Go Ahead, Sob Openly at Don Orsillo’s Goodbye to Red Sox Nation

After 15 years in the booth in Boston, the NESN play-by-play man is headed to sunnier climes in San Diego.

In spite of all the fan backlash, the angry tweets, the online petition with nearly 63,000 signatures, the signs that may or may not have been confiscated by Fenway Park staff, Don Orsillo has called his last Red Sox game for NESN after 15 years in the broadcast booth.

During the Sox’s 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, closing out another season in the basement of the AL East, Orsillo addressed the fans and thanked them for years of support:

Well, my first Red Sox game at Fenway Park was June 24, 1978. I will never forget it. My friend Luis Tiant pitched in that game, and he won. And my friend Jerry Remy played in that game as well. I grew up in Madison, New Hampshire listening to the great Ken Coleman on Red Sox radio, and I was so fortunate to sit next to Ken for his last broadcast in 1989 as his intern, as well as sit next to my friend and teacher, Joe Castiglione.

Twenty-six years later, I now broadcast my last Red Sox game, after 15 years as the voice of the Boston Red Sox and just shy of 2,000 total games. I want to thank my friend and partner Jerry Remy. For 15 years, we’ve been through so much together, on the field and off the field, and I thank you so much for being one of my very best friends.

My director and my friend Michael Naracci. who I have worked with 17 years dating back to the Pawtucket Red Sox, and I thank him so much for everything he has done. And our great crew at Fenway Park, who has been with me for the 15 years.

To my parents, who made my 10 years of minor league work possible. The Orsillos and Nolans, to all of you, from Chelsea to Melrose to Stoneham. My Cathy, my daughters Sydney and Madison, but mostly, I want to thank the fans of Red Sox Nation. I thank you for your incredible support and your loyalty. I heard all of you, and never forget your words, as they touched me so very deeply.

Thank you for letting me into your homes, into your families, for the last 15 years. Last Sunday at Fenway will be my greatest memory of my life—I can tell you that right now. Your tribute to me, I will never forget—ever.

I’ve been asked many times over the last six weeks how I would like to be remembered, and to be remembered at all is enough for me. Thank you.

The Red Sox left their dugout to tip their caps to the play-by-play man—a touching tribute, “Cleveland Rocks” blaring in the background notwithstanding. “Unbelievably, I wave to Red Sox for the final time. Thank you boys,” he said. “Orsillo rounded third, and heading home.”

Orsillo is headed to San Diego, where he will replace the legendary Dick Enberg as the Padres play-by-play announcer after the 2016 season.