headed Remy's way. There was talk of adding RemDawg hot dog stands both downtown and at Logan Airport, but a restaurant deal may come first.

''A RemDawg Grill, somewhere between a sports bar and the Capital Grille, is what we'd like to do," said Remy. ''Something like Harry Caray's place in Chicago."

But it's all predicated on the daily schedule that has Remy arriving at the ballpark by 2:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game, making his rounds of the field, clubhouse, and manager's office, before grabbing a bite to eat. After that, it's off to RemDawg's, doing a spot on the pregame show, and then taping the opening for the telecast.

''The timing has been perfect for all of it," he said. ''The first two years we had the website, the team went to the postseason and won the World Series."

Neither the team nor its analyst seems to be slowing down.

Straight from the top
One of the sessions at the CBS Sports orientation for its NFL broadcasters and production teams in New York last Tuesday was a meeting with commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

The biggest surprise was in learning the NFL's ultimate secret: The Commish has a pretty well-developed sense of humor. What follows isn't intended to tell any tales out of school, but rather to show what the league's partners get in a briefing from the man in charge.

''I had dinner with several owners -- among them Robert Kraft and [Pittsburgh's] Dan Rooney," said Tagliabue. ''Robert put on his best Bill Belichick face to say how tough it was going to be for his team this season."

OK, not knee-slapping, but a lighthearted peek behind the scenes.

Some of the other items touched on by the commissioner:

''The league is a meritocracy as the result of the CBA. The surprising thing is that the Patriots have 'merited' winning three out of four Super Bowls."

''The next CBA will have to reflect the new reality of teams taking on tremendous stadium costs. It also will have to fine-tune the franchise tag and the rookie pool. Payrolls, already more than $100 million per team, could grow to $150 million-$160 million per team by 2010."

The league will be looking at ways to speed up the game. ''The game is always changing," said Tagliabue. ''In the 1960s, we had 90 percent running plays compared to today when the majority of plays are passes." One out-there suggestion: ''We'll talk about having only one huddle per series. It's something that could be tried in NFL Europe."

On the coming Thursday-Saturday TV package. ''We want to get it right and have the right partner. We envision it as a run-to-the-playoffs package."

On the future: ''We're committed to tradition, but we're also committed to change. I talked to a futurist, who's looking 20-40 years out there. One thing I learned is that in the next decade he expects parents to be able to start selecting genes they want in their children. Does that mean that in 25 years, we'll have two categories of players: bioengineered and non-bioengineered? He also predicted that in 25 years, the city that Los Angeles will have most in common with is Shanghai. That might mean that, in addition to getting a team in LA, which remains a priority, we might need one in Shanghai, too." Tagliabue said it with a smile, but sometimes the truest words are spoken in jest.

New stadiums and their costs: ''We'd like to see Super Bowl-quality [i.e., domed] stadia that could be shared, if necessary. The technology is there to change the skin of a stadium to reflect the colors of the team using it. It's already being done in Munich."

The coming flexible schedule (for NBC's Sunday night package): ''It's a fan issue. The big consideration is to minimize disruption of fans."

A team in Las Vegas? ''Not soon." That would seem to indicate that DirecTV's new interactive package won't feature a gambling component, either.

A run for your money
Watching the World Championships of Track and Field on www.WCSN.com ($4.95 for the entire 10-day package) has been a bargain except for the few times when the connection broke. A nice add-on is the fact that the telecasts, plus the PAX hour-long recap each day, are archived on the site for later viewing . . . Tomorrow's Globe ''Sports Plus" (NESN, 5:30 and 11:30 p.m.) has Dan Shaughnessy, Gordon Edes, and John Valentin joining host Bob Neumeier to talk Red Sox and Roger Clemens; there is also a one-on-one feature with Troy Brown of the Patriots.

Bill Griffith's e-mail address is griffith@globe.com.

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