We knew there would be plenty of changes for the Red Sox heading into 2016, but few anticipated that a major change would be coming to the television broadcast booth.
This will be Don Orsillo’s final season as the play-by-play man for NESN’s Red Sox broadcasts, a person with knowledge of the situation tells Boston.com. WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan Morning Show’’ reported Orsillo was on his way out early Tuesday.
This will be Don Orsillo's final season on the Red Sox broadcast according to multiple sources.— Dennis and Callahan (@DandCShow) August 25, 2015
Orsillo — currently in his 15th season calling Red Sox games on NESN — is a longtime fan favorite since moving up to the major league broadcasts in 2001 after serving five years as the play-by-play man for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. Orsillo became the full-time Red Sox voice in 2005 when NESN took over airing all Red Sox local telecasts.
The Melrose native is known for his easy-going style and lighthearted banter with NESN analyst Jerry Remy. Orsillo and Remy have been prone to creating many unscripted comedic moments on the broadcasts over the years, including the infamous “pizza throw’’ in 2007.
Orsillo’s contract expires at the end of the season and he will not be offered a new one by NESN. He will be replaced by Dave O’Brien, who currently is part of the Red Sox radio broadcast team on WEEI and also has a high-profile, multi-sport play-by-play role at ESPN, NESN announced Tuesday night. An ESPN spokesman told Boston.com O’Brien will still call a lot of college basketball games for the network but will have a reduced role when it comes to baseball.
Orsillo has also been a baseball voice on the national stage, working on TBS’s MLB postseason division series broadcasts since 2007.
Josh Maurer, who is in his second season as the play-by-play voice for the Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox, filled in for Orsillo for seven games when NESN implemented an in-season break for its broadcasters in July.
In November 2011, NESN announced that Orsillo had signed a multi-year deal that would keep him at the network through the 2015 season.
A NESN spokesperson did not return multiple requests for comment.
Notable departures from ESPN