Jerry Remy announces he will return to Red Sox broadcasts, discusses absence after Jared Remy’s arrest
|01.27.14 at 4:00 pm ET|
In a gathering with a small group of reporters at the NESN studios that lasted approximately 30 minutes, Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy said he will be returning as color analyst for the 2014 season.
The 61-year-old Remy left the booth on Aug. 15 of last season after the arrest of his son, Jared, who was accused of stabbing his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel. A trial is set for Oct. 7, with the younger Remy being incarcerated without bail.
Remy said he was leaning toward not returning to the booth — where he will be rejoining play-by-play man Don Orsillo – as late as New Year’s Day. But after continued support from a close-knit group of friends and his wife, Phoebe, along with news that he was experiencing no health problems, the former Red Sox second baseman made the decision to return for his 26th season.
(Remy has battled lung cancer and depression, but he has continued to receive clean bills of health, with his latest successful CT scan having been taken 10 days ago.)
Remy wished to make it clear that the focus of his message Monday was to pass along his sympathies toward the Martel family. He said he and his wife have applied for custody of Jared and Jennifer’s young daughter, along with two other parties, including the Martel family.
The following is Remy’s opening statement made to WEEI.com, the Boston Herald, The Boston Globe, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, and the Providence Journal:
“Last August 15, we lost a beautiful woman. She was energetic. She was a wonderful mother. She was a person who was trying to make better for herself through going to school, wanted to become a teacher. It’s been an incredible loss, obviously, to the Martel family to lose their daughter Jen. Jen was also very close with us, very close with my family, with my daughter, with my son. We can’t even imagine or feel the pain that the Martels are going through and have been going through daily since this tragedy. We’ve also gone through a lot of pain. I don’t want in any way to take away from what they’ve had to deal with, what they’ve had to go through. But by far the worst day of my life, and obviously the worst day of the Martels’ life. They don’t have the benefit now of speaking to her, talking to her. They’ll never see her again. Her daughter will never see her again. We at least get the chance to talk to our son through phone calls from incarceration or visits.
“People have told me in time that things get better. Time has not gotten things better. I still feel the same way today as I felt on the night of August 15. We were doing a game in Toronto. I got on the team bus going to the hotel. I was notified by somebody on the bus that some reporter was trying to reach me because there was an incident, and my initial reaction was that the incident was from the night before and I didn’t pay it much mind, but then it started to bother me, so I called my wife, and she gave me the news that Jen was dead. Obviously I was in shock on the ride home from Toronto, and I apologize to the media for not being available to them at that particular time, but I was in no condition to talk about it or even imagine it.
“At that particular time, as the days went on, I got away from here for about four or five days. They were hanging around the house, waiting for a comment, and I wasn’t ready to give it. I hid away at a friend’s house for four or five days. It gave us a chance a little bit to get our thoughts together, to get our emotions together, and see exactly where we were with this. It became worse and worse. The initial shock, the initial grief all got worse. There was no possible way that I felt I could come back last year to do Red Sox baseball. We had a discussion with NESN people, with the Red Sox people. They had wanted me to come back, but I couldn’t do it. They respected my wishes and said that you’d be welcome back any time you want to come back.
“During that span, I didn’t watch any games. I couldn’t tell you what happened from August 15 to the playoffs. I did watch the playoffs. I did watch the World Series. Once the World Series was over, the trickle-down effect of this tragedy was even more than I could imagine — how it affected not only the Martel family, obviously, but also how it affected our family. I just fell into a thing where every day, something was popping up that was worse than the day before. At that particular time, I was giving no thought at all to whether I was going to be back doing this, not doing it, didn’t care. If you’d asked me in November, December, if I’d be back, the answer would have been no. We were going through and are still going through issues almost on a daily basis between custody, between, obviously, my son’s upcoming trial. There’s a lot on everybody’s plate. I felt, for a couple of months, two or three months, that was over, there was no way I was coming back. I had two main concerns — obviously, what the public would think, and whether I could be myself. My answers at that time were no. I had a very small circle of friends, three very good friends of my wife who were encouraging me to reconsider the way I felt or at least give it time, give it more time. I promised them that I would do that. I couldn’t find a reason to come back. I just couldn’t find it.
