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Tom Werner announced Thursday that Jenny Dell would part ways with NESN. It was her decision to step down from her job. This announcement comes in the wake of NESN’s decision to move her off the field during Red Sox games. All of this happened because of a January 1st tweet, which revealed that Dell and third baseman Will Middlebrooks were in a relationship.
Dell belongs on the field broadcasting. I watched this story unfold. My opinion is that what occurred between Middlebrooks and Dell takes place in offices all over the country. People meet at work. They fall in love. Middlebrooks works in one part of the organization and Dell in another. A similar scenario would be the accountant working for a financial firm falling in love with someone in the information technology department. No one should be penalized for something so commonplace.
Clearly, Dell felt some heat from management, namely Werner. Werner talks about “distractions” that everyone interested in, or working for, the Red Sox would endure. The assumption that Red Sox fans, and others that work for Red Sox-owned entities, will be distracted is preposterous. The fans are devoted and well-informed about the game. Fans of this team are students of the game, they care about statistics, winning another championship, and beating the Yankees? This is a heart-warming story that would not affect fan interest or a person’s ability to do their job at Fenway Park. It is 2014; why is this an issue? Yes, people are going to talk. It will not be negative talk. I have a feeling everyone is happy for them.
More importantly, why not move Middlebrooks along to another team? Who says Dell has to take one for the team? Yes, the contracts, I understand. Still, he did not have a stellar year in 2013. The Red Sox could trade him when the time is right. Perhaps, he worked hard during the off-season and is, again, ready for his third base duties. Dell must really love him to walk away from her job.
NESN and other small, local sports media outlets like it around the country are a launching pad for talent to move into larger sportscaster positions. Former on-field, female correspondent Heidi Watney went from NESN to ESPN. The NESN team is a talented one with on screen talent like Don Orsillo, Jerry Remy, Jim Rice and Tom Caron. There will be a noticeable void without Dell on the field. Hopefully, Dell will land a position like the one Watney occupies, or work as a local sportscaster. The world is her oyster, and I strongly believe that people in hiring positions will be very understanding about the decisions she made in her personal and professional life.