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Listening for Remy

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  May 13, 2011 02:53 PM

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Sometimes I do wonder how many Red Sox fans of a certain age -- say, 30 or younger -- know that Jerry Remy hasn't always been associated with the Red Sox, having begun his career with three seasons (1975-77) with the California Angels.

Heck, there are some among the younger demos who probably don't know (or are just vaguely aware) that he actually played for the Red Sox (1978-85). That's a tribute to the legacy he has built in his 23 seasons as the popular and respected analyst on the team's local television broadcasts, though I suppose it's also true that his usefulness as a player has been exaggerated by his prominence in his second career.

Anyway, consider that my long-winded introduction to this week's media column, which leads with the news that Remy expects to be back in the booth Monday. He's missed 14 games -- every one since April 27 -- with pneumonia, and I don't think I'm speaking out of turn to say his absence became increasingly worrisome as it grew longer. So to hear Remy say it's "just" pneumonia is actually reassuring given all he suffered through two years ago in the aftermath of lung cancer surgery. Here's hoping there are no further delays in his recovery and he's feeling well enough to return to his Fenway perch in the booth when the Red Sox return home Monday.

It should be noted that in Remy's absence, Don Orsillo has again demonstrated a remarkable knack for compatibility with just about any analyst with whom he’s paired. In 2009, he worked with 26 different broadcast partners, including Remy.

As of yesterday, that number is six, the best of which has been Dennis Eckersley, who could become a star nationally in the role with the right opportunity. Otherwise, sans Remy, the spectrum has run from Rick Dempsey, a chattering storyteller who apparently has discovered a way to avoid pausing for breath, to Gregg Zaun, whose mellow, NPR-ish intonations during this week’s Toronto series initially masked a subtle wit and a recent retiree’s deep knowledge of the league. Listening to them talk, it’s hard to believe Dempsey is Zaun’s uncle. That's got to be an interesting family tree.

In a sense, Remy feels like family to Red Sox fans. Here's looking forward to Monday, and hopefully hearing that familiar voice around 7:05 p.m. Buenos noches, amigos.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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