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.
Super Bowl lineup
Pretty rough year for the Joe Buck bashers out there. Fox Sports’ voice of — well, pretty much every prominent event this side of the Sprint Cup Series — will call the Super Bowl Sunday alongside analyst Troy Aikman. It’s the fourth time the network’s top NFL broadcast tandem will call a Super Bowl together. For Buck, the assignment arrives roughly three months after he called the Red Sox’ World Series victory over the Cardinals.
Buck and Aikman will be joined by sideline reporters Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews. This is Oliver’s seventh Super Bowl — she has been part of the first six to air on Fox — and Andrews’s first. Should the Seahawks win, it will be fascinating to see whether Andrews is positioned for a sequel to her instant-classic NFC Championship postgame interview with Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman.
Fox’s pregame show begins at 2 p.m., with the usual crew of cohosts Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee and analysts Howie Long, Michael Strahan, and Jimmy Johnson handling the studio duties, with Jay Glazer (the subject of a fascinating GQ feature this month) popping in as the information guy.
During the pregame festivities, it appears, as much if not more attention will be paid to the host city rather the teams participating. A feature is planned on Vince Lombardi, a Brooklyn native whose roots still run deep in New York, as well as a look back at the 1958 championship game between the Giants and Colts, and a segment on the life of Pat Summerall, the iconic ex-Giant and broadcaster.
If you need time to load up on pregame snacks or make a run to the store, I’d suggest doing it during the grating red carpet portion of the pregame show, when Michael Strahan and Charissa Thompson greet arriving celebrities — does Jared from Subway count? — at MetLife Stadium.
One thing I mean to do in this space — but don’t do often enough — is give credit to those who do excellent work behind the scenes in the electronic media. So let’s do so this week with much-deserved kudos for the Comcast SportsNet New England crew that put together an extraordinary video segment in the aftermath of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s return to the Garden Sunday night. Titled “Thanks For The Memories” and narrated by Mike Giardi, it was a thoughtful and complete look at the way Boston celebrates and embraces its sports heroes, and vice versa. The segment was the brainchild of executive producer John Zannis and news director Kevin Miller. Zannis wrote and produced the piece, with Joe Rolfe in charge of the editing. I can’t recommend it enough.
NFL Network national reporter Albert Breer, formerly of the Globe, has been conspicuously absent during coverage of both conference championship games as well as this week’s buildup to the Super Bowl. He also has not had a column published on NFL.com since Jan. 4. A network spokesperson told Sports Illustrated.com’s Richard Deitsch last week that Breer was on “a temporary leave of absence from NFL Media.” I got the same response, with the addendum, “As this is an internal matter, we will have no further comment.” Breer, who has been at the NFL Network since October 2010, responded to a message but said he could not comment . . . Bruins radio voice Dave Goucher has the call of Friday night’s Boston University-UMass college hockey matchup on NBC Sports Network. Ken Hodge Jr. joins him as the color analyst. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.