As you may have heard earlier this offseason, former Red Sox radio broadcaster Tim Neverett let his contract run out in December and will not be back in the booth next year. He apparently didn’t see eye-to-eye with WEEI during his time, and the writing had been on the wall since all the way back in June. So, with Neverett out the radio station needed to find a new broadcaster to put next to the legendary Joe Castiglione. They announced their plan on Thursday and, well.....it’s something.
Apparently they are planning to go with a rotating group of broadcasters that will include a whole lot of different names, many of which are familiar. Here is their announcement tweet.
So....yeah. That’s certainly one way to handle this! I’m a little surprised a Red Sox broadcast of all things is going with a rotating cast of broadcasters. That’s not because of some superiority complex but rather because we saw this with NESN a couple years ago when Jerry Remy had to leave the booth. It wasn’t totally the same thing because most of NESN’s additions were more inexperienced than this group, but it’s still better to have consistency in the booth to build chemistry.
As for the individual names, well, we all know that Chris Berman is the one that stands out the most. Are you kidding me? There’s been a lot of negative backlash to this one, as there should be. Berman is something of a legend in the business as one of ESPN’s original voices, but today he’s most known in the baseball world for his “back back back” call in the Home Run Derby. Most people aren’t crazy about that call, to put it mildly. If it was just that he was annoying, that would be one thing. Berman also dealt with plenty of controversy on his way out of ESPN, most notably and seriously being his inclusion in a sexual harassment claim that was eventually settled by ESPN. Berman presumably isn’t going to be a big part of the broadcast team, just calling a handful of games, but I can’t see the logic behind this move.
Other than him, there are plenty of other notable names. Sean McDonough is now a famous ESPN football voice, but he called Red Sox games on the TV side back in the late 90s and early aughts. It’ll be nice to have him back.
Lou Merloni obviously has some experience in this realm, and will apparently be part of some three-man booths with McDonough.
Mario Impemba may sound like a familiar name. He was a long-time Tigers broadcast before being let go last year after an altercation with partner Rod Allen. The fight was potentially over a chair, though they deny that being the case.
Tom Caron is, of course, the host of NESN’s pre- and post-game shows. I like Caron a lot in his current role, but on the rare occasions he’s filled in on TV I haven’t seen him as a great fit. Maybe radio will suit him better.
Dave O’Brien will call a few national games that NESN won’t have the broadcast for.
It seems the plan is largely to have Impempa and Josh Lewin — a former Mets broadcaster — call the bulk of the games with the others rotating in more infrequently.
Update: I meant to include this and was reminded after this was published, but they also went with an entire group of white men. It’s frankly embarrassing that they put together a list of broadcasters this large with such little diversity.
I don’t really listen to a ton of games on the radio, so while this whole thing (particularly Berman) annoys me, it won’t affect me too much. The good news is that Joe Castiglione will still be there, and he’s the greatest. Those who listen to the radio broadcast more often, what do you think?