November 16, 2011
As a few people have already remarked, the post-collapse exodus from the Boston Red Sox has officially gone one person too far. As reported by CSN New England's Sean McAdam, Heidi Watney — the queen of NESN's baseball coverage — is leaving the network as part of a mutual decision by both sides. She'll reportedly land in her native California and work for Time Warner Cable as part of its team covering the Los Angeles Lakers (if and when they start playing, I presume).
Losing one to Los Angeles is never easy for a Bostonian to swallow, but the sting of Watney's loss goes past the bicoastal rivalry. Initially regarded as just another pretty face along Fenway Park's foul lines, Watney became a regional favorite as she worked hard to improve her game over her four seasons of updating us on whatever was hurting J.D. Drew(notes) that day. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe reports that Watney had wanted to return to California for some time, so Red Sox fans will have to comfort themselves with the memories of Watney apppearing in a preseason rap, trying to down a chicken 'n waffle sandwich or bearing witness to Dan Shaughnessy sinking the 2011 season. More importantly, she was active in Boston charity, making several appearances at area children's hospitals.
There's no doubt that the Red Sox, their fans and those of us who enjoyed her work on MLB.TV are definitely going to miss her. But with the way Red Sox Nation has been altered over the past month, perhaps we should go check on Johnny Pesky or the Cask 'N Flagon lately before we get really wistful here.
With Watney heading west, no one in Boston can be considered safe.