Dave O’Brien said he was tired of going to Home Depot.
Joe Castiglione had tidied the cupboard, but didn’t mind holding the attic.
Two veteran broadcaster play-by-play veterans Boston Red Sox, who regularly visit Bangor for the annual Hot Stove party during the winter, are eager to return to the game that began on Friday when the Red Sox entertained the Baltimore Orioles to begin a short 60 game schedule.
The 60 match schedule comes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption in negotiations between the owner and the players’ union. The normal regular season consists of 162 matches.
O’Brien and Castiglione both felt the shortened schedule would help the Red Sox, whose rotation would initially be without Chris Sale (operations), David Price (traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers) and Rick Porcello (signed with the New York Mets).
Both said the lack of depth of pitching the Red Sox would be exploited during season 162 matches, but not as much as in season 60 matches.
“Violations will occur in front of pitching this season and the strength of this team will be the lineup,” O’Brien said.
“They will score, even without Mookie [Betts]”Castiglione, referring to the 2018 American League Most Valuable Player who was traded to the Dodgers with Price,” he said. “[Managing pitching staffs] will be a juggling action for every pitching manager and coach this year. “
Betts, Price and some money went to the Dodgers for outfielder Alex Verdugo and two prospects: catcher Connor Wong and shortstop Jeter Downs.
O’Brien predicted that Verdugo would become a fan favorite at Fenway Park.
“He is very strong and he’s a fiery kid,” he said.
Both said it would be very important that the Red Sox start a good start because of the short season.
“If they can start a good start with their bats, they can stay on [playoff] hunting all season long, “Castiglione said. “With only 60 matches, there won’t be much separation between the teams.”
The health and performance of left-handed Eduardo Rodriguez will be “the big key,” O’Brien said.
Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was quarantined even though he worked alone, aged 19-6 with an average of 3.81 managed last year and 32-11 during his last two seasons.
Castiglione points out that Nathan Eovaldi who tends to be injured really looks very sharp in an intrasquad match.
“He has great things,” Castiglione, who added that staying healthy would be the most important for Eovaldi, said.
Eovaldi has not thrown more than 155 innings in a season since 2014 and suffered elbow problems in 2019.
One thing the Red Sox throwing staff needs to improve is its control, O’Brien said. The Red Sox ran 3.7 hitters per nine innings a year ago and only three teams ran more.
He expects Chaim Bloom’s new Chief Baseball Officer to deal with the situation because Bloom has spent the past 15 years at the Tampa Rays organization and their pitchers are taught to attack strike zones. Rays released the third lowest number of runs per inn a year ago (2.77).
The Red Sox will have a new manager at 63-year-old Ron Roenicke.
“He is very experienced and a very passionate man. He will be a calming influence. And he is very respected, “Castiglione said.
One of the biggest obstacles for the Red Sox is their schedule, the broadcaster said.
The Red Sox will play 10 matches each against their rivals in the American League East and four against the National League East team.
Four of last year’s 10 playoff teams came from the American and National League East, including world champion Washington Nationals.
“So far, this is the toughest division,” Castiglione said, referring to the United States and the Eastern National League.
There have been a number of changes to the rules that have been applied and both broadcasters have supported them, at least for this season.
The National League will join the American League in using designated hitters; a runner will be placed second to start each round in the extra round; and each aid thrower brought into the game must face at least three bats.
“All of these rule changes have the opportunity to help the game become more attractive to fans,” O’Brien said. “We need to do everything we can to speed up the game.”
He said baseball had “lost its footing” in the sports market because of a very long match.
They both like the idea of busting to have to deal with at least three hitters so the manager cannot keep changing pitchers after facing one hitter which slows down the game.
They like to put runners in second place in the extra round to prevent the team from taxing their pitching staff this season even though Castiglione admitted that the extra-long innings were “interesting.”
Castiglione has been a DH supporter for both leagues but O’Brien likes to have rules that separate the two leagues.
Both were annoyed at the bargaining between the Major League Baseball Players Association and the owner during the negotiations.
“Too bad they have to air their dirty laundry [in the media]”Castiglione said. “Other sports don’t. It’s a shame. Hopefully, they all learn from that.”
O’Brien called it “embarrassing” but pointed out that one of the salient points was the health problems of the players and he liked the fact that the player and owner association could approve changes to the rules.
“It was very positive and bodes well for the future,” O’Brien said. “This will be a good opportunity to experiment with a few things and see how it works.”
Their broadcast will be different this season, because no one will travel with the team.
Castiglione, who will be in season 38 calling the Red Sox game on the team’s radio network (WEEI-FM), will do all the matches, at home and outside, from Fenway Park in Boston. O’Brien, in his 14th season playing Red Sox, on radio then and now on television on the New England Sports Network, will air from the NESN studio in Watertown while watching the monitor.
Nobody has played games just by watching the monitor before.
There will be no fans in the game and the crowd noise will be pumped to broadcast via technology.
“That would be different. This will be a challenge. But we will have more technology available, “O’Brien, who would love to see MLB use a microphone to increase broadcasts, said.
“This will be unusual. I will miss people and face-to-face connections. But I used to empty the stadium. “I did a Cleveland Indian match with 3,000 fans in an 80,000-seat stadium,” Castiglione said.
They will agree it will definitely defeat Home Depot or clean your loft.
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