Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: Newest Red Sox announcer is coming home
Our newest boy of summer is coming home.
Tim Neverett has the unenviable task of replacing Dave O'Brien on Red Sox baseball broadcasts this summer. Neverett, who grew up in Nashua, N.H., and actually knows of the Pittsfield Cubs — more on that later — was hired last week to replace O'Brien alongside Joe Castiglione on the radio broadcasts which are heard in Berkshire County on WBEC, WNAW and WSBS.
"I really wasn't looking for a new job," Neverett told me last week.
He was part of the Pittsburgh Pirates broadcasting crew, alternating between radio and television play-by-play, and was happy.
"It was just one of those things that worked out," he said. "It's hard to explain. There was not a job search on my part. I wasn't being recruited like a college quarterback either.
"It was just something where there was some mutual knowledge that turned into conversation."
Neverett will move into the radio booth while O'Brien slides into the NESN TV booth, replacing Don Orsillo, who is now with the San Diego Padres. It is a familiar position for Neverett, who took a seat in Pittsburgh that was held by Lanny Frattare, who retired after 33 years — and was the longest-tenured broadcaster in team history.
Neverett has been a Pirates broadcaster since the 2009 season. He's a graduate of Emerson College, where he played baseball.
"I lived literally three blocks from Fenway [Park]," he said during our phone chat from his home in the Pittsburgh suburbs, "just on the opposite side of Kenmore Square.
"I used to go [to Fenway] quite a bit, when you could get in for $3."
The biggest coincidence that comes with the hiring of Neverett is that when he sits in the radio booth on April, 11, 2016, it'll be his very first broadcast from the historic ballpark on Yawkey Way.
"I've sat in the press box. I've eaten in the press room," said Neverett, who worked for Boston radio stations early in his career, collecting audio and interviewing players. "I've never broadcast a game from Fenway."
In the seven years as a Pirates broadcaster and some time doing Colorado Rockies games before that, you'd have thought he might have sat in the visitors radio booth at Fenway. You'd be wrong.
"With interleague play, I have been to ever single major league stadium, including some that don't even exist anymore. But I've never done a game at Fenway Park," he said. "That's going to be pretty cool on April 11."
The last time the Pirates came to Fenway was right before he was hired to broadcast in Pittsburgh. The last two times the Sox and Bucs played each other, the games were played in Pittsburgh.
In the Six Degrees of Wahconah Park game, Tim Neverett isn't a bad candidate. His brother B.J. Neverett is the manager of the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures League, and Neverett brings his team to Wahconah Park every summer.
Tim Neverett was 19 years old in 1985, when he broadcast home games for the Nashua Pirates of the Eastern League.
"It's funny. I remember some guys from the league. I don't remember everybody," he said. "The longest home run I ever saw in that league was Sam Horn, who was with the New Britain Red Sox. He hit one out of Holman Stadium in Nashua that might still be orbiting the earth.
"It was an enormous blast."
In those days, Neverett didn't travel with the Pirates. Their regular broadcasters didn't travel either. Some teams, like Nashua, only did home games.
But now, he'll be traveling with the Red Sox and Red Sox Hall of Famer Castiglione. Neverett says its a challenge and a responsibility.
"One thing I know is that it's very, very important and it's a very responsible position to be in that seat every night, sitting next to Joe, because of what it means to people in New England," said Neverett. "I get it. Red Sox baseball is religion and I understand that, and lived and breathed it for a good portion of my life.
"I'm happy to be jumping back in with both feet."