By: Joel Alderman
Don’t expect her to return. Things came to a head over the weekend when Dell and the network separated by mutual agreement. She had been on NESN’s Red Sox games for two years, after succeeding Heidi Watney, who is now with the MLB Network.
Jenny Dell and Red Sox player Will Middlebrooks in a relationship
Somewhere along the line Jennie Dell hooked up with Boston’s occasional and often injured third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Since the end of last year’s World Series they have been seen together in the Boston area at several events. During the winter holiday season Middlebrooks tweeted a picture of himself with his arm around her. The writing said “Happy New Year from us to you!”
She was a high school cheerleader in Connecticut and in college
It is not generally known, even here in Connecticut, that Jenny Dell has a special following here. Although her parents are from Brooklyn, N.Y., she grew up in Southbury. She attended Pomperaug High School, where she was a cheerleader, and graduated in 2004.
She recalled on the NESN website, “When I wasn’t at practice or on the sideline watching our teams’ football or basketball games, you could find me in the kitchen. After starting my own catering company, Simply Dell-icious, I received a scholarship to attend culinary school.”
Instead, she went to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where she was also on the cheerleading squad. Starting in her junior year she worked for the UMass Athletic Department, coordinating and hosting athletic events for the student body, alumni and donors. While there she became a Red Sox fan, although she grew up in her words as a “daddy’s girl” rooting for the Yankees.
After graduation from UMass-Amherst
Jenny graduated Summa Cum Laude from UMass-Amherst a semester early, and then worked for ESPN in the production department for four years, before getting her big break with NESN.
Well before spring training this year NESN took Jenny off the Red Sox beat. Instead, she was given a desk job and a position on a studio program called NESN Sports Today. It hardly had the prestige or exposure that she was used to on the Red Sox beat with Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy.
Although no official reason was given for being demoted, NESN could not be blamed if it wanted to avoid any question of impropriety. Kirk Minihane of Boston’s WEEI-radio, wrote that “a reporter cannot be in a romantic relationship with — much less living with — a player he or she is covering on a daily basis.” He called it the “ultimate conflict of interest.”
Dell’s last day on the job was Thursday (May 29th). Here is the non-committal statement issued by NESN:
“NESN and Jenny Dell have mutually agreed that this is the right time for her to explore other opportunities full time. Today is her last day at the network.”
The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn wrote that “there was frustration among management that she was entertaining offers and considering an attempt to get out of her contract.” That, of course, would be expected, since she was no longer allowed to do what she became popular for – working the Red Sox games as a sideline reporter.
Not a great time for NESN personalities
The NESN telecasts this year have had other controversies. As we have reported previously on SportzEdge, Jerry Remy has been a popular topic. NESN has continued to stand behind him.
Meanwhile, NESN hired ex-Dodger announcer and four-time Red Sox player, Steve Lyons, as a studio analyst, He has also been a Remy back-up in the booth. In past years Lyons created more than his share of attention on the field and behind the mike. He once was fired by FOX Sports for anti-Hispanic remarks. He also made Japanese, Italian and Jewish slurs on the air, for which he was highly criticized.
As a player with the White Sox, he is known for a game at Detroit in 1990. While dusting himself off after sliding into first base to beat out a bunt, he pulled his pants down to empty the dirt from his pockets, an incident giving rise to the nickname, “Moon Man Lyons.”
Although it certainly was not their intention, three of NESN’s personalities, Jenny Dell, Jerry Remy and Steve Lyons, have been the subject of their own stories.
Where does Jenny Dell go from here?
Jenny Dell went from sidelines to sidelines. She went from being a cheerleader on the sidelines at Pomperaug High School in Southbury to being a TV reporter on the sidelines at Fenway Park in Boston.
But her NESN days are now officially over.
Has love got in the way of a promising career? Only time will tell.
Dell, Jenny. “Jenny Dell Explains Her Road from ‘Daddy’s Girl’ in Connecticut. NESN.com. Feb. 19, 2012 http://nesn.com/2012/02/jenny-dell-explains-her-road-from-daddys-girl-in-connecticut
Finn, Chad. (2014, May 30). Jenny Dell’s departure from NESN is official. The Boston Globe.
Oz, Mike. (2014, Jan. 30). Red Sox reporter Jenny Dell reassigned after Will Middlebrooks Relationship goes public. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/big-league-stew/red-sox-reporter-jenny-dell-reassigned-nesn-because-012818455–mlb.html
“Steve Lyons (Baseball).” Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 1 June 2014 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Lyons_(baseball)