“Right around the turn of the year, after a miserable holiday season, that baseball clock clicks in a little bit, and people reminded me — my inner circle of friends and my wife — about my career and where it came from and where it is. I got drafted as a baseball player. I got drafted last and made it to the big leagues. I wanted to quit. My father talked me out of it. I made it to the big leagues. When I started this job — awful. I was terrible. I couldn’t wait for the first season to be over because I wanted out. I didn’t quit. I continued on for 26 years. When I got cancer, I wanted to quit. I didn’t. It threw me into a depression. I came back. I continued on. Some of these things started to resonate a little bit with me. I’ve never been a quitter, and I don’t intend to be one now. I’ve been in professional baseball in some capacity for 40 years. It’s what I do. It’s what I know. It’s where my comfort level is. It’s where I feel I belong and where I feel that I’m going to continue to do so for as long as possible.
“I must say that I hope in no way that my decision to come back to do games has a negative impact on the Martel family. I’m quite certain they’ll understand that we have to make a living. Unfortunately, mine is in the public eye. I think they’ll understand that. We have spoken to the Martels. Phoebe and I have expressed our condolences to the family and to the brother and the sister-in-law. It seemed to be received. We can understand their anger. I would feel the same way.
“It was really three friends of mine and my wife that got me off the schneid because I had been trying to tell my family that we have to move on in some capacity and live our lives, yet I was one that was resisting that. I think it’s up to me to set an example to go on and live my life. Unfortunately — well, fortunately or unfortunately — it’s in the public eye, and it makes it a little bit different than some other things.
“I’m open to taking any questions that you have. I just want to be super sensitive to the Martel family with all of this because we do feel horrible for them. We just can’t imagine what it’s like, waking up every morning and not being able to be with your daughter who is a very, very special person.”
Following is the question and answer session that followed Remy’s opening statement.
When did you decide to come back?
About a week ago.
What do you think your first broadcast will be like?
I don’t know. I really don’t know the answers to those questions. I had kind of knew I was going to come back but I had one more hurdle to climb and that was to get my CT scan. I wanted to make sure I was cancer-free so I wouldn’t have anything interrupted during treatment and spring training and the season before I said I would be back. Once I got the clean bill of health about a week ago, that’s when I made my final decision
Have you talked to Don?
Yes. Matter of fact, we talked today
Have you talked about how you’re going to be light during the broadcast again?
Yes, he asked me that question today, as a matter of fact. I said, “Don, I’m going to be myself.” That’s what I’ve always been. I don’t see how else I can do it. If I didn’t think I could be myself, I wouldn’t do it. I hope that doesn’t come off as insensitive. It may to some, but it’s the only way I know how to do my job. He asked me that same question 45 minutes ago and I gave him the same answer. I said, “We’ll take it as we always do. The game is most important, first of all. Anything that flows off the game, you go with it.” If people think that’s insensitive, I’m sure I’ll hear about.
Have you heard anything from fans?
I’ve gotten quite a bit of mail and most of it has been prayers for the Martel family, my family. I’ve tried to stay away as much as possible from blogs, what people have to say. I’ve tried to make up my own mind. I’m sure there will be people out there who will be very upset with me, and I’m sure there will be people that are happy I’m coming back. I have no way to predict right now what the response is going to be. I know one thing, I work for very smart people here at NESN and with the Red Sox and if the response is overwhelming negative, they’ll take care of it.
What convinced you you can be yourself?
It’s the only way I know how to do a game. I do a game a little bit different than a lot of people. Some people enjoy it, some people don’t. It’s the way I’ve always done the games and it’s the only way I can see I can do it that way. What it would be like if I came back — I’ve thought of all these things 1,000 times. What would it be like to come back and be, “Ball one, ball two, pitch just missed outside.” Big deal. Baseball lends itself sometimes unfortunately to a lot of time where there’s a lot of banter that goes back and forth. A lot of people have liked that and some people haven’t. I’m sure the same people now will say the same thing. But that’s the only way I know how to do a game. If I’m going to come back to the job those were two of the questions I was going to have to answer, and I tried to answer them the best I can.
Have you thought about being around other than broadcasts?
My comfort zone has always been innings 1-9, hopefully just nine. The other stuff is all part of the job that you have to do to prepare for those 1-9. I’m ready for that. That doesn’t bother me. For example, last year during the playoffs and the World Series I was getting texts from John Farrell in the middle of all of what he was going through, wishing me the best, hoping I was doing fine. It’s things like that you don’t forget, make you feel good and make you feel wanted. Red Sox ownership and NESN have been incredibly in my favor. I’ve had two or three conversations with John Henry. Obviously I’ve had more than that with Sean McGrail. They were always on the same page. The reason I wanted to do this today is because I didn’t want it to become a story in spring training. I wanted it to be over with and move on. As I’ve been trying to tell everybody else to do, move on. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, it’s just something we have to do.
