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Jerry Remy on D&C: ‘I’m just going to come back and see how it goes’

01.28.14 at 10:05 am ET
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One day after he announced that he would return to NESN Red Sox broadcasts, Jerry Remy joined Dennis & Callahan to expound on his decision and discuss his emotional struggles. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Remy’s son, Jared, remains in jail after being charged with the murder of Jennifer Martel, his live-in girlfriend and mother of their young child. Remy took leave from NESN after learning of the Aug. 15 incident. He said he did not watch any more Red Sox games until the playoffs, and he was unsure if he would attempt to return for his 27th season until this month.

A somber Remy, who also has battled serious health problems the last few years, admitted he does not know if his return will be successful, but he’s convinced he needed to try.

“I’m just going to come back and see how it goes,” he said. “As I said yesterday, I said I work for very smart people, both at NESN and with the Red Sox, who have been very, very supportive. They’ll know. They’re smart people. They’ll know whether it’s going to work or not work. And if it doesn’t work, they’ll make the proper adjustments. But I’m confident that it will work. I wouldn’t be coming back if I didn’t think that.”

Remy expressed sympathy for Martel’s family and said he understood his return to the public eye is not likely to be received well by everyone.

“When you have something like this affect two families, it’s not something that you easily pass by,” he said. “I’ve said over and over, our thoughts and prayers are with the Martel family. We feel awful. As I said yesterday, they get up every morning and they have no daughter. They can’t speak with her, they can’t talk with her. On the other side, it also affected our family in a different way. It’s a lose-lose for everybody.

“Part of my decision-making took into account their family issues and what they may think about this. I’m sure they’re not pleased. I don’t know. I had to kind of look past that a little bit without losing sight of what had transpired. I had to make a decision for my family and for myself.

“As I said yesterday, I’ve been in baseball for 40 years, professional baseball. It’s my release. It’s what I do, it’s what I enjoy doing, what I enjoy to continue to do and hope to do for a long time. I just can’t sit here as I have the last three months and go over this in my mind almost every minute of the day. I have to be active in some way. But I promise you that this will never be forgotten. It’s something that’s going to stick with me obviously the rest of my life. And there’s not a day goes by that we don’t think about it.”

Remy is known for his light banter with play-by-plan man Don Orsillo, and he said he has no plans to change his approach.

“That was part of one of the things that I was really battling with,” he said. “My style’s a little bit different than a lot of guys. I really did battle with that. I said if I’m going to do this, I’m going to have to do it the way that I’ve done it  for the last 26 years. My hope is that it does not come off insensitive to people because that’s certainly not the intent.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen in games. We don’t script what’s going to happen in games. It just happens. Hopefully the share of games will be a 2-1 game and there’ll be no time for banter. I don’t know. Those are issues I’ve had to deal with, and I’ve tried to do the best I possibly can. In my own mind, I’m this morning comfortable with my decision. I know there will be some backlash; I certainly expect that. But I had a to make [a decision], I made one that I thought was best for everybody involved. And we’ll move on from here.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On if he considered sitting out until after the trial: “I was going to either come back or not come back. I for the longest period thought there was not way this was going to be possible, with the frame on mind I was in. Taking everything into consideration, no, I would not go to my boss and say, ‘Can I have another year off because there’s going to be a trial and there’s going to be this and there’s going to be that.’ I had to make a decision now, and my decision obviously was to continue on.

“I’ve gone through this with friends and family back and forth probably since the World Series was over. They had a lot of heavy convincing to do to me on why I should go back. They won out.”

On if he thought it was a possibly his son could end up in such a dire situation: “There’s no question that Jared’s had a number of issues. We tried as a family to do the best we possibly could to address those. It takes two to make things happen.

“Did I think it would come to this? No, I didn’t think it would come to this. Did I think there’d be trouble in his future? Yes. I dreaded that. He had had trouble in the past; he’d spent time in jail previous to this. We knew there were issues and we tried to do as a family the best that we possibly could with those. You can’t always be successful. We were not successful.

“As I said yesterday, if you want to call somebody a bad parent, please address it to me. My wife has been a terrific [mother] to our children. I hate to see her going through the pain that she’s been going through. If there’s somebody to blame, just blame me.”

On if he looks back and now thinks about the possibility that he may have been an enabler to his son: “Sure I do. Sure I do. I think about it all the time. This has brought a lot of reflection, past reflection, what did we do right, what did we do wrong. Was I an enabler? Yeah, I probably was. Probably with all of my kids. Would I do things differently now? Obviously with the end result you would hope you would maybe do something different. But I don’t know what I could have done different.

“I just feel awful about the fact that the granddaughter is going to grow up without her mother, who was a very caring, a very loving woman who was trying to make herself a better life, taking college courses to become a teacher. Very, very close to our family also, along with her family. It was an incredible loss.

