On the occasions when Pedro Martinez makes an electronic media appearance — popping in with Joe Castiglione and friends on WEEI’s radio broadcast, or, as happened Tuesday, sitting in with Don Orsillo and novice color analyst Derek Lowe on NESN for an inning or two — the feeling is always the same after it’s over.
Why doesn’t Martinez — candid, current, off-the-charts charismatic, as accomplished as any contemporary player, and master of a dry, nuanced sense of humor in his second language — do this more often?
Well, good news. Turns out he will, though nationally rather than locally.
Martinez, who went 117-37 and won a pair of Cy Young Awards for the Red Sox from 1998-2004, will join TBS’s studio broadcast team when the postseason begins next month, according to multiple industry sources.
Martinez will join host Keith Olbermann in the studio, perhaps along with another familiar name.
Bobby Valentine, the one-and-done manager of the Red Sox during the disastrous 2012 season, is expected to be part of the program, too. He auditioned in New York recently around the same time Martinez did.
But Valentine caused one of his patented self-inflicted controversies when he said the Yankees weren’t as involved as the Mets, whom he managed at the time, in aiding New Yorkers after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
His presence could be particularly awkward given that Olbermann laid into him and designated him his Worst Person in the World on his Tuesday night ESPN2 program for those 9/11 comments.
There are no indications thus far that TBS will backtrack and decide not to use Valentine, but it bears watching.
Initially, it was believed that Dennis Eckersley, who has been exceptional filling in for Jerry Remy on NESN telecasts, would be in the studio with Martinez. But he’s expected to be paired with Orsillo in the booth to call a Division Series that doesn’t involve the Red Sox.
It’s uncertain whether Eckersley would be moved back to the studio after the Division Series are over. But it would be wise for TBS to do so.
When Martinez visited the NESN booth in late May, joining Orsillo and Eckersley, the chemistry between the two ex-hurlers was exceptional, their analysis essentially becoming a condensed master class on pitching as Orsillo wisely stepped back and let them converse.
TBS has made wholesale changes on its studio programming since last postseason. Cal Ripken Jr. has moved from the studio to the broadcast booth, while Olbermann replaces the more-than-capable Matt Winer. Martinez fills a spot vacated by David Wells, who never seemed particularly prepared and no longer is part of TBS’s plans.
It’s uncertain whether TBS plans to feature a guest studio analyst this year. But it won’t be last year’s choice: Shane Victorino looks to be booked for October.
TBS isn’t expected to formally announce its studio team and broadcast pairings until the week before the postseason begins. The network has the National League wild-card game on Tuesday, Oct. 1, as well as the AL wild-card game the next day.
TBS will keep Martinez and the rest of the studio crew very busy. Overall, TBS has rights to 18 of the 20 Division Series games. That includes three of the four games on Friday, Oct. 4, and up to three games on Monday, Oct. 7. MLB Network will air one Division Series game on both of those dates.
TBS is also the home of the NLCS, with the ALCS and the World Series (beginning Oct. 23) airing on Fox.
Deft hockey move
As disappointing as it was that NESN decided not to bring back Naoko Funayama, its respected rinkside reporter on Bruins telecasts since 2008, the network has made a smart decision in moving Jamie Erdahl into the role.
Erdahl, who joined NESN last November, thrived this summer as the fill-in reporter for Jenny Dell on Red Sox telecasts. Executives from other networks took notice of her professionalism and knack for easy banter with Orsillo and Remy as well as fans. She has drawn frequent comparisons to Carolyn Manno and Wendi Nix, both of whom have gone on to build a respected national name.
NESN was also wise to give a more prominent studio role to Billy Jaffe, who is particularly adept at explaining complex hockey concepts concisely while breaking down video.
Dialed in to 98.5?
The Celtics are expected to reveal their new radio home as soon as Friday. All indications are that it will be 98.5 The Sports Hub, as CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely wrote Thursday. As was noted here when the Celtics and Entercom/WEEI parted in August, any scheduling conflict on The Sports Hub, the home of the Bruins, is easily resolved. Its parent company, CBS Radio, owns four other stations in Boston. The Celtics, who will likely play to low ratings as they rebuild post-New Big Three, could be moved on any night the Bruins are playing . . . Abridged review of the first episode of “Behind the B,” NESN’s thus-far entertaining, a-lot-of-access-but-not-all-access look at the Bruins: More of Cam Neely, Peter Chiarelli, and the front-office inner circle candidly assessing players. Did anyone want to keep Tyler Seguin? Sure doesn’t appear so. Also: Less of Mr. and Mrs. Loui Eriksson devouring pasta and the family-oriented stuff. It’s fine in moderation, but too much cuts into the juicy insight the diehards tune in for.