Jenny Dell is out at third.
That would be her third season as NESN Red Sox sideline reporter, which won't be happening in 2014.
The Red Sox had a helluva ride during Dell's days with the team. Her first season, 2012, ended in catastrophe, a 69-93, last-place finish and the departure of Bobby Valentine.
In 2013, she was there interviewing players following one comeback, walk-off win after another, quizzing John Farrell after each game and running down fans with heart-warming tales of life in Red Sox Nation.
She shook off a memorable on-field shower after Jonny Gomes' game-winning home run on Aug. 1:
She weathered this beer blitz from a shirtless Mike Napoli after the Red Sox clinched their ALCS berth against Tampa Bay.
The champagne flowed that night, as well.
If anyone wants to question the hold the Red Sox have on this city, two of the biggest sports story of Super Bowl Week in New England were the return of Jerry Remy to the NESN booth and now, via Chad Finn, that Dell won't be back as part of the Red Sox broadcast team.
The above Tweet featured Dell and Will Middlebrooks, her live-in boyfriend who just happens to be the Red Sox resident third baseman. It was posted on New Year's Eve. It was the first acknowledgement via social media that two were a couple, even though it was known they were living together.
Finn reported that a source told him Dell's exit from the Red Sox telecasts, NESN's most exclusive real estate, was "penance for . . . well, one thing or the other."
NESN dropped the ball by removing Dell from their Red Sox telecasts, especially if one of its causes for penance was her romance with Middlebrooks.
No specific reasons were given publicly for her move into NESN Siberia, also known as NESN Sports Today. Dell and FoxSports1 have reportedly been flirting professionally. Since details are non-existent, we're free to read between these lines and will reasonably presume another one of those "things" that cost her her Red Sox roster spot was living with the Red Sox third baseman.
Peter Wolf and his bandmates nailed it:
Sometimes, "love stinks."
That's a shame. Red Sox fans have been denied the potential for TV gold this year, especially during those rare occurrences when Middlebrooks might actually contribute to a victory.
"Tell us about that double in the eighth, and how you're sooooo much better-looking than that Stephen Drew..."
Even their spats would have livened things up.
"We're here with Will Middlebrooks, who can't seem to put the seat down each morning..."
The sense of loss is crushing.
Both residents of the Dell-Middlebrooks household are adults. You can question their motives. I won't. There was lots of moaning about Dell's co-habitation with Middlebrooks potentially causing some sort of "journalistic conflict of interest" during Red Sox games. Sorry if I didn't share in that indignation.
For one thing, we're talking about the sideline reporter on NESN's Red Sox telecast. This isn't the Washington Post chatting up Deep Throat about Nixon, the Globe's Spotlight Team ratting out the Godfather of all rats, Whitey Bulger, and his ties with the FBI, or Fox News chasing down the truth and everything else about what happened in Benghazi.
If you want "journalistic conflict of interest," how about Jay Carney going from TIME Magazine to the White House, Karl Rove sliding from the Bush Administration to Fox News, the late Tony Snow making the trip in reverse, George "Hey, That's Morgan Freeman" Stephanopoulos hopping from Bill Clinton's Oval Office to the lead chair ABC's Sunday morning news show and, eventually, "Good Morning, America," or ABC's Senior National Correspondent [one Claire Shipman] being married to the aforementioned Carney?
Not enough? Well someone named Ben Rhodes is the Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting for the White House. That is one epic business card. His brother, David, is the president of CBS News. The husband of Virginia Moseley, who is in charge of CNN's Washington news bureau and worked at ABC for 18 years, was a Deputy Secretary of State in the current administration until 2013.
These folks cover stuff like wars, hurricanes, taxes, elections, health care and the Federal Budget.
All we were talking about on NESN is a reporter tossing softballs at David Ortiz after a game-winning home run, chatting with Farrell about how Clay Buchholz can't make it through the fifth after a three-month rest or breaking down pizza offerings and the latest eco-friendly family restroom at Fenway Park.
The Parent Company of This Blog is owned by John W. Henry, who also possesses a sizable chunk of Boston's American League club. [We all know that CEO Larry Lucchino actually runs the Red Sox.]
NESN's Red Sox broadcasts exist as an extension of the team. This site, not so much. We're here to ostensibly report and rant about the Red Sox, celebrate their successes, and revisit those traumatic moments of our childhood every time they lose a crucial game. The benevolent, brilliant and sagacious Mr. Henry has yet to dictate journalistic terms.
[You'll know he's finally read through the 2011 and '12 archives when this blog bytes the dust.]
Don't fear, folks, we still have the long knives at the ready if the Red Sox somehow don't sign Jon Lester to a long-term extension.
As was with the case with Remy, 99.9 percent of the Red Sox fans who watch these games on NESN truly care only about the games, not the personal dramas or foibles of those who happen to be in front of the camera or behind the microphone. That's the concern of NESN's management, not its viewers.
Dell performed admirably on camera.
Hell, the Baconator crushed it.
She was/is articulate, attractive and able to ask logical and coherent questions. That's about all one can ask for any sideline reporter working on a team-sanctioned broadcast. You can call me simplistic and sexist the next time one of these channels hires someone with X and Y chromosomes, over age 40 and/or 200-pounds do to that job.
Falling in love with a third baseman doesn't quite rise to the level of termination, faux conflict or otherwise.
Two by two and side by side
Love's gonna find you yes it is you just can't hide
You'll hear it call your heart will fall
Then love will fly it's gonna soar
I don't care for any Casanova thing
All I can say is
Love stinks yeah, yeah
Love stinks yeah, yeah . . .
I've been through diamonds
I've been through minks I've been through it all
Love stinks . . .
It certainly does.
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