Orsillo excited for new chapter with Padres
SAN DIEGO -- He has been humbled, disappointed and flattered by the events of the past month, but on Thursday new Padres broadcaster Don Orsillo sounded like he was energized about what lies ahead for him.
"At times, it's been a challenge," said Orsillo from Yankee Stadium, where he was preparing to call his final Red Sox games for NESN. "The end of my career with the Red Sox, I did not see coming. It was a very good 15 years and I'll never forget the fans and the tribute they gave me last Sunday [at Fenway Park].
"But I have looked ahead since [the Padres] came to me … and when they were interested in having me come to San Diego, it sort of switched my focus."
Next season, the 46-year-old Orsillo will be part of the Padres' broadcast team on television and radio before making the full-time transition to television in '17 -- the place he's most comfortable, having been a fixture on NESN, the Red Sox's television flagship, for the past 15 seasons.
Earlier this month, NESN opted to replace Orsillo with Dave O'Brien. The dismay among Red Sox nation was palpable, as 60,000 or so fans signed a petition to get NESN to reverse its decision.
But once the Padres made a grand overture to Orsillo -- not to mention with what is being reported as a six-year deal -- as executive chairman Ron Fowler and team president and CEO Mike Dee flew to Boston to court him, Orsillo was sold.
"I was ready for a new chapter," Orsillo said.
Orsillo said there were several teams that expressed interest in him, but that the Padres might have had a leg up due to his relationship with Dee, whom worked for eight years for the Red Sox (2002-09), the last seven as the COO.
"My relationship with Mike Dee played a large role for me. When Mike was with us with the Red Sox, he was looked at as a great executive and did some great things in Boston," Orsillo said. "The fact Mike Dee was involved is a big reason I went the direction I went."
This won't be Orsillo's first taste of calling Padres games. While working his first national game for TBS in 2007, Orsillo called the infamous Game 163 loss to the Rockies that kept the Padres from the playoffs.
"It was incredibly exciting and, I know, excruciating for Padres fans," Orsillo said.
One of the hurdles Orsillo needed to tackle before accepting the Padres' offer was to clear the decision with his daughters, Sydney, 15, and Madison, 12.
"I think it's sort of a work in progress. With my kids, [they] live Rhode Island and they will remain in Rhode Island but I hope they will come often to San Diego," said Orsillo, who is divorced.
"I plan to fully be in San Diego year-round. Having them as far away did [factor] some into consideration and was somewhat of a challenge. I do think we're going to make it work."
As for jumping back in the radio booth -- something that he hasn't done in 15 years when he called games for Triple-A Pawtucket -- Orsillo said that he is excited for the opportunity.
"I'm looking forward to it. Radio was sort of my first love. On TV you could see [the action], but on radio you're painting the picture. It will be different and will be fun doing both the first year."