The tall task of replacing the late Red Sox PA announcer Carl Beane continues Thursday night when Jon Meterparel of WEEI takes a shot at transforming his “Sports Flash” voice into a “Now Batting” baritone at the Fenway Park loudspeaker.
However, radio personalities are apparently not the only ones that believe they could become the next Beane or even, perhaps someday, the legendary Sherm Feller.
According to several organizational insiders, NESN on-field reporter Jenny Dell would also like to audition for the role.
Per decree by Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, tryouts are supposed to be by invitation only. However, Dell has made her expectations quite clear to enough people in the front office that Red Sox brass is becoming increasingly uncomfortable by the day with the prospect of giving her a flat-out ‘No Thank You.’
Dell, presumably tired of the immature catcalls and lecherous looks from perverts in the first-baseline box seats, likely views Beane’s vacant slot as her only ticket out of the stuffy confines of the camera well near Tarp Alley.
However, as one mole in the front office pointed out, “Let’s not be cruel about this or anything. But Jenny’s ‘Around the League’ reports can be a bit…laborious…”
Measuring his words carefully earlier this week, Lucchino seemed to agree. “We just aren’t sure that, how do I put this, her on-camera, um, charisma will appeal to people, you know…solely in an an an… aural sense.”
Said another official within the organization, “Look, everyone’s been real nice about this whole thing so far. We all watch her on NESN and gush over her conservatively managed beauty. And we’re happy she’s maintained a skin-to-shirt ratio that would make Nick Punto’s batting average look gaudy. But honestly, somebody’s going to have to man up on this and tell her the truth even if that means offending an employee of our sister company.”
So far, though, the prospect of turning Dell down has proven more difficult to carry out in practice than it sounds in theory.
“John Henry took her out to a nice dinner at Capital Grille the other night with the intention of politely saying no. We fed him this great euphemism about how you wouldn’t use your best outfielder as a designated hitter,” said one insider with knowledge of the proceedings. “But he got back to Fenway Park and couldn’t look anybody in the eye. He just had this, this stare. Then we found him several hours later in a trance just staring through a picture of the NESN logo like it was the Mona Lisa. Like all of a sudden he’s just mesmerized by the NESN logo? We have no idea what happened.”
Some members of the organization have come around to recognize the inevitability of Dell becoming the next Beane.
As one insider in the Dell camp points out, “In the early 1990s, the Red Sox replaced Sherm Feller with a woman (Lesley Sterling). Then, they had a few men do it. It’s time for a woman to take over again.”
Brainstorms are already in the works for the likelihood that the Red Sox eventually cave to Dell’s demands, including the idea of placing a camera in the PA announcer’s booth and filming Dell as she performs her duties throughout the game. “We’d likely condense footage from this ‘Booth Cam’ into a tidy 150-minute package that would be replayed on NESN during off-peak hours similiar to the Sox in Two wrap. One hundred and Fifty Minutes with Jenny Dell does have a ring to it. A high-definition DVD of highlights from the 2012 season could be in stores well before Christmas.”
One thing seems certain: Dell seems to have proven herself inseparable from the NESN microphone.
Observed one fan at Fenway on Wednesday night: “She carries that big old thing around with her everywhere huh? How can anyone think she was meant to be anything BUT Fenway’s PA gal? She is inseparable from the microphone. Go Jenny!”