NESN Announces Booth Talent For 2023 Red Sox Season

Dave O'Brien returns while new faces are added for 2023


Jan 21, 2023

NESN on Saturday announced the booth talent roster for the 2023 Boston Red Sox season. NESN’s coverage of the 2023 season will include extensive game coverage plus hour-long pregame and postgame shows. Game recaps, highlights and exclusive content will also be available on the NESN 360 app.

The broadcast booth will feature returning primary play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien with Massachusetts native Mike Monaco contributing to play-by-play duties. Color analysts in the booth will include returning personalities and Red Sox alumni Kevin Millar and Kevin Youkilis plus newcomer and Boston media veteran Lou Merloni. Familiar NESN faces and former Red Sox players making their broadcast booth debut in 2023 include Will Middlebrooks and Tim Wakefield. Jahmai Webster will serve as sideline reporter.

“We are continuously evolving our broadcast to bring viewers the best possible experience,” said Sean McGrail, president & CEO of NESN. “We’re excited about our booth lineup this year and look forward to an exciting season.”

NESN will host various members of the broadcast booth lineup on its live studio show at Red Sox Winter Weekend on Saturday until 2 p.m. ET. The show is hosted by longtime NESN host Tom Caron alongside NESN analyst and former Red Sox Lenny DiNardo.

Further details on NESN’s full 2023 Red Sox talent lineup, including studio talent will be announced at a later date.

LOU MERLONI (@LouMerloni) is in his first season with NESN as color analyst in the NESN broadcast booth. A native of Framingham, Mass., Merloni has been working in the media for 15 years, including one year at NESN as a commentator on the Red Sox pregame and post-game shows and 14 years as an analyst for NBC Sports Boston. Merloni also spent nine years with WEEI in the Red Sox radio booth and 15 years as host of WEEI’s midday and afternoon drive talk shows. He was drafted by the Red Sox in the 36th round of the 1992 MLB Draft. He played his rookie year in 1998 and hit a home run in his first at bat at Fenway Park. Merloni played nine years in the MLB with the Red Sox (6), Padres, Indians (2), and Angels. He also played one year in Japan for the Yokohama Baystars. Merloni spent two years playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League and is a member of the Cape Cod League Hall of Fame. Merloni attended Framingham South High School and graduated from Providence College. While in college, he was named Rookie of the Year in the Big East and MVP of the Year his senior year at Providence. He also earned the honor of being inducted into the Providence College Hall of Fame.

WILL MIDDLEBROOKS (@Middlebrooks) is in his first season in the NESN broadcast booth and second season as NESN pregame and postgame analyst. Middlebrooks also serves as a baseball analyst for CBS Sports HQ and is a co-host of the “WAKE and RAKE Podcast.” Selected by the Red Sox in the 2007 MLB Draft, Middlebrooks spent eight seasons in the organization, including the first three of his six years in the majors. The Texas native burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2011, batting .288 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in 75 games. He was a key contributor to the 2013 World Series championship team, serving as the team’s primary third baseman. When the Red Sox returned to play after the Boston Marathon in 2013, Middlebrooks tweeted, “I can’t wait to put on my jersey today. I get to play for the strongest city out there. #BostonStrong,” with the hashtag becoming a rallying cry for the season.

KEVIN MILLAR (@KMillar15) is in his second season as an analyst in NESN’s broadcast booth. Millar has co-hosted “Intentional Talk” on MLB Network since the show’s inception in 2011. The 2004 World Series champion spent three of his 12 major league seasons with the Red Sox, batting .282 with 52 home runs and 220 RBIs in 432 games for Boston from 2003-05. The former first baseman and outfielder used “Cowboy Up!” as a rallying cry for the 2003 Red Sox team that advanced to the American League Championship Series and had a vocal role in helping the 2004 team overcome an 0-3 series deficit to the New York Yankees in the ALCS, eventually winning their first World Series in 86 years.

