Orsillo gets dream job in NESN booth

By Emily Warchadlo

Ever wonder what you will do with your Communications degree from Northeastern? Well if you are anything like NU graduate Don Orsillo, you will take that degree and turn it into your dream job.

Orsillo, 33, who graduated in 1991, is the television play-by- play announcer for the Boston Red Sox, something he never dreamed of in his days at NU.

“To get to the major league level with the team I grew up loving is just amazing. You put all your eggs in one basket and you hope and then when your dream comes true it’s kind of amazing.” he says.

Orsillo did start small though, and credits Northeastern with a lot of his big league success. When Orsillo was a student at NU, he took a broadcasting course with Red Sox Radio personality Joe Constiglione. From there he interned at Fenway Park as an on-air statistician for Constiglione.

After graduating from NU in 1991, Orsillo started off his broadcasting career moving up from team to team, much like baseball players work their way up from the minor leagues.

He started in Single-A in Pittsfield Massachusetts with the Pittsfield Mets. Then he moved up to Double-A in Binghamton, New York with the AA Mets and then up to AAA with the Pawtucket Red Sox for 5 years. After spending ten years in the minor leagues, Orsillo finally got the call.

“I never thought I would get to the big leagues because it’s such a long shot. Basically, there’s just two TV play-by-play announcers and two radio announcers, so there’s four jobs. It was really a long shot and I didn’t think I had much of a chance. So I really lucked out,” said Orsillo.

And what a way to debut. Orsillo’s very first regular season game was a no-hitter by Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo in Baltimore’s Camden Yards on April 4, 2001.

“I was very nervous at the time. It was a fun night but nerve-wracking because in the last inning the game was picked up nationally by ESPN so I realized the significance of where it was going and I was certainly very nervous,” he says.

Things calmed down later in the season as Orsillo relaxed into his role as announcer, while at the same time being in awe of his experience. As a child in North Conway, New Hampshire, Orsillo had idolized former Red Sox Right Fielder Dwight Evans who is now on the Red Sox coaching staff.

“I think at first you’re a little at awe of the situation, your meeting people that you’ve put on a pedestal throughout your entire life and then you’re traveling on the planes and getting to know them. It is definitely very, very different. I think it’s made me view the sports world even more clearly to get to know some of the players, what they’ve gone through to get here,” said Orsillo.

Orsillo’s job is not just about getting to meet big leaguers and broadcasting baseball for three hours each night. In fact, Orsillo says people may underestimate just how much time goes into his job. He wakes every morning at eight, and reads “as many papers as I can get my hands on”. He then showers and shaves and makes the hour commute up to Boston from his home in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. When he arrives at the ballpark he gets his scorecard ready, does interviews with the players, and by the time the game starts and the preparation is done, it is really an all day affair.

Okay, so it’s not really that bad.

“The best part is that my job, and I use the term job very loosely, is announcing baseball. It’s like everybody should do in their life things that they enjoy,” says Orsillo.

So, what advice does Orsillo have to give to others wanting to fulfill their lifelong dream?

“Internship anywhere you can. Because when you get out of Northeastern, you’ll have a jump on everyone else, as far as what your resume looks like. Even if it’s a couple hours a week, or once a weekend,” he says.

Orsillo considers his time at Northeastern one of maturation and growth, and he credits Constiglione, as well as former Communications Professor Michael Woodnick, with helping him grow as a person. He also looks back at Northeastern as a jump-start for his successful career.

“To have the opportunity to work at Fenway park at such a young age, it was so good for my resume and it turned out that at every stop, everybody always kind of looked back, to what internship I did at Northeastern,” he says.

For Orsillo, whose wife Lisa is expecting their second child in December, life could not get much better.

“Life is so short and if you don’t work at something you enjoy, it can be a dreadful experience. I love what I do, I come to the ball park everyday, announce baseball, and I get a chance to work in this field which is something that I am very, very thankful for,” Orsillo said.