On the surface, the Padres’ hiring of now former Red Sox announcer Don Orsillo, a move San Diego made official last Wednesday, looks like a Mike Dee-led familiarity play. In fact, it probably is. Dee worked for the Red Sox from 2002 through 2009, mostly as COO, and Orsillo was Boston’s lead play-by-play guy — teaming in the booth with Jerry Remy — since 2001. It’s hard to imagine Dee’s familiarity with Orsillo didn’t have something to do with the hiring.
Maybe that’s unfortunate. Maybe Jesse Agler, who will be transitioning to the radio side from his all-around role this year, was the right person for the job. Maybe someone else — some relative unknown — should have gotten the nod, helping the Padres build a true identity of their own. If there’s any criticism of the deal — and there is some, mind you — it’s that Orsillo represents Boston, and, well, this ain’t Boston.
It’s true, mostly. Orsillo, 46, was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, a (Vladimir Guerrero) stone’s throw from Boston, and he grew up in New England, although he did graduate from high school in California. He returned east for college, though, and interned with the Red Sox while attending Northeastern. Further, nearly his entire announcing career comes from within the Red Sox organization (I’m Wikipedia-ing here) — the internship, five years calling Pawtucket Red Sox games on the radio from 1996-2000, and, of course, the lead role at NESN for the past 15 years.