Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss his return to the NESN broadcast and what he’s seen from the Red Sox in spring training. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Remy called his first Red Sox game Sunday after he took leave from NESN because his son Jared was accused of murder. Remy did not discuss his family situation on the air.
“I made my press conference back before I left, and I did that for a reason so that when I got down here I could just answer questions about baseball and talk about baseball and not talk about my personal life,” Remy said. “That’s what I wanted to do when I had that little conference back at NESN prior to coming to spring training. I didn’t want it to be a distraction when I got down here. I did not want it mentioned on air. I said all I had to say about everything and it wouldn’t be fair to anybody else listening to a game to have to listen to that. That was my feeling.
“Don [Orsillo] asked me, ‘How are we going to go about this?’ and I said, ‘We’re going to do a game. … We’re going to do a game the way we always do it and that’s it.’’
The veteran broadcaster admitted that he was nervous covering the spring training game.
“I made my decision and my decision was to go on and be myself during a game, and that’s what I plan on doing,” Remy said. “If that plays well, great, if it doesn’t, I’m sure the people with NESN, the people with the Red Sox will make the proper adjustments. This is the way I’m going to go about doing things, and I was nervous. I’ve never been nervous about a spring training other than my first one.
“Once I got to the ballpark, and once I got in my comfort zone and back on with Don, who made it very easy for me, it felt right.”
While Remy said he expects some people are displeased he has returned to the broadcast, he is not putting himself in a position to see their comments.
“I’m sure there are people that are not happy, but I can’t control that, and I can only control what I’m trying to do, and what I’m trying to do is just move on with my life and try to get my family to move on with their life, and I figure this — me being an example in that regard — will be a good example for everybody else,” Remy said.
“It was just nice to get back in this atmosphere that I’ve been in for 27 years, and actually 40 years in professional baseball, and it just made me feel good to be back up there doing that.”
Remy said he heard good things about the broadcast after the game.
“I got a lot of nice texts, a lot of nice phone calls last night from people who matter to me,” Remy said. “They were very pleased with the way things had gone and very pleased with the way I guess I presented myself yesterday. … Just people that I care about, it’s people I know very, very well.
“From that point of view, I know they’d be honest with me.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.
On if the Sox should sign Stephen Drew: “I don’t think so, no. I think they’re fine with what they’ve got. I’ve been watching [Xander] Bogaerts very closely and I’ve been talking to [Brian] Butterfield, who’s been working with him daily. I talked to [John] Farrell about him. He has some minor issues, which they’re working on, defensively, in particular going to his right. They’ve been working very diligently with his first step, how to get ready for a pitch and to get that very quick first step. But he’s got all the tools, and I think that they work that they’re going to put with him down here is going to make him a pretty solid shortstop. It looks pretty good. I think that he’s certainly capable of doing the job.
“The question is, will [Will] Middlebrooks be able to bounce back and become the guy that we hoped that he would be. And I’ve got to say from his point of view, he has really worked hard in the offseason. He is really, really strong. He didn’t put on a lot of weight, but he put on a lot of muscle. So, that’s a good sign. ‘¦ He’s prepared himself, he’s set himself up for success. And hopefully, as I said in the broadcast yesterday, it’s so critical when you start the season to get off to a good start, especially when you’re in a situation like Middlebrooks’. Because that gives you confidence that you’re going to be able to sustain that good play throughout the course of the season. If he gets off to a bad start, all of a sudden the mind starts working on you, ‘Here we go again,’ ‘Can I do that?’ So, that’s important for him.”
On the team’s center field situation with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore: “I think you probably keep them both. If Sizemore’s able to make his return successfully to the big leagues, he’s going to need time off. Here’s a guy coming off two years of inactivity because of injury. I don’t think you can expect him to be an everyday player. If you could get a couple, three games a week out of him at the level he produced at when he was with the Cleveland Indians, I think you’ve got a real gem there. I don’t look at it as a competition, to be honest with you. I think that both guys will be able to find their place on this team.”
On the team’s attitude at spring training: “What I like about it is the approach that they’re taking coming into the season. They have turned the page, they’re focus is 2014, there’s no hangover from 2013, they’re working extremely hard. I’ve been here about five days now and I attended about three practices prior to the ballgame yesterday. What I’m seeing is very much the same as I saw a year ago. Everybody’s on board.”