WHAT’S UP AT NESN?

Who is the genius at NESN that thinks that baseball fans will ‘Stay in the park’ in the eighth inning while the station shows two miniscule inserts of activity in the ball park alongside a commercial? The inserts are so small that they usually consist of pictures of a single player walking or running or fans in the stands doing what fans do. Do they really think that Red Sox fans are so mesmerized by their programming that they will do whatever they are told to do and sit still for that?

Of course, NESN is owned by the Boston Red Sox and may feel that, if the Red Sox can fill the stands daily no matter the quality of the ball club they field, any programming they provide will be accepted by Red Sox Nation, but this insults the average fan’s intelligence.

And while we are on the subject of ridiculous things this organization has done, how about the daily poll of fans on the Red Sox telecasts? It is hard to believe that there are enough people out there willing to pay to text their opinion on everything from Dunkin’ Donuts drinks to who is more apt to win which division this year to make it a money maker for the station. And, as for those of us who don’t take advantage of the wonderful opportunity to ‘be counted’ on such weighty issues, do they really think we care?

I must admit that Dave O’Brien has proven to be an effective play by play announcer despite my misgivings in the beginning and, although I get tired of Dennis Eckersley’s constant references to ‘hair’, ‘cheese’, ‘going bridge’ and ‘leaving earth’, etc., etc, etc., he brings a world of expertise and experience to the color position. Someone should tell him that everyone is aware of what a fantastic career he had as a player and it is not necessary for him to ‘talk the talk’ to be appreciated, entertaining and informative.

The constantly changing parade of sideline people that the station runs through is somewhat confusing. The best of the bunch, Jennie Dell, who got mixed up with then Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, when she was at NESN, ( Was that a virus that also infected Manager John Farrell? ), before going to cover NFL football, was replaced first by Gary Striewski, another one of those guys with a ‘different’ hair style that seem to come out of the woodwork at NESN. Then he was replaced by by Guerin Austin and now she has been replaced temporarily by Jahmai Webster because she has been suffering from a concussion.

With Eckersley, Jim Rice and many of the other regulars away for Hall of Fame weekend, which is more like Hall of Fame week, the Sox had to find people to fill in and that started a parade of rotating color people. Jonny Gomes may have been a part of one of the greatest Red Sox teams ever but apparently they didn’t listen to his voice before they put him to work on the air. Not only did his inexperience in the broadcast booth show up loud and clear, his voice is more suited to making announcements in a funeral home than at a baseball game.

By the way, when I realized that I had not seen Steve Lyons for a while, I thought he had either gone to the Hall of Fame ceremony, too, or maybe to a new hair stylist. Now, I find that his hair was not the only problem he had and that he has been accused in a domestic violence situation so he is gone, at least for now. Maybe, Psycho, his nickname when he played, was more accurate than we knew.

Out on the west coast, they brought in Mike Timlin, another former Red Sox player and a member of the 2004 and 2007 Championship teams. The best I can say about Mike, who won 30 and lost 22 in 394 games as a reliever with the Sox, is that he was better than Gomes.

Where in the world did they find Lenny DiNardo from? He was a member of the Sox Championship Team in 2004 but spent most of the year on the disabled list and was just 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA. NESN is always bragging about their Red Sox Hall of Famers and Greats, I don’t see him in either category and would have been just as impressed with a former Bat Boy.

Wade Boggs was the rotating color man at Tampa Bay. No one can dispute his credentials and his knowledge of the game and experience came across clearly. He may have been the purest hitter in the history of the game and his insight was interesting and informative.

That aside, they keep pulling new people out of a hat on an almost daily basis. Kacie MacDonald and the cast of robots that she works with in her spots, leave a lot to be desired. It sometimes looks like they are using interns from the college programs that feed them gophers as broadcasters to fill in. Somebody should tell them that it’s the ‘Quality’ not the ‘Quantity’!!

Where was NESN throughout the lengthy, and still ongoing, uproar over David Price confronting Dennis Eckersley? Price may have been wrong but this incident, between two adult, professionals, was neither the first of its kind, nor will it be the last of its kind, in an emotion packed pennant race.

If Price were being paid $2. million a year instead of $31. million or, if it had been a player who was preforming up to expectations, it would have gone away in a heartbeat. NESN could have minimized its effect, not necessarily by defending Price, but by recognizing it publicly for what it was, no big deal.

I am sure that there are those that would insist on the responsibility of the station to be neutral in such matters but, from my perspective, I expect the Red Sox station to be supportive of the Red Sox. I grew up a Yankee fan listening to Mel Allen, one of the biggest ‘Homers’ in broadcast history and he didn’t even work for a company that was owned by the Yankees.

Anyway, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I would prefer the old NESN , with Jerry Remy, Don Orsillo, Jennie Dell and the limited staff they had then to this parade that ranges from Hall of Famers to Never Were and Never Will Be’s. It is almost painful to watch Tom Caron and Jim Rice try to put on a show with some of the new people. It’s a baseball game, not a variety show.

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