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Red Sox’s Matt Barnes Pushes For Don Orsillo Back In The NESN Booth

“Thank you @mattbarnesRHP my friend for thinking of me. I am good to go in 2022 with my @Padres.”

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If it was up to Boston Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, Don Orsillo would return to the NESN broadcast booth to call games.

On Thursday, Barnes did an Instagram Live session from Florida Gulf Coast University, where several Red Sox players are working out since major-leaguers are locked out of team facilities. (Gulf Coast is in Fort Myers, Florida, where the Red Sox train, but Chris Sale is also an alum.)

During the live video, a fan asked Barnes whom he’d like to replace the late Jerry Remy in the Red Sox TV broadcast booth. (Remy passed away last October after a long off-and-on struggle with lung cancer.) Barnes immediately answered that he’d like the team to bring back Don Orsillo.

That would surely be enormously popular with Red Sox fans, who probably felt Barnes was speaking for them with that answer. Orsillo was let go by NESN after the 2015 season, following 15 years with the team. The network decided to hire Dave O’Brien as its TV play-by-play voice and didn’t renew Orsillo’s contract. It was a baffling decision, not just because of Orsillo’s popularity but because there was seemingly no reason for NESN to make the move.

Orsillo eventually landed with then-Fox Sports San Diego to call San Diego Padres broadcasts, a position he still holds and figures to for years to come. However, Orsillo is in the final year of the six-year contract he signed with now-Bally Sports San Diego. If Barnes knew that, his suggestion was particularly savvy.

Upon hearing of Barnes’s endorsement, Orsillo said on Twitter that, while flattered, he’s very happy with the Padres. (Is a new contract on the way?)

Besides referring to his current team as “my” Padres, Orsillo may also have indicated his true feelings on the situation by liking a tweet that said the Red Sox (or NESN) “blew it” by letting him go.

Barnes probably wasn’t thinking of this, but to get nerdy (or “well, actually”) about it, Orsillo likely wouldn’t take Remy’s role as analyst anyway. Dennis Eckersley is expected to move up to lead analyst on the Red Sox broadcasts with O’Brien remaining on play-by-play. And as popular as Orsillo was, and baffling as his dismissal was, O’Brien is an excellent broadcaster who certainly deserves to continue in his role.

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Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”

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Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.

Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.

King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.

“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”

Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.

King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”

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Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7

“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.

The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.

“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”

Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.

Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.

Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.

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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”

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Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”

McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.

“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”

WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.

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