Remy still in the fight

65-year-old broadcaster bat­tles can­cer

Woonsocket Call - - Front Page - BREN­DAN McGAIR Sports Writer

PAW­TUCKET – Jerry Remy ad­mit­ted that in his 30 sea­sons as the Red Sox NESN color an­a­lyst, he hasn’t al­ways been spared the rod when it comes to run-ins with players based on some­thing they may in­ter­pret as a tad too harsh.

“But no ma­jor prob­lems. Not even close,” the 65-year-old Remy quickly pointed out af­ter he was done sign­ing au­to­graphs and pos­ing for pic­tures with fans who flocked to McCoy Sta­dium for last Satur­day’s PawSox En­chanted Hol­i­day Vil­lage Party.

The sub­ject was the Den­nis Eck­er­s­ley/David Price flap that swelled up like a tick and hov­ered over Bos­ton’s base­ball team like a smelly odor for much of the 2017 sea­son. With­out re­gur­gi­tat­ing all the specifics for what by all ac­counts was an un­nec­es­sary in­ci­dent, Remy was asked to pro­vide his spin on what went down and how it could have been avoided al­to­gether.

“To me, it was blown way out of pro­por­tion. It shouldn’t have got­ten as many head­lines as it did,” said Remy. “From Price’s point of view, pick a dif­fer­ent way. That wasn’t right.”

On the rare in­stance when some­one in the Red Sox club­house took is­sue with some­thing that Remy said, he pre­ferred to han­dle it in a way that didn’t cre­ate a spec­ta­cle that in turn re­sulted in a me­dia firestorm. In other words, the ad­dress shouldn’t take place as some­one is board­ing a char­tered plane so the en­tire

trav­el­ing party wit­nesses it. That’s how Price chose to con­front Eck­er­s­ley in wake of the Hall of Fame pitcher say­ing “yuck” on TV af­ter Ed­uardo Ro­driguez strug­gled in a re­hab start for Dou­ble-A Portland.

“If some­one has an ex­cep­tion to what I said, I make my­self avail­able to be in the club­house ev­ery day. They can call me over and we can talk about it. If I’m wrong, I’ll go on the air and ad­mit I was wrong. It doesn’t bother me,” said Remy. “You’ve got to have com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

Eck­er­s­ley was rarely spot­ted in the Red Sox club­house, thus he prob­a­bly didn’t have a re­la­tion­ship with Price. As an es­tab­lished vet­eran, Price felt he had a duty to de­fend a team­mate (Ro­driguez) against some­one who he per­ceived as an out­sider – even if that so-called out­sider has a plaque hang­ing in Coop­er­stown.

“It’s a del­i­cate bal­ance. When you’re in the booth do­ing the job we’re do­ing, some­times you have to be crit­i­cal. But it’s how you present it. You have to call an hon­est game based on what you see,” said Remy. “I think if Price had to do it all over again, he prob­a­bly would have han­dled it in a dif­fer­ent way. Let’s sit down and chat and talk about this, but dif­fer­ent (broad­cast­ers) have dif­fer­ent styles. Some guys like to be in the club­house, some don’t. That’s the player’s space, so it’s a del­i­cate bal­ance.”

Remy dis­missed the idea that Eck­er­s­ley’s on-air style changed af­ter the chastis­ing he re­ceived from Price.

Remy, who ear­lier this week be­gan five weeks of ra­di­a­tion treat­ment for lung can­cer, en­joyed the three-man NESN booth that was uti­lized down the stretch this past sea­son and in­cluded him­self, Eck­er­s­ley, and Dave O’Brien.

“I’m not a fan of a three-man booth, but that seemed to work. I’ve known Eck for a long time so it was an easy ad­just­ment. I know where he’s com­ing from and vice versa,” said Remy. “Some­times with a three-man booth, guys get to talk­ing too much. It takes a rhythm to get used to and I’m not sure base­ball was built for that. It’s a two-man job, but we got a good re­sponse from the fans.”

Remy says it’s un­clear if NESN plans to pair him up with Eck­er­s­ley and O’Brien at points next sea­son. He hasn’t got­ten a sched­ule of when he’s ex­pected to call Red Sox games in 2018. He an­tic­i­pates be­ing in the booth for be­tween 115-120 games, which is on par with his work­load from the past few sea­sons. Remy doesn’t ex­pect to make the West Coast trips.

Be­fore Remy left McCoy Sta­dium on Satur­day, the pop­u­lar broadcaster known in Red Sox cir­cles as “Rem Dawg” voiced his sup­port for the PawSox to re­main in Paw­tucket.

“I have known Larry (Lucchino, PawSox chair­man) and Dr. Charles (Stein­berg, team pres­i­dent) for a long time. They’ve put a max­i­mum ef­fort into keep­ing this team right here in Paw­tucket. I hope it stays here. I can’t see them any­where else,” said Remy. “The fans here have al­ways been sup­port­ive and (Satur­day) was an­other perfect ex­am­ple. Plus, the prox­im­ity to Bos­ton is great and can’t be un­der­scored when you need to call up a player.”

Photo by Louri­ann Mardo-Zayat / lmzart­works.com

Red Sox color an­a­lyst Jerry Remy said last sea­son’s in­ci­dent be­tween pitcher David Price and Den­nis Eck­er­s­ley should have been han­dled in­ter­nally.

Photo by Louri­ann Mardo-Zayat / lmzart­works.com

Red Sox color an­a­lyst Jerry Remy (right) was in Paw­tucket Satur­day and he said he plans on call­ing be­tween 115120 games this sea­son. Remy re­cently be­gan five weeks of ra­di­a­tion treat­ment to elim­i­nate his lung can­cer.

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