Popular Boston Red Sox sideline reporter Jenny Dell won't be covering the team anymore, after beginning a relationship with one of its players. Dell and third baseman Will Middlebrooks publicly outed themselves as an item on New Year's Eve. Dell's employer, NESN, didn't directly say that was the reason for reassigning her, but those dots are easy to connect.
As The Stew wrote when Dell was hired at NESN, her job is the most popular of its kind in baseball. The sideline reporter for NESN doesn't just relay info to a very engaged baseball fan base, she carries enough clout to get her own bobblehead. She's the "the de facto homecoming queen of New England." Heidi Watney, who Dell replaced, now works for MLB Network. So this isn't just any ol' TV news gig.
The Boston Herald has more on NESN's decision to move Dell away from the Red Sox:
“NESN has an active search for a Red Sox sideline reporter,” station spokesman Gary Roy said in response to an inquiry from the Track. “Jenny Dell, a multi-talented on-air personality, is anchoring ‘NESN Sports Today’ and handling other assignments for NESN" ...
Dell and Middlebrooks, who have been dating for nearly a year, began appearing together in public last fall after the Sox won the World Series. On New Year’s Eve Middlebrooks texted his 143,000 followers a pic of him with his arm around Dell and the message: “Happy New Year from us to you! Here’s to a great 2014!”
— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) January 1, 2014
In fairness to Dell, her job isn't to be an investigative reporter or cover the team as fairly and objectively as a beat writer at a newspaper would. She's a pretty face that fans at home can count on to tell them about injuries, relay info about promotions and interview players after the game. Which is to say, the "conflict of interest" flag isn't as enormous here as it would be for some other media members. Still, it was enough that NESN needed to do something.
Dell might have left the Red Sox soon enough anyway. She's been rumored to be in line for bigger and better jobs. Fox Sports 1 has been mentioned as a suitor.
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