“So you reflect on all those things, and what could I have done differently. That drives you crazy every single day that you think about that. I don’t know. Enabler? Yeah. Did I pay for an apartment? Yeah. Did I do certain things? Yes. Did I encourage violence? No. Did I try to get help for him? Absolutely. So it’s a complex issue. It’s a complex issue that had a terrible result.”

On his granddaughter’s future: “I’d really rather not comment on that right now. There are three loving families that are trying to get her through custody. We’ll see how that comes out right now. But it’s a little girl that is not going to have a mother, is not going to have a father, is going to have issues to deal with, obviously, as she grows up. We’re fortunate that we do get to see her. But other than that, I’d kind of like to stay away from talking about the kids.”

On if Jared’s problems stemmed from issues that were psychological, pharmaceutical or alcohol-based: “Probably a combination of all of it. There were steroids involved. He had learning issues as a kid, which developed into self-confidence issues. I really don’t want to talk much about Jared. There are issues, every family has issues. And every family deals with them differently, some successful, some not. In my case, not. Right now he’s paying the price for his actions, and he will be for a long time.”

On how his wife is doing: “Not well. It’s been a strain, obviously. Life has changed. Life is not what it was prior to August 15th. Anybody who would tell you that as time goes on things get better is full of baloney. It doesn’t get better. It sticks with you every day. It’s on your mind when you go to bed at night, it’s on your mind when you wake up in the morning. It stays with you throughout the day. The trickle-down effect from the initial incident is incredible. It’s wake up one day and say, ‘What today?’ She’s not doing well.”

On if he asked Don Orsillo for his opinion before making his decision: “No, I didn’t. I’ve tried to keep co-workers out of it. I’ve tried to come up with my own decision. Really, they have their own lives to live. They have their own families. They have their own issues to deal with. They don’t need mine. We did speak yesterday prior to the press conference and I told Don I was coming back. One of the questions he had to me is, ‘Can we be the same?’And I said, ‘Yes, we can be the same.’ That’s pretty much it.

“I didn’t let on one way or the other to any of them what my final decision was going to be, because they don’t need to be burdened with that. This is not their issue.”

On if he felt anyone at NESN or within the Red Sox organization didn’t want him back: “No, they were all very supportive. We had a meeting at the end of last season. There was some talk about possibly coming back at the end of last year. I was not obviously in any condition to do that. We met with NESN brass and Red Sox brass, ownership, at Fenway Park, and I expressed my concerns. They backed me 100 percent and told me at that time I was welcome to NESN anytime I felt I wanted to come back. So, that was encouraging that they had that to say at a very difficult time.

“That also weighed into my decision, that I did have the backing of my bosses, and it was really my decision to make. I received many phone calls through this period. Sean McGrail at NESN, very supportive. I received a few calls from John Henry, who was very supportive. I thanked him for that. It was never an issue of, ‘You’re not coming back,’ or, ‘We’re going to find a different slot for you.’ That just wasn’t the issue. It was, I was going to come back as a game analyst. And I had to make up my mind. As I said earlier, for the longest period of time there was no way I was coming back.”

On the support he has been getting from the public: “I certainly appreciate that. I know they’ll be coming from the other side in days to come. I totally expect that. This was not something to do as a PR comeback. This was something I had to get off my chest. It was a decision that I had to make. As I said, it was a very, very difficult decision for me. It remains difficult this morning. I know as time goes on, as the freshness of this wears off, there will be the naysayers, and I totally expect that. That’s something that we knew from last August 15th, when this tragedy happened. I just hope that somehow we get by it and I can do the job that I love to do, and hopefully bring Red Sox baseball to the fans the way it should be brought to them and we have another good year.”

On watching the Red Sox win the World Series: “I didn’t watch anything after August 15, but I did watch the playoffs and I did watch the World Series. The reason for that is that I got tremendous support from the ball club itself, from the players. It was an absolute pleasure last year to be around that group of guys. One of the most enjoyable seasons that I personally have had as a broadcaster, to be around that Red Sox ball club last year. The individuals were unique, they were down to earth, they were competitive, they were just fun to be around.

“During the World Series and playoffs I was getting text messages from John Farrell. Here’s a guy in the World Series and playoffs, and he was taking time out to see how I was doing. I was getting messages from players. That meant a lot to me, obviously. But I couldn’t watch. When I’m not able to work I can’t watch. But I did watch the playoffs and I did watch the World Series. I was so happy for them that they were able to complete the goal they had started on the first day of spring training. As I said, it was one of the best groups — and they proved that to me through tough times — that I have ever been associated with.”

On his announcement to the media Monday: “It was obviously a very difficult day. I tried to be as honest as I possibly could. I tried to be myself. It’s something that I had not been looking forward to, but I’m glad it’s over with. I can now focus on going to spring training and doing baseball games. I can tell you the decision did not come easy for me. It was a very difficult one to come to. I had to make a final decision in fairness to NESN, to the Red Sox and to myself. That’s the one I came up with. Hopefully it’s the right one.”

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