How do you prepare for the media blitz around the trial?
It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. There is going to be more stuff to come out. There’s going to be a trial in October which will probably be pushed back. I think it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen. I’m trying to take it one step at a time. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s really the only thing we can possibly do. Criticism hurts, obviously. The fact you aren’t good parents — you can call me a bad father if you want, but I’ll be damned if my wife isn’t a good parent.
Any parenting regrets with so much of life on the road?
It’s no excuse. It’s no excuse. There are a lot of people that have jobs that cause travel, that cause them to be away from their families a lot. It’s no excuse. Jared has had issues from a very young age and we as a family have tried to do the best we possibly can to address those issues. It takes two to tango. Everybody knows about his past. Like I said, I’ll be damned if my wife didn’t do the best possible job any mother could do. I’ve tried to do the best possible job I could do. Sometimes things just don’t work out. We’ve tried the best we possibly could to get him the help that he needed. Did we ever anticipate this? No. But it just ended up in a very, very disgusting and tragic way. As I said, we still have the benefit of talking and communicating. The Martels don’t.
When did you talk to the Martels?
This was earlier in a courtroom appearance. We felt obviously we had to go up and say something. I have not discussed my comeback with them. I certainly hope they understand. This is what I know. This is my job. This is what I’ve done. You can’t do it outside the public eye. As I said, it’s no easier for me today than it was on August the 15th.
Will discussion regarding issues be a problem?
I hope not. I hope that by doing it now, we can get the message across and hopefully we can get down there and play baseball and concentrate on that and not my issues. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to get it out of the way now. I think people are aware of the story and they’ll be more so after this and I think we go down and just do baseball.
Some of the requests have been unbelievable – Dr. Phil, ABC Morning News. It’s crazy. We obviously rejected all of those things. We never considered doing anything like that. It became kind of a national thing and something I was unprepared to deal with, and I wouldn’t want to deal with it in that way anyway.
Regarding his granddaughter:
We’ve applied for custody. Can’t tell you how that’s going to come out. This is a little girl that’s going to grow up with no mother and no father, who’s probably going to have issues that we can’t even imagine at this point.
Do the Martels also want custody?
They don’t have custody yet, but there are three parties interested in custody, and that’s as far as I really want to go with that.
Will you be comfortable in the booth?
I hope so. It’s always been my comfort zone, for 40 years. I can’t sit there. I just can’t sit in my chair. I’ve been there long enough already. I’ve got to be busy. I’ve got to do something to preoccupy myself. I need to do something I enjoy. And this is what I enjoy doing and I always have. I’ve done it for 26 years. This will be No. 27 as an announcer. I still enjoy it. I’m not crazy about the 4 o’clock arrivals, but the game itself I truly love, and I always have and I still do, and that’s not going to go away. So hopefully it will be therapeutic in some ways.
Did you consider another role other than the broadcast?
I wouldn’t do that. First of all, it was never proposed. I consider myself a game guy. I don’t think I excel in a role in a studio. I just enjoy doing the games. If it was a decision between coming back as a game analyst or — I’m not knocking studio people — but it’s just not my cup of tea. I would’ve said no. That’s not my comfort level.
It’s good. Every four months when I go in for a CT scan, I’m scared [expletive]-less that something’s going to pop up. To know you don’t have cancer is always a good thing.
Have you gone out in public very much?
I can’t say I’ve been out very much, no. I never go out very much. For the first couple of months, we did nothing. It’s embarrassing. I feel embarrassed by a lot of this. It’s tough to get past that point. The way we started doing things was going to dinner a little bit. Took my grandson to a Providence College basketball game this weekend. But as far as going out, no, I’ve been pretty much a Howard Hughes with no money.
What have your emotions been like over the past few months?
It’s been a full range of emotions: from disbelief to anger to self-reflection. You still get a chance to talk with him. The only time he’s ever talked about it was in his initial conversation with his mother, he made a comment. Since that time, our conversations have basically been about his children and football, college football, which I know nothing about and he knows everything about. Sports and stuff like that. You have to be careful what you say on the phone from jail anyway, because everything is recorded. You can’t have much conversation about stuff like that. It’s been very, very difficult.
As I said, I’ve run the full [gamut]. He’s still my son.
On where things stand with Jared:
I think things are pretty clear. He’s in jail with no bail. He has representation. Ed Ryan can probably give you a better outlook than I can. This is not a case where you’re trying to get away for murder.
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