BOSTON (CBS) — News of Don Orsillo’s dismissal from NESN at the end of the Red Sox season has hit everyone by surprise.
The voice of the Red Sox for the last 15 years, it looked like Orsillo would get to live his dream job until he decided to walk away. But on Tuesday, NESN announced they would not be renewing his contract at the end of the season, a move that has upset nearly all of Red Sox nation.
Jenny Dell, who was NESN’s Red Sox sideline reporter for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday morning, and is just as shocked as Red Sox fans.
“He’s beloved by Red Sox fans all over the country and I’m surprised how this all went down,” she said of Orsillo. “For him, this was home.”
Orsillo is known as one of the most well-regarded professionals in such a cutthroat business, and Dell got to see that first hand when she started at NESN.
“That’s what makes him so special,” she said. “He has something very special where he would make anyone feel like family and a best friend. Walking into the Boston situation was very intimidating to me, and to have Don there with open arms and making me feel completely comfortable made me feel 1000 times better. I know that’s not just how he made me feel, but anyone in the industry.
“He was extremely personable, and there wasn’t one person I ever met that said one negative thing to say about him. In this industry that’s hard to find,” she added.
Dell said with NESN, as with any company, there are good situations and bad situations. But she did admit there was a lot of added “hoopla” thrown into the game broadcasts, which sometimes distracted from the game on the field.
“I think about some of the stories I had to put on air and I cringe thinking about it; when you’re in a tie game in the eighth inning and there was a promo we had to throw in,” she said. “But that’s Boston too. If people are willing to buy promotions, you’re crazy not to take their money even though we already have a list of 50 things to get in.
“Do I think they add in a lot of extra hoopla? Absolutely. But that part of it is what makes NESN so good.”
She thinks back to a 2013 interview she had with the famous Fenway Park “Pizza Thrower,” which her and the station received a lot of backlash for.
“Only one incident comes to mind, but it was a lot of the little moments that other networks and companies wouldn’t have gone to air with,” she said. “There was one situation, and I’m sure you guys covered it, the ‘pizza thrower’ situation. I know we’ve all been playing those moments with Don and Jerry, and I’ve gone back and laughed and cried looking at them. The actual pizza thrower was in the stands five years later. I know you guys probably talked about it a lot, and I went home and cried about it.”
Dell is now a sideline reporter for CBS, and will be covering college football for the upcoming season.