It’s a childhood dream come true. Nashua, N.H., native Tim Neverett has loved the Red Sox since his earliest days, and in 2016 he replaced Dave O'Brien in the WEEI Red Sox radio booth. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston where he lettered in baseball for four seasons, Neverett spent seven years calling play-by-play for the Pirates before joining his beloved Red Sox. And prior to that, he worked for FSN Rocky Mountain, where he spent the 2008 campaign serving as both the pre-game and post-game studio host for Colorado Rockies games.
  1. With David Ortiz retired, the assumption is that Dustin Pedroia will take over as the team leader in the clubhouse. Who do you think will be counted on the most to create those clutch “Papi-like” offensive moments?
I think there are a number of candidates, Dustin included. Mookie Betts is going to be one of those guys to take over that spot. Hanley Ramirez, too, but Mookie is going to have a great year, having just missed out on the MVP last year. It’s hard to bet against Mookie!
  1. It’s been widely reported how good Pablo Sandoval looks this spring. What is your realistic expectation for him in 2017?
I think he’s going to show vast improvement over what he showed in 2015. His first year in Boston did not go very well, and he had shoulder surgery last year that cost him the entire season. From what I saw and heard in spring training, he’s done everything that’s been asked of him - and then some, especially from the left-side of the plate. His bat appears to be back. It looks like Sandoval is going to be the everyday third baseman. He’s fielded his position very well this spring - good going to both his left and right, coming in on balls, and making accurate throws. Everything that’s been expected of him, we’ve seen, and it’s very encouraging.
  1. How concerned are you about the health of David Price?
I’m not that concerned. It’s going to be a slow start for him; he’s essentially starting spring training all over again. He’s just beginning to throw the baseball a little bit right now. Any time you look at a pitcher who throws over 200 innings a year, you figure at some point he’s going to get a sore arm. From what I gather, we’ll see David Price sometime in May.
  1. How big an impact will Chris Sale have on the overall rotation this season?
I think he’s going to have an enormous impact. This is a guy who can compete for the Cy Young Award right out of the chute, and the things we’ve seen him do in a Red Sox uniform during spring training have been nothing short of impressive. The strikeouts are there. The slider is one of the nastiest in the game. When he got signed by the Red Sox, I think everyone else stepped up and said, “OK, now we’ve got a piece that can really get us to the next level.” The Sox were happy winning the division title but disappointed in losing three in a row to the Indians and were out of the playoffs early. Getting a guy like Chris Sale, they feel, is going to help get them over that hump.
  1. Why is John Farrell the right manager for the Sox?
Because the team is very pitching-centric with the way the starting rotation is when everyone’s healthy. It’s a matter of managing those guys. For the guys who have been starting pitchers in the big leagues… he “gets” it. He’s had Tommy John surgery. He gets it. He has a different perspective than other people would. He understands Boston and the expectations that come with it. He deflects a lot of the criticism because people just don’t understand what goes on on a daily basis inside that clubhouse; but he does. I think the players respond to him pretty well. He communicates with them and his coaches very well. I really do think he’s the right manager for the job and can take them back to the World Series.
  1. Explain the biggest differences between calling games in Pittsburgh as compared to Boston.
Well, first of all, the National League is entirely different. One thing I find is that Boston fans, as great fans as they are, don’t really know that much about the National League. They’re very parochial. And I know this because I’m one of them. I grew up their so I understand the philosophy. So, when a starting pitcher pinch runs in an NL game (as happened in a game last year vs. the Dodgers), people start to freak out a bit in Boston while it’s actually a pretty normal occurrence in the National League. Pitchers hit; we see sacrifice bunts. We see a number of different strategies in place like the double-switch. We have to be prepared for things like that in the National League as announcers. In the American League, with the designated hitter, it’s a little bit easier to be honest because you don’t have to worry about all those other things. It’s just a matter of which pitcher is coming in from the bullpen and when.
Obviously the biggest difference is looking out at the Green Monster at Fenway Park, as opposed to the Allegheny River at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s park is gorgeous. Fenway, to me, is also gorgeous. They are two of my all-time favorite parks. But Boston is my home, and I’m so very happy to be with the Red Sox.
  1. Would you prefer the National League go to the DH or do you prefer to leave things as they are?
I like it as is. I understand that if they go to a DH it possibly creates more jobs, but there is a difference between the two leagues for a reason. If you get the DH in the National League, then you’re getting away from the way baseball was played forever. I’d rather keep the NL the way it is and the AL the way it is. I personally just never want to see the designated hitter in the National League.
  1. So, the story goes that you had tickets to the Roger Clemens 20-strikeout game vs. Seattle, but instead opted to go out to eat and watch both the Sox and Celtics games on TV. Do you remember what you ordered to eat? Was it worth it?
I had chili-cheese nachos and pepperoni pizza… and no, it was not worth it [laughs]. I was with a college buddy and there was a restaurant/bar in the neighborhood in Boston where we lived, so we decided that we could go down to Fenway Park and stretch out later on (it was a time when they didn’t sell out the way they do now). We sat at this place and watched the Celtics on one TV and the Red Sox on another, and the more Roger Clemens was racking up strikeouts, the less we were watching the Celtics. We kinda looked at each other and debated whether we could sprint through Kenmore Square and still make the game, but because we would also miss a bunch in the process, we decided to stay and watch it on TV and yell at each other for the rest of our lives about it.
  1. Who was your favorite Red Sox player growing up as a kid living in Nashua, N.H.?
Rico Petrocelli. I remember walking up the ramp on the third base side when my dad took me to my first game; our seats were close to where he played. I’ll never forget how green the grass was and how bright white their uniforms were. When you go to a game for the first time, the colors just pop. I thought the guy playing third was so cool, so he ended up being the first guy I gravitated to because he was the closest I’d ever actually been to a Major League ballplayer at that time of my life.
  1. Predictions for the AL Division winners and Wild Cards?
East: I think the Red Sox have what it takes to repeat as division champions.
Central: The Indians should have enough.
West: My gut tells me the Houston Astros will get it done.
Wild Cards: Toronto and Texas.
  1. How do you keep your voice and throat in good working order to be able to call 162 games per year?
 I’ve been doing this a long time, and I drink tea, especially when it’s colder outside. I usually bring my own Bigelow Tea (Orange & Spice) to the ballpark. Sometimes I’ll squeeze in some lemon and put in some honey. That’s the honest truth. I drink Bigelow Tea during games, and it helps keep my voice and throat in good working order. Sometimes in the summer I’ll drink some just for maintenance, because we talk a LOT as broadcasters.