September 5, 2010

NESN's Mission: Annoy All Its Viewers All The Time

We recently saw (thanks to Laura) how many commercials and advertisements NESN packs into every Red Sox broadcast. The network added a new wrinkle Sunday afternoon in its relentless drive to annoy its viewers with as much non-baseball crap as possible.

Nearly every time Don Orsillo read an in-game commercial or promo, Jerry Remy offered some commentary. He told us how much he loves the sponsor or how he was reminded to use a particular product or visit a store or he wanted to encourage us to visit the store.

Every time Don started a spot, I waited for Jerry to chime in. And he did! Every. Single. Time. I cannot recall hearing this kind of forced banter before. Usually, Orsillo reads the bits and we get back to the baseball game. While I found it utterly amazing, especially as I was waiting for each one in the middle innings, it also made the broadcast virtually unlistenable.

What follows is most of the incidents. It's disgraceful that NESN is forcing its announcers to perform addendums to the commercials instead of calling the game and discussing the Red Sox -- and Orsillo and Remy should have enough clout to object to this embarrassing behaviour. (Either they did not object or they lost the battle with the network.) I'm sure NESN hopes that Orsillo's and Remy's popular booth banter will disguise the advertisements somewhat, but that plan was an utter failure on Sunday.

Start of top of 2nd, (Dunkin Donuts):
Remy: I love that apple pie!

Orsillo: Really?

Remy: Oh, delicious!

Orsillo (suppressing a giggle as Remy seemed a bit too excited): I'll have to try it out.
Top of 2nd, Kotsay batting (NESN program with Charlie Moore):
Remy: Ahh, that should be fun, from beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee.
Bottom of 2nd, after Hall walks (CVS Pharmacy):
Remy: I have to stop in at CVS after the game. I got a few things to pick up before we head out on the next road trip.

Orsillo: I already did today.

Remy: Yeah, I know!
Top of 3rd, Rios batting:
Remy: I was thinking about that Overstocked promo, you know, where they get to flip the numbers on the scoreboard. That's the Ultimate Fan Experience. I think the Ultimate Fan Experience would be able to sit in the dugout during a game, wouldn't you say?
Top of 3rd, Quentin batting (Monster Money/Mass State Lottery):
Remy: I play that all the time. Haven't hit yet, but will continue to play.

Orsillo: You can't win if you don't play.

Remy: I said I play it all the time!

Orsillo: I know, that's what I'm saying. You got to keep playing.
Bottom of 3rd, Ortiz batting (NESN show Pocket Money):
Remy: You know, I've got to start to watch all three of those shows. We just haven't had time.

Orsillo: I know, with the day-night doubleheader and everything else, the road.

Remy: Ten o'clock tonight, I've got to put on Pocket Money. And I need to see the other two new shows, too. I have not seen them yet.

Orsillo: Shining City and, of course, After The Game.

Remy: Right.

Orsillo: You're all over it tonight, though.

Remy: Yeah, there's nothing on tonight.
Start of top of 4th (Cumberland Farms):
Remy: Really good stuff. Really good stuff. 79 cents -- can't beat that.

Orsillo: Cannot beat it. The Chill Zone.
Bottom of 4th, Vizquel batting (Beth Israel Deaconess First Aid Stand):
Remy: Let's hope you don't, but if you do, you are in good hands.

Orsillo: Right here at the ball park, in case you need it.
Start of top of 5th (Red Sox Monster Mondays):
Remy: That's basically a whole half-hour of Tom Caron at 5:30, leading up to the pre-game show.

Orsillo (very quietly): It's not all Tom Caron.

Remy: Wha?

Orsillo: It's not all Tom Caron.

Remy: Well, it's an awful lot of Tom Caron.

Orsillo: There's a segment at 5:35 that isn't Tom Caron. It's 2-1, White Sox on top of the Red Sox.

Remy (Kif Krokeresque): Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh ...

Orsillo: As we head to the bottom of the fourth inning. Bill Hall.

Remy: Yes, make sure you tune in early, because --

Orsillo (laughing): Really early.

Remy: Don Orsillo is on very early. His hit is at 5:36. ... So be sure to tune in early.
Top of 5th, after Rios grounds out (Boston Globe):
Remy: You know, I went all through that Globe today, this morning, from front page to back page. And I looked at the jobs, just in case. You never know what might happen.
Bottom of 5th, Lowrie batting (Red Sox online shop):
Remy: I check that every day, I'm looking for that perfect gift.
Bottom of 5th, Ortiz batting (NESN Daily):
Remy: I actually saw you on that show one time. You did a hit for it. Saw it on the website.
Top of 6th, after Ramirez grounds out (three NESN shows (again)):
Remy (excitedly): Oh! Well, that works out just perfect, because after the game, I'm going to have some dinner.

Orsillo: Where you gonna eat?

Remy: I can't say.
(Right! Because the restaurant hasn't ponied up some $$$ to NESN!)

Top of 6th, Beckham batting (Covidien/Red Sox Foundation "helping to address health needs in our communities"):
Remy: And they do a wonderful job!
Bottom of 6th, after Lowell grounds out (Benjamin Moore Paint):
Remy: You know, I didn't know about that stain until we started reading the promos this year. So I tried it out on the deck in the back of the condo I have.

Orsillo: Outstanding?

Remy: Unbelievable. And the way it holds up to the water is incredible.
There were a few others, though they were minor. Remy noted that the Dunkin' Donuts Dugout had "good seats" and he informed us that you could "follow his [Don's] every move" on NESN's website.

And I swear Remy also noted that there was "nothing like a cold Sam Adams" at some point in the first 45 minutes of the game (I posted about it in the game thread), but I could not find it in the archived broadcast.

This "banter" pretty much stopped in the top of the seventh. It looked like NESN started off slowly, maybe one per half-inning, before cranking it up in the middle innings. Then they left the last few innings alone, on the off chance they were eventful or tense.

NESN is making a huge mistake if it continues overshadowing the game with advertising. It was glaringly apparent what was going on and it detracted greatly from the broadcast. Its very existence was annoying enough, but Remy's stupid banter was the exact opposite of his on-air personality. What will NESN's next great idea be -- adding a whooping sitcom laugh track to the play-by-play?

You can contact NESN at sports@nesn.com or 617-536-9233.

35 comments:

L-girl said...

Great work, thanks for documenting it all.

Someone should send them both our posts. Someone as in me.

johngoldfine said...

There is the awful possibility that what you document is not the addition of a phony ad-lib flavor to the commercials, but it is just dumb stuff Remy feels like saying....

9casey said...

I actually think they do it to be wise-asses....You see how earlier in the year Jerry did a Foxwoods promotion and said he never heard of the band and mocked the band.. now all the Foxwoods ads are read by Tappen or Caron ......


I would think some of the big money sponsors complaind and now they go way over the top...


They are, after all, like a couple of children...

You have to turn on your sarcasm meter to catch all that, but mine is always on..

L-girl said...

I listened to the archived broadcast. This was absolutely not sarcasm. I know when Remy is being sarcastic - he's not exactly subtle - and this didn't sound sarcastic at all.

You see how earlier in the year Jerry did a Foxwoods promotion and said he never heard of the band and mocked the band.. now all the Foxwoods ads are read by Tappen or Caron ......

Exactly. The famous "Weezer" riffs. That's why this was not goofing around or sarcastic. He was dead serious every time.

9casey said...

When he said Apple Pie, you thought he was serious, I laughed immediately....

I watch these 2 to be entertained and at time they are goofy, I like that , yeah the ads suck ..But I believe you 2 might be reading way to much into it...just my opinion.



L-girl said...
I listened to the archived broadcast. This was absolutely not sarcasm.




Really, becaused you missed the game or for this research?

I hope it was because you missed the game.....Listen i am not going to tell you how to spend your time, but listening to these 2 to do ads seems real boring to me...

Woti-woti said...

Yeah,thanks for taking the time to research and post this. It must have felt like cleaning a sewer or something.
I started wracking my brain as the pattern became clear. Had Remy ever done this before and I just didn't remember? Is this mandated from above? Have they been listening to Martinez/Tabler babbles (only with those two the content is obvious baseball points)? And it never stopped, just kind of petered out. Once when Remy went on about all the meds he has to pack for the road trip, I thought, maybe, just maybe. Forgot to take something today? An extra helping from the wrong bottle?
Anyway, L-girl, to my mind, if a NESN exec doesn't realize that the repetition contained in those two posts would drive viewers away, especially when the team starts to lose, then they're zombies.
It's too bad the business of baseball is interfering more and more with my enjoyment of the game. It's sad when you need to plot which shit you want to avoid before you sit down to watch. Then get ambushed like this ...

Mark B. said...

A couple of examples would have done the job. You have WAY too much time on your hands. Just sayin.'

L-girl said...

A couple of examples would have done the job. You have WAY too much time on your hands. Just sayin.'

When someone takes the time to do a complete and thorough job, the appropriate responses are either appreciation, a comment of substance, or shutting up. Just sayin'.

Documenting something accurately is never a waste of time, no matter how much or little of it someone has.

L-girl said...

Really, becaused you missed the game or for this research?

I hope it was because you missed the game.....Listen i am not going to tell you how to spend your time, but listening to these 2 to do ads seems real boring to me...


I can't watch games on the weekend from work. I listened to the game on the radio. Then, because of this post, went back through portions of the broadcast to hear this.

Casey, I'm sure much of what I do would seem boring to you, and I already know that much of what you enjoy would be torture to me. Allan and I are both interested in advertising and how it affects and changes the game. If you're not, you're not. But obviously my interests don't need to seem interesting to anyone but me. Right?

James said...

I've been pretty much only listening to the radio broadcasts all year due to a slow internet connection. Sounds like I'm not missing much.

And even if this is sarcasm, it's that horrible nauseating winking brand of sarcasm like those Grant Hill Sprite ads from the mid 90's, where they would undercut the ad by acknowledging that Grant Hill was getting paid a lot or that Sprite didn't help him play basketball. If he's being sarcastic, it's only to make you feel like you're in on the joke while still mentioning the company's name over and over and over.

So yeah, this is gross and makes me less inclined to watch the game on TV.

FenFan said...

I'm not in the advertising business but I have heard that these in-game promos are a result of people watching recorded programs now more thanks to the DVR. Since you can fast-forward through the commercials, television stations are using the in-game spots more because people obviously won't hit the FF button in the middle of the action.

I agree that it is quite distracting as Laura pointed out a few weeks ago. I would not have spent the time she did but it is an interesting collectiong of data when you think about it.

I have no issue with people wanting to make a buck but it makes the game less enjoyable when a big pop-up ad gets in the way of the action. It's not just the games, either; regular shows are polutted with ads. Even kids shows have them! When is enough enough? Apparently never.

redsock said...

A couple of examples would have done the job. You have WAY too much time on your hands. Just sayin.'

Someone might say that watching 162 baseball games a year is a colossal waste of time. Or reading a lot of books. Or driving across the country. Who the fuck cares? I do what I want.

Part of the reason I did it was on the off chance that other bloggers might link to it and someone at NESN sees it. (And not that it matters, really, because I thought I'd have to do it when I got home, but I ended up doing it at work and was paid for my time and effort.)

I actually think they do it to be wise-asses

Companies who pay lots of money for advertising do not want the people presenting the info to be wise-asses -- or to possibly come off to some viewers as making fun of the product.

Other people are reading promos that Remy used to read because he was incapable of reading them without butchering the information. He clearly spends no time looking at the promos beforehand or practicing them. Plus he still fucks up the ones he has read dozens of times.

I am not a betting man by any means, but I'd wager a small pile of coins that at least a couple sponsors specifically requested that Remy not read (i.e., mangle) their ads.

When he said Apple Pie, you thought he was serious, I laughed immediately....

That was one I had completely missed until I replayed the innings. I laughed too, as did Don (a little bit).

I laughed at most of these bits -- especially the paint one. As Don was reading it, I thought, okay, there is no way Remy can comment on this, what work around the house does he do? But he proved me wrong!

Of course he was not serious. That is part of what annoyed me so much. It was clearly fake and pre-planned. Many times, Remy started his quip immediately after Don finished reading. It was unnatural conversation. Remy knew what ad was coming and had something planned to say.

The list of meds was more in keeping with their usual in-game banter. And I could hear a distinct break between the CVS bit and the list of meds.

And I'll salute Jerry again for saying he takes medication for depression as matter-of-factly as he might say he wears shoes.

***

And now that you have read the post, you are going to be on high alert for these bits tonight, aren't you!!!

L-girl said...

I'm not in the advertising business but I have heard that these in-game promos are a result of people watching recorded programs now more thanks to the DVR.

Yup. That's the reason.

Even kids shows have them!

*Especially* kids shows have them. Kids are a HUGE marketing demographic. They're supposed to watch TV then beg their parents for stuff. That's a huge topic - what kids see, how it shapes them. Insidious and dangerous.

redsock said...

The radio broadcasts are just as bad, though NESN's thing yesterday may put TV in the lead.

I am used to hearing the PBP go right into an ad for windshield wipers as though it is part of the on-field action. But then there is stuff like OB joking about Castig going to Shaw's.

L-girl said...

Allan's recent comment reminds me I should clarify something I said earlier.

I also laughed at several of these. The humour was not lost on me. But these were clearly not off-the-cuff sarcastic comments, like when Don and Jerry banter and rag on each other.

It was the sarcasm that James referred to above - the "irony" school of advertising. I remember when ABC TV did a bunch of NYC subway ads along the lines of "This show is better than doing nothing". Yeah. Cute. The fact that Jerry did them every single time should be the clue that it was a planned, intentional extension of the ads.

L-girl said...

There are few things I find more irritating than readers telling bloggers what they should and shouldn't blog about.

redsock said...

Maybe I should run a poll:

What should I waste my time on next?
__ book review
__ some stat thing
__ dog pictures
__ do not blog today

And how much time should I waste on the post?
__ 5 minutes
__ 1 hour
__ 3 hours
__ go outside, you loser

L-girl said...

go outside, you loser

Here's another poll. What is the bigger waste of time?

(a) Writing a blog post that will be read by thousands of people

(b) Writing a comment that will be read by one person and rejected

I can't decide.

CaKeY said...

Remy: You know, I went all through that Globe today, this morning, from front page to back page. And I looked at the jobs, just in case. You never know what might happen.

That's pretty funny lol.

Woti-woti said...

Yes, I agree that Remy should be commended for the matter-of-fact mention of his anti-depression meds. I always took him for the old-school attitude where this sort of admission was off-limits.
Re: in-game radio ads, the Yankees have the most ridiculous. They have a sponsor for the 15th out. Sterling does it at the start of the bottom 3rd. "The 15th out was brought to you by ..." somebody claiming that a 15-minute phone call can do (something obviously forgettable). Funny, I thought the out was brought to me by a good pitch, or a routine play, or a dumb swing--but a sponsor?
BTW, people dumping on good research or what bloggers choose to write? wtf? Return of the luddites?

redsock said...

BTW, people dumping on good research or what bloggers choose to write? wtf? Return of the luddites?

Do they go to record stores and write down all the names of the musicians whose music they don't care for and then write letters to all of them telling them they wasted their time writing and recording that album?

Now *that's* having too much time of your hands!

Benjamin said...

I watch games with the sound muted, except when there's protracted action on the field that needs explanation like an argument or injury. I'm sure I miss out on some stuff, but it's a price worth paying to avoid the ads between and during the innings, as well as all the other nonsense.

L-girl said...

I watch games with the sound muted, except when there's protracted action on the field that needs explanation like an argument or injury.

I would do the same, but then I have to look at the screen the entire time - can't thread, for one thing, but also can't split attention at all.

That's one thing I enjoy about listening to baseball on the radio. I can be more mobile, less staring at the screen.

How do you thread with the game on mute? Or is that why you thread less these days?

L-girl said...

They have a sponsor for the 15th out. Sterling does it at the start of the bottom 3rd. "The 15th out was brought to you by ..." somebody claiming that a 15-minute phone call can do

Argh. That's in the same category as "safe and secure" at second base.

Perhaps the worst example is the Yankees playing the audio logo of an electronics store when an opposing batter strikes out. Jere referred to this when he linked to my recent post on ads.

redsock said...

I watch games with the sound muted, except when there's protracted action on the field that needs explanation like an argument or injury.

That is exactly what I would do, but as L pointed out, that doesn't work when we are both home.

I have played music during some Wednesday games when she is out. Or we have Sox radio when we have the opposing feed, but I have my issues with them, also!

I can watch, thread, and keep score -- though I do miss pitches while typing (even with NESN on, I miss them, actually). Then I have to go downstairs between innings and get them off GDGD on my main computer. My old laptop is not powerful enough to run GDGD and still allow me to thread.

Woti-woti said...

"Perhaps the worst example ..." So that's an ad for an electronics store? I thought it was just the Yanks mocking the bad guys. An ad! Christ, now it's even more annoying.
What's REALLY annoying is having to listen to the Yanks anyway. On nice Sat/Sun afternoons I take the old transistor to the beach and there is nothing like listening to the old ballgame. Unfortunately, all reachable radio stations around here have gone FM, none carry the Blue Jays anyway, and I'm stuck with pointing the radio towards Syracuse for a faint AM signal. Like nights 50 years ago, pointing the radio towards Hartford 1080 (WTIC?) trying to pull in a Red Sox game.
As much as I bitch about the state of Red Sox coverage or the CRTC-controlled cable universe, it sure beats the old days.

L-girl said...

Woti, perhaps the only thing I miss about my "old days" (you know, when I cheered for that other team) is just turning on my little transistor radio and listening to a game. Now the closest I can get - and I'm grateful to have it - is MLB Audio on my netbook. Not nearly as convenient.

Like nights 50 years ago, pointing the radio towards Hartford 1080 (WTIC?) trying to pull in a Red Sox game.

A few years ago, in our only cottage experience to date, we did exactly this. We were supposed to have internet - didn't - and then found the game on the radio, from Hartford. At night, on the lake in the Kawarthas. Heaven.

Buzz Killington said...

Don't forget about the Southwest Airlines commercials that play during EVERY commercial break.

johngoldfine said...

Mark B--with something like this, a sampling ("a few examples") would have wound up mere anecdote and impression. To make his point stick (and Laura's in that recent post of hers about ads,) they had to shoot for completeness. 'One AB does not a season make' sort of thing.

I don't hear Remy because I only get the games on WEEI but, yeah, I'm old-school (or maybe just old) enough to be a little shocked if a public person talks openly about his depression.

When I was growing up, if my aunt talked about her depression, we knew she was on her way back to McLean's for a few months on the ward. It was terrifying to us because she'd come back so...broken and then carefully put back together--brittle. No effective anti-depression drugs back then, of course.

Benjamin said...

How do you thread with the game on mute? Or is that why you thread less these days?

Baseball has lots of downtime, as its critics often observe. For the rest, there's fast reading and touch typing.

redsock said...

The number of annoying incidents was down during Monday's game against the Rays. I counted only 7 times that Remy extended the commercial/promo with additional blather:

End of T1 - bank
B1, Ortiz AB - apple pie/cider
B2, Drew AB - lotto
T3, Upton AB - beer*
B5, after Nava - first aid**
T7, Jennings AB - paint***
T7, Atchison in - ****

*: had to be prodded by Orsillo
**: very minor mention
***: way overboard; holy shit, what a whore! they must have paid extra!!
****: cannot read my writing, looks like "after game (don house)"; ??

There were just as many times that I expected Remy to jump in, based on Sunday's game, but he did not.

L-girl said...

Don't forget about the Southwest Airlines commercials that play during EVERY commercial break.

Way ahead of you, buzz. See the link "Laura" in the first sentence of this post.

L-girl said...

fast reading and touch typing

I read super-fast and I doubt anyone here types faster than me. But if sound is not on, I can't really thread. Your brain must be much more nimble than mine.

L-girl said...

I don't hear Remy because I only get the games on WEEI but, yeah, I'm old-school (or maybe just old) enough to be a little shocked if a public person talks openly about his depression.

It is a very recent phenomenon, and a wonderful one. I think that's one of the things that the new breed of anti-depressants have done for society - more people are understanding it as a disease and a not a personal weakness or failing.

I am especially encouraged when people in the sports world talk about depression. If you followed the story about Gareth Thomas, the UK rugby icon who came out as gay, a lot of it was about depression and suicidal feelings, brought on by being closeted. He was very open about that, too, which I thought was great.

johngoldfine said...

Even after having been clinically depressed myself, I still can't help feeling (though not thinking) that it's "a personal weakness or failing."

The reason one tends to blame oneself, I think, is that even in the toils of the deepest black dog of despair, there's a small clear rational bell tolling you back to sanity. And you say: "If I know better, then why the fuck do I feel so bad? It's absurd. I. Do. Know. Better."

So, your reason is at war with your feelings and whatever is screwed up in your brain chemistry and is telling you to swiften up, y'wimp.

Long after the depression is gone, that's what remains....