Remy still in the fight
65-year-old broadcaster battles cancer
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.”
Red Sox color analyst Jerry Remy said last season’s incident between pitcher David Price and Dennis Eckersley should have been handled internally.
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.