If Don Orsillo didn’t know how much he will be missed, he knows it now.
Before the top of the eighth inning, the Red Sox showed a shot of Orsillo, the play-by-play announcer on NESN’s broadcasts, on the scoreboard and the response was a huge standing ovation and roar from the Fenway Park crowd.
Orsillo, who has handled his ousting with grace and dignity, gestured to the crowd, and pounded his heart with his hand.
“Thanked the fans from the bottom of my heart,” Orsillo said. “I appreciate all of their support. I’ve heard them all in the last month. Having grown up here as a Red Sox fan, to have that happen here as a Red Sox fan, I’ll take that with me to my grave.”
Red Sox players and coaches also joined the tribute for Orsillo, clapping and looking toward the broadcast booth.
Orsillo has not made one public comment about his dismissal.
Orsillo said he “had no idea” the scoreboard video acknowledgment was coming.
Asked if he was surprised the Red Sox did it, he said “I’m thankful to the fans. I have nothing to say about that.”
His longtime broadcast partner, Jerry Remy, was not surprised by the show of support.
“Just shows how special these people are and how much they respect what goes on around here,” Remy said. “I expected something. Don spent 15 years here. A lot of class here, and they showed it.”
Remy said, “I couldn’t look at him” after Orsillo received the ovation. It took a batter for Orsillo to regain his composure, he said, but even after the game Orsillo was filled with emotion.
Orsillo could land with the San Diego Padres broadcast team following Dick Enberg’s announcement he is retiring after the 2016 season. Orsillo also could land a national assignment on one of the major networks.
NESN is replacing Orsillo with Dave O’Brien, who has been with Joe Castiglione on Red Sox radio broadcasts and also works as an ESPN play-by-play announcer.
The groundswell of support for Orsillo has been off the charts. He generated more than 60,000 signatures on a petition to save his job after news broke that this would be his final season on NESN.
Follow Nick Cafardo on Twitter at @nickcafardo.