NESN has to make two decisions before Red Sox Spring Training (UPDATED)

While the winter is still pulling a punch over most of the country, baseball teams are preparing for Spring Training next month. And as regional sports networks are finalizing their plans to cover their local teams, one has yet to make personnel decisions on two members of its broadcast team. NESN is the home of the Boston Red Sox and it has to decide whether analyst Jerry Remy and sideline reporter Jenny Dell will return this season. 

Last summer, Remy's son Jared was arrested for allegedly murdering his girlfriend at her home. At first, Remy was given time off with the understanding that he would return later on. However, as details of the story got messier, NESN announced that Remy would take the rest of the season off so he could spend time with his family.

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Dennis Eckersley took his place in the analyst's chair next to play-by-play man Don Orsillo and NESN said it would make a decision on whether Remy could return for the 2014 seaon. Well, February will soon be here and NESN has yet to determine whether to bring Remy back to the booth. With his son's trial scheduled for October, it would be strange to have Jerry analyze Red Sox games while the Boston media reports on his son.

An e-mail sent to a NESN spokesman last week asking if Remy would return has gone unanswered to date.

The other decision for NESN is regarding field reporter Jenny Dell. It was revealed that she is dating Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. A picture of them together during the holidays was posted on Middlebrooks' Twitter account.

Their relationship has led to a call for NESN to let Dell go. Even Sports lllustrated's Richard Deitsch broached the subject in last week's media column (item number 4). 

There are two thoughts here. The obvious one is that the relationship is a conflict of interest and Jenny should be reassigned within NESN. The other is that Dell is not breaking stories, just doing various features on the team and she can continue without the relationship with Middlebrooks compromising her reports.

No matter where you stand, NESN still has to decide whether she should continue covering the team or take her off the broadcasts completely. Even if the Red Sox did not own NESN, of which it has an 80% share, the team has to know that this is not standard operating procedure.

In her two years on NESN, Dell has become popular with Red Sox fans and her moves have been covered by the city's gossip reporters. But when the picture surfaced of her and Middlebrooks together, it caught some by surprise.  

The clock is ticking and NESN has to make a decision on Remy and Dell very soon.

UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.: In an impromptu news conference at NESN's headquarters, Remy announced that he would be returning to the broadcast booth this season. 

In a prepared statement, Remy said he had considered not returning, but after consulting with his wife and close family friends, he said the time was right to return: ‘€œIt was really three friends of mine and my wife that got me off the schneid because I had been trying to tell my family that we have to move on in some capacity and live our lives, yet I was one that was resisting that. I think it’€™s up to me to set an example to go on and live my life. Unfortunately — well, fortunately or unfortunately — it’€™s in the public eye, and it makes it a little bit different than some other things."

Remy added that he understands that people may have negative reaction to his coming back: "I’m sure there will be people out there who will be very upset with me, and I’m sure there will be people that are happy I’m coming back. I have no way to predict right now what the response is going to be. I know one thing, I work for very smart people here at NESN and with the Red Sox and if the response is overwhelming negative, they’ll take care of it."

And in regards to the upcoming trial of his son: "There’s going to be a trial in October which will probably be pushed back. I think it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen. I’m trying to take it one step at a time"

NESN still has to decide on Jenny Dell and that should be coming shortly. 

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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