Week one of the regular season is not even in the books for the Boston Red Sox and talk on the radio continues to include Jerry Remy and whether or not he should be in the NESN broadcast booth. It's a shame. And it's why Remy should take a year (at least) off.
The Red Sox just had their home opener on Friday. They celebrated their 2013 World Championship. They honored fallen firefighters and victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. They also celebrated the resolve of a city and a community.
The start of the baseball season is a symbol of rebirth. It marks the end of winter. I don't have to tell anyone this has been one of the longest, worst, most depressing winters in memory. But that is all in the past now. The Boys of Summer are back.
It should be a time for rejoicing. It is a party. The presence of Jerry Remy is the elephant in the room which no one wants to acknowledge. He is the one at the party standing alone in the corner while everyone huddles in their own circles whispering in each other's ear.
Let me take a second to give credit to Remy's NESN broadcast partner, Don Orsillo. Orsillo is that one person at the party who stands next to Remy, telling him to ignore the naysayers. Orsillo is the consummate professional. Does he have a choice? No. Would he do it anyway? Probably.
Orsillo needs to use all of his professionalism to think twice, maybe three times, before he opens his mouth. What has set Orsillo and Remy apart from other broadcast teams is their casual repartee about off-the-cuff matters. It comes natural. It is not forced. Or should I say, it never seemed forced.
One of my favorite moments was a few years ago when the NESN cameras zoomed in on a couple in the stands when, suddenly, one of the fans decided to fondle the chest of, I assume, his girlfriend. How would that broadcast play out now?
There will be times in the future when the camera will zoom in on a young mother playing with her child. There will be times in the heat of the summer when the cameras will show a steroid-enhanced freak with his shirt off doing some crazy stunt in the stands.
One of the favorite punchlines of Red Sox broadcasts revolves around Orsillo and Remy's personal lives. Remy would joke about Orsillo going to a Dave Matthews Band concert wearing his NESN broadcast outfit. Remy would mock Orsillo for going fishing and being photoed with his prize six-inch hammerhead shark.
Orsillo would reciprocate by mocking Remy for never leaving his hotel room on road trips.
It was all fun banter, taken in a vacuum. Now there is a cloud over every story. The problem is the cloud is not going away anytime soon. In fact, the cloud is darkening.
A week before the regular season started, the Boston Globe ran a story going into detail about Jared Remy's run-ins with the law. It left the reader with the feeling that the judicial system failed society. Jennifer Martel, specifically, paid the ultimate price for the deficiencies of the judicial system. The reader was also left with the implication that Jerry Remy may have used the influence of his wealth and fame to keep his son out of jail.
Jerry faced a renewed flurry of criticism for his parenting skills and if he enabled his son to continue his bad behavior without fear of repercussion. This is where I draw the line.
I have a problem with people telling other people how to parent. There is no instruction manual on parenting. Who are you to criticize Jerry Remy's parenting skills? Or anyone's for that matter?
I've heard people saying that Jerry should have kicked Jared out of the house a long time ago. People have said Jerry should escorted Jared to jail himself and thrown away the key. People have cried how dare Jerry hire lawyers to represent his son.
Get real. Put yourselves in Jerry's shoes. Like Jerry has said, it is a situation no one would not wish upon their worst enemy. But wouldn't you do everything you could for your son or daughter? No?
There are loving, smothering parents who see their kids rebel, runaway, and get in trouble with the law. There are single parents who work two jobs who leave their kids to fend for themselves and see those kids grow up to be strong, successful adults.
There is no playbook for parenting. What works for one does not work for another.
So, please, don't critique Jerry Remy's parenting skills. He is hurting just like any of us would. Jerry Remy is not a bad person for trying to do everything he can to help his kids.
That does not mean we can't criticize Remy's decision to return to the NESN booth. There may be other stories coming out in the summer. There is a trial coming this fall. Maybe there will be a settlement before that. Maybe Jared will continue to make headlines from behind bars like he did yesterday.
All the while, we will be hearing Jerry's voice on TV.
I give Jerry credit. I've noticed a slight change in his approach. He has been more business-like. There is less playful banter, less giggling. Orsillo now dominates the broadcast. Remy retreats to the background, giving short, quick analysis when warranted. The few times Orsillo and Remy have attempted to duplicate their playful banter, it feels contrived and awkward.
Ultimately, rightly or wrongly, it will be Remy who will make the final decision if he survives the season. Anybody notice, ahem, ahem, NESN hired former Red Sox player Steve "Psycho" Lyons as a studio analyst. Make no mistake about it, Lyons will be the first one to slide into the booth if Remy decides to take a leave of absence. I have little doubt Lyons would be tremendous with Orsillo and become an immediate fan favorite. Remy could find himself Wally (The Green Monster?) Pipp-ed.