Sean McDonough has never been shy about criticizing the Red Sox, whether during his tenure as a television play-by-play voice from 1988-2004 or more recently on select WEEI radio broadcasts.
Still, it was somewhat surprising — I’d also call it refreshing — to hear McDonough’s candid commentary during Sunday’s Red Sox-Dodgers broadcast regarding the decision to trade Mookie Betts to Los Angeles before the 2020 season.
Betts spent the weekend tormenting the Red Sox, going 7 for 15 with five runs and four RBIs as the Dodgers won two of three games at Fenway.
When Betts hit a two-run home run into the Monster Seats in the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ 7-4 win Sunday, this is how the dialogue went between McDonough and Joe Castiglione, who called the play-by-play of Betts’s blast, his 35th home run of the season.
McDonough: “It’s a trade that can never be defended and a stain that will never be erased, the trade of Mookie Betts by the Red Sox.”
Castiglione: “Certainly a generational player.”
McDonough: “Plays with a smile on his face. He’s everything you’d want in a player, on and off the field.”
McDonough said Monday morning via text that he hadn’t received any pushback from Red Sox management for the comment.
Before the 2005 season, McDonough was blindsided when his contract option wasn’t picked up. He had turned down a play-by-play opportunity with the Mets to remain as the voice of Red Sox games on Channels 38 and 4, with Don Orsillo calling the games on NESN.
The reason given for not picking up McDonough’s contract was the desire for “continuity” among the broadcasts. McDonough believed it to be a financial decision, since he made more in salary than Orsillo.
Because McDonough was always frank about the state of the team, there was speculation at the time that his candor cost him the job. But in a post explaining the situation on former broadcast partner Jerry Remy’s website, The Remy Report, McDonough said he did not believe his bluntness was a factor.
“I don’t think that it was,” he wrote in December 2004. “This was not mentioned by anyone I spoke with as a reason for my termination, nor am I aware of anything that I said in the past few years that ‘ruffled any feathers.’ ”