Jerry Remy’s announcement Monday that he will return to the NESN booth this season — even as his son’s upcoming murder trial hovers grimly above his head — answered one question about the Red Sox broadcast team.
But with pitchers and catchers due to report to Fort Myers in less than three weeks, another question remained: What is Jenny Dell’s status?
As it turns out, she’s in a weird sort of limbo. When asked if Dell would be part of Red Sox broadcasts this season, NESN spokesman Gary Roy confirmed with a reply to an inquiry that her role has changed:
“NESN has an active search for a Red Sox sideline reporter. Jenny Dell, a multi-talented on-air personality, is anchoring NESN Sports Today and handling other assignments for NESN.”
That seems to confirm what an industry source told me Wednesday morning: that she was informed recently by NESN vice president of programming and production Joseph Maar that she would not be part of the Red Sox broadcast team this season.
Recently, Dell has been filling in as anchor on “NESN Sports Today,” a perfectly viable role but one that according to another industry source is her penance for . . . well, one thing or the other.
Dell, the popular in-game reporter the past two years, is dating Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. The relationship wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret around the team for some time, but the official acknowledgment of it via a Middlebrooks tweet on New Year’s Eve brought fair questions about the ethics of a reporter dating a player.
While a sideline reporter isn’t necessarily a journalist, the effect that fraternizing with the players has on genuine female journalists who have fought for access and credibility is palpable.
While it’s very hard to believe that their relationship was breaking news to NESN management, it certainly appears as though Dell’s status has been affected by either the backlash to that or perhaps her desire to work elsewhere. There was mutual interest between Dell and Fox Sports 1, though that appears to be in a holding pattern.
Until Roy’s statement, the silence regarding the subject among NESN personnel was deafening; multiple parties did not respond to requests for comment, including Dell.
But a representative for a personality in another market reported to this address that his client had been contacted by NESN about filling the Red Sox reporter role.Chad Finn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn.