FORT MYERS, Fla. -- An enthusiastic Jerry Remy arrived at Spring Training ready to get to work for his 30th season of broadcasting Red Sox games. This, after a trying winter in which he battled lung cancer for the fourth time.The popular analyst will call his first game for NESN
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- An enthusiastic Jerry Remy arrived at Spring Training ready to get to work for his 30th season of broadcasting Red Sox games. This, after a trying winter in which he battled lung cancer for the fourth time.
The popular analyst will call his first game for NESN on March 25, and he will spend the next couple of weeks soaking up the atmosphere of being around the game he loves.
Remy underwent a procedure in January to have the cancerous growth removed surgically. No chemotherapy or radiation was needed.
"They went in with kind of like a needle and they actually burned it out," said Remy.
The best news came at the end of last week, when his doctor gave him the all-clear to fly to Spring Training. Remy arrived in Fort Myers on Tuesday, but the Red Sox had been on a three-day trip to the East Coast of Florida before returning home to play Team USA on Thursday.
"I didn't feel so good about two months ago, but now I'm feeling really good," said Remy. "Glad to be down here and put that stuff behind me in an atmosphere where I'm comfortable, change my mindset from what I've been going through the last four months, and now I'm doing what I love to do, and that's being around baseball."
The 64-year-old Remy hopes that he can beat cancer for good this time, and he knows that finally being able to quit smoking will be the key to reaching that goal.
"I haven't had a smoke in a while. It's like being an alcoholic. You never say never," Remy said. "You take it one day at a time. This is the fourth time I've had lung cancer. I picked up a terrible habit when I was 16 years old and was never able to stop. I'm sure that's why I've had lung cancer. There are a lot of people who are not smokers that have lung cancer, but I'm quite sure that's the reason I have it."
Considering that Remy played for the Red Sox from 1978-84 and has broadcast their games since '88, he has been a fixture in New England living rooms for nearly four decades.
"I'm very proud to be a member of the Red Sox for almost 40 years," Remy said. "I don't think there's been an analyst that's done 30 years of Red Sox baseball, and I don't think there will be another one. And I'm very proud of that too."
For the native of Somerset, Mass., this has truly been more than he could have dreamed of.
"I remember as a little kid being in my front yard during the '67 season," said Remy. "I was 14 or 15 years old. And throwing a tennis ball up against the steps in front of my front door, which drove my parents crazy, because every time I missed, it would hit the screen door and make a loud boom and the whole neighborhood would get upset.
"I remember being out there, I made up games. I was George Scott and I was Joe Foy and I was Rico and I was Mike Andrews and I was Yaz. I was all of them. Sitting there thinking, just being in love with the game, I listened to every game on the radio. To eventually play for them and then work for them, I've been pretty lucky."
The broadcasting was something that just kind of happened when Remy tried to figure out a career after his playing days were over.
Younger fans might assume Remy always sounded like a natural behind the mic. But he has a story for them.
"The first couple of years, I was absolutely terrible," Remy said. "I hated it. I said I made a major mistake. I should've stayed with the coaching and managing part of it. But as I grew to understand television, I think that made the job like 80 percent easier, and then the baseball started to come out.
"I was so focused on the TV end of it, which I knew nothing about. I didn't know how to do a replay. I didn't know how to communicate with the people. I remember games in Spring Training my first year with Ned Martin, and I didn't know what the score was. I was horrible. I used to pray for days off, for rainouts.
"Then all of a sudden it clicked for me. There wasn't a magic moment, but somehow I remember hearing [one time] from the truck, 'Now that's how you analyze,' and I kind of built on that."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.