MIKE MONACO (Twitter: @MikeMonaco_) joined NESN for the 2020 season for select play-by-play games. The Cohasset, Mass., native spent three seasons between 2017 and 2019 with the Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A) and also broadcasts NHL for ESPN, plus college sports for ESPN and the ACC Network. Before joining ESPN, Monaco broadcast college sports for FOX Sports and the Big Ten Network and has also called college basketball for NBC Sports. Monaco has called select games for NBC Sports Chicago’s coverage of the White Sox, Blackhawks and Bulls. Monaco served as a broadcaster in the Cape Cod Baseball League (2013 and 2014) and for the Chicago Cubs’ (2015) and San Diego Padres’ (2016) Single-A affiliates in the Midwest League. The University of Notre Dame graduate has also served as a play-by-play broadcaster, reporter and host for his alma mater, including nationally syndicated Notre Dame football shows.

DAVE O’BRIEN enters his 33rd year of Major League Baseball broadcasting and his eighth in NESN’s play-by-play role after nine years with Red Sox radio network. O’Brien also works for ESPN as play-by-play announcer for its college basketball coverage. Between 2002 and 2017 he served as a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, working Major League Baseball telecasts and college basketball. He has called the LCS and World Series for Major League Baseball’s International broadcasts, as well as select MLB playoff series on ESPN Radio. He worked as both a radio and television announcer for the Florida Marlins between 1993 and 2001 and was the television voice of the New York Mets on WPIX-TV between 2003 and 2005. He also did radio play-by-play on Atlanta Braves games in 1990 and 1991 as well as college football and basketball action for the University of Georgia and the University of Miami. A Boston native, O’Brien received the Georgia Associated Press “Best Sports Play-by-Play” honor in 1988 and 1991 and the Achievements in Radio (A.I.R.) award for Best Play-by-Play for his call of Mark McGwire’s 59th home run in 1998. O’Brien and his family reside in Rye, New Hampshire.

TIM WAKEFIELD (Twitter: @TimWakefield49) joined NESN’s pregame and postgame team in 2012. His 19-year MLB career included 17 years as a member of the Red Sox (between 1995 and 2011). He ended his career with 200 wins, 186 of them with Boston, which ranks third behind only Cy Young and Roger Clemens on the Red Sox all-time career win list. He was the American League Comeback Player of the Year in 1995, an All-Star in 2009 and a two-time World Series champion. He was also honored as a champion off the field as one of the most-charitable players in the league, winning the Roberto Clemente Award in 2010 after being nominated eight times during his career. He currently serves as a special assignment instructor as well as honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation and was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2016.

JAHMAI WEBSTER (Twitter: @WebsterOnTV) returns to the broadcast team for his sixth season as a Red Sox sideline reporter. He joined NESN in October of 2016 and served as an anchor/reporter on NESN’s sports news programs. He has also served as host of NESN’s award-winning and commercial-free Red Sox pregame show for kids, “NESN Clubhouse,” which airs on Sundays 90 minutes before game time. Before joining NESN, Webster worked at Denver’s ABC affiliate KMGH Denver7 and KITV 4 News in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Cal-State Northridge graduate got his start in sports broadcasting at two ABC affiliates in central Texas, KRHD-TV 40 in College Station and KXXV-TV 25 in Waco.

KEVIN YOUKILIS (@GreekGodofHops) is in his second season as an analyst in NESN’s broadcast booth after one season in 2021 as a weekly contributor to NESN’s pregame and postgame shows. Inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2018, Youkilis spent nine of his 10 MLB seasons in Boston and became a two-time World Series champion (2004, ’07) and three-time All-Star (2008, ’09, ’11). The Red Sox franchise leader in fielding percentage at first base (.997), he holds the AL record at first base for consecutive games without an error in a season (135 in 2007) and career (238 from July 2006-June 2008), and was rewarded for his defensive prowess with the 2007 Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Following his playing career, Youkilis spent time as a scout and development consultant for the Chicago Cubs (2015).

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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