Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tonight was another interesting night watching the NESN telecast. At one point in the second or third inning, Don Orsillo brought up a topic for him to discuss with the Remdawg. I forget what it was, but it was significant because it happened with two out, so there was very little time to discuss it. Remy said curtly that he agreed with whatever point that Orsillo had tried to make during the play-by-play call of the final out of the inning. When NESN came back from commercial, Don Orsillo was very apologetic about his lack of professionalism and on went the show.

Now perhaps I'm looking for cracks in the facade that simply aren't there. If that's the case, I hope you forgive me and bear with me since there has been so very little for me to enjoy in this terrible season to date. But I got to wondering what the Remdawg is like off camera. Could it be that he straightened Orsillo out as Moe Green straightened out Fredo Corleone in Vegas in the early 50s?

Hearing Remy's uncharacteristically curt tone in the exchange prior to them cutting to commercial got me thinking about the famous Kasey Kasem rant from back in the old days of American Top Forty. I don't know if you've heard it, I know it has made the rounds of the internet several thousand times by now but in case you did miss it, or want to hear it again...have at it. It's jarringly funny to hear a guy we've always associated with a good natured affability blow his stack over something that seemed fairly trivial. And I found myself wondering whether that was what we had during the TV timeout between Remy and Orsillo.

As I thought about it some more, I started to wonder just what it would be like if some NESN engineer flipped the wrong switch and those of us watching at home got to hear the Remy-Orsillo behind the scenes conversations instead of the one billionth airing of a Wonder of It All spot that makes even the most kind-hearted among us think that Andrew Jackson's grossly inhuman policies toward the Native Americans might have had a method to the madness.

I don't know if you've seen the classic Elia Kazan film A Face In The Crowd. If you're a Sox fan, I'm going to go ahead and assume that you haven't. After all, you might have to miss a few shots of incredibly expensive bad hair day number 2,224 in a row for Hazel Mae to see a movie like that. But the film is about a bum who becomes a megastar in the early days of television through his homespun wit and man-of-the-people charm.

And if I operate under the assumption that those of you who are reading this are Red Sox fans, I must now spoon-feed the logic behind this particular rant. Remy was basically a bum as a player. Look at the Remdawg's career stats, they're not very good.He was a scrapper, a hustler, an overachiever, and kind of a bum. He's Lou Merloni with a damn good sense of timing.

Remy signed on to broadcast Red Sox games in 1988. And it took him until 2003 to become the local celebrity icon that he is to this day. In that time a lot has changed, the die hards were all but priced out of Fenway, leaving it now a place to see and be seen. Since the die hards are now sitting on their couches and watching games at home they needed some one to latch onto and embody their misguided affection for this organization.

But people love the Remdawg. I find it baffling, since I do not find him insightful or interesting. I think in large part it's due to the fact that Remy with a room temperature IQ is just a little bit smarter than the average Red Sox fan. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, as they say.

But that brings me back to my point about the movie A Face In The Crowd. After his meteoric rise to the top of a nationwide broadcasting empire, the lead character is destroyed through his own arrogance. A member of his inner circle becomes alarmed at the influence the lead has acquired over political campaigns, so she switched on the audio feed from the studio during the closing credits to one of the shows. The lead character was sitting talking to his cronies and saying unflattering things about the American public and his audience in particular. Unfortunately for him, the show was going out live coast to coast, so millions heard his insults and it killed his career.

I don't necessarily wish the same fate on Remy. After all, the odds are that the Red Sox and NESN will replace him with a broadcaster I will end up disliking even more than I dislike the Remdawg whenever his reign of terror ends. I just wonder what he's like off the air. Somehow I think that without his audience around him, Remy is not the same down to earth boy from Fall River who lucked his way into his celebrity status. And I'd really like to hear it.

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