He is the latest in a long line of beloved Boston broadcasters. From Johnny Most to Fred Cusick to Ned Martin to Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti,
Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy is fast joining a select pantheon.
Ironically, it was the late Ned Martin who gave Remy his initial pointers in broadcasting.
"He was the best possible guy to break in with," says Remy, who currently works
Red Sox games on NESN, WBZ and UPN38. "He was so laid back, so relaxed. Nothing bothered him. Ned allowed me to grow. He called my attention to some grammatical errors, but he was never overbearing and had a lot of patience."
Clearly, Martin saw something that even Remy did not see.
The erstwhile Red Sox second baseman (1978-1984) had no plans to enter the broadcasting field, instead opting for a post-retirement coaching gig with the New Britain
Red Sox in 1986.
Remy took all of 1987 off and began his TV career in 1988. Last week, he broadcast his 2,000th Red Sox game.
"That's 2,000 more games than I expected to do," says the 50-year-old Weston resident. "I just kind of threw my name in the hat back in 1988 and I got the job. I had no idea what I was doing. I knew baseball, but knew nothing about the TV end of things."
The Somerset native settled into broadcasting because it kept him in baseball, but also afforded him time with his family.
"I don't have the pressure of a coach or manager," says Remy, who has been married 28 years and has three children. "I had to learn things like calling replays and interacting with my partner. My first year, I was horrible. I was so conscious of making a mistake."
Remy has come a long way since those early days. His current style is one of information and entertainment. In the past few seasons, Remy has incorporated more of his sense of humor into his work. It has been well received by viewers.
"You have to earn the confidence and trust of the people before you can make them laugh," says Remy. "I'm just being myself. You can't be a phony. I was not a superstar player (1975-84 with the Angels and Red Sox: 7 HR, 329 RBI, .275 average), so people can relate to me.
"The No. 1 job is to be the best analyst you can be, but you have to have some levity at times. People are inviting you into their homes. You don't want to be a guy that they don't like."
Remy credits longtime partner Sean McDonough with bringing him to another level as an analyst. "Sean brought out the best in me," he says. "He is absolutely brilliant. He is not afraid to offer his opinion and has tremendous recall.
"I feel that he is one of the best baseball announcers in the business, even at the network level. I credit him for my success in this business."
Remy calls Red Sox games with McDonough this season on WBZ and UPN38.
The strength of the tandem is their in-game discourse.
"He offers his opinion and I offer mine. His knowledge of the game creates the interaction," says Remy. "Sean makes me think. We let the game dictate where our conversations will go, but we are not afraid to tackle a particular issue surrounding the team.
"Sean and I are great friends off the air. I've gotten along with all the guys I've worked with, from Ned to Bob Kurtz to Sean to Don Orsillo. I've never had a problem with any of them."
Orsillo has worked NESN games with Remy since 2001. He speaks glowingly of his partner.
"My first year, Jerry taught me so much, simple things like where to sit on the plane or how to get in and out of the stadiums," says Orsillo. "He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes.
"During a game, he thinks like a manager. He is always one inning ahead of the action. I have learned what questions to ask him to draw the best out of him."
Orsillo marvels at Remy's current celebrity status.
"He kind of fell into it," Orsillo explains. "If you work with Jerry, you are going to have fun. He has definitely brought out more of my personality. When I started, he told me to call my game and have as much fun as I could. He is a great analyst and a great character. I credit him for everything I've achieved doing
Red Sox games."
Just as Ned Martin schooled Remy back in 1988, Remy has, in turn, helped Orsillo grow into his position.
"People who do play-by-play are the real pros," says Remy. "I remember how Ned treated me and I offer similar suggestions to Don. It's sometimes tough for a new guy to get his feet on the ground, but Don does a terrific job and has a great voice."
Remy is more than a mere baseball analyst. He has become a multimedia idol. He currently does a weekly stint on Sportsradio 850 WEEI's "Dennis and Callahan Morning Show" and was a regular guest on McDonough's now-defunct AM 1510 radio show.
"Once a week is the talk radio limit for me," says Remy, "I find four hours to be very long. A baseball game can run four hours, but there are different things happening."
While radio may not be a favorite for Remy, the Internet clearly is. Go to Yahoo.com and search "Jerry Remy." You will find more than 17,000 related links.
Specifically, Remy has created his own Web site,
www.TheRemyReport.com, featuring opinion, information and Rem Dawg merchandise.
The Rem Dawg nickname and persona is a direct result of Remy's on-air antics. His ongoing routines with the Wally the Green Monster mascot have turned Remy into somewhat of a broadcasting icon.
Recently, Remy donned an Eminem bandana and told viewers that he was heading to the pop star's concert following the game. Last week, Remy flubbed an on-air sponsor advertisement, instead reading the
Red Sox' disclaimer.
Remy adeptly and humorously admitted to his mistake and re-read the script correctly. It's this type of quick-witted performance that has created the media phenomenon.
In addition to his own Web site, there are several fan sites dedicated to Remy. One of them, www.JerryRemy.com, features an open letter to the analyst singing his praises.
It states, "I'd love a chance to meet you, say hi, talk baseball, engage in some inane banter, get Wally's autograph, and whatever else is cool today because of the phenomenon that is Jerry Remy."
Remy has benefited from success in more than just popularity. This past off-season, he signed a four-year deal to call Red Sox games on both NESN and WBZ/UPN38.
"I never lost any sleep over a new deal, but with new ownership, you never know," he says. "Both stations have treated me very well, but a contract involving different stations can be complicated."
Remy would not comment on the financial terms of his new deal, but his salary is reported to be in the mid four-figure range per game. Remy does not have an agent, but retains an attorney to assist with contractual issues.
The off-season controversy involving the team's move from Fox25 to WBZ/UPN did not negatively affect Remy, who seems to have emerged as an all-around winner.
He says that this year's Red Sox can do the same, "This is a very exciting team. I don't think they necessarily need to make any more moves, but they will probably try to further upgrade the pitching. Barring injury, I see a lot of good stuff upcoming."
The same might be said for the unlikely media legend known as Jerry Remy.
Article published 7/31/2003 in John Molori's Media Blitz column in The Eagle-Tribune.
Copyright © 2003 Eagle-Tribune Publishing.