Monthly Archives: February 2014

Love-scorned Wally the Green Monster publicly shuns NESN’s Jenny Dell on Truck Day™

NESN on-field reporter Jenny Dell knew that the backlash was coming. But she couldn’t have known just how deep or just how real things would get. And spring training hasn’t even officially begun.

News of Dell and Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks’ romantic relationship became official last month. Amidst calls for Dell to be fired due to a conflict of interest, the reporter has been heaped a fair helping of criticism, all the while taking it in stride without creating any additional stir with any response. NESN subsequently moved her off the on-field reporting duties, for which her popularity has soared since she got the job prior to the 2012 season.

During a sitdown with Jenny Dell last October, Wally seemed to become distracted right from the get-go.

During a sitdown with Jenny Dell last October, Wally seemed to become distracted right from the get-go.

Unfortunately, thanks to an uncomfortable incident in which the Red Sox team mascot turned a cold shoulder to Dell during Saturday’s Truck Day™, she is coming to more fully realize the downfalls to being a bombshell reporter.

Sources tell Fenway Pastoral that sometime Saturday morning, Dell approached Wally the Green Monster about doing a lighthearted interview segment as part of NESN’s expansive Truck Day™ coverage.

Wally, a source confirmed, brushed his shoulder briskly as though cleaning off a bit of lint with one of his large, oversized paws, utterly dismissing Dell’s overture. Then he sauntered away.

All this comes just over four months after Wally nearly broke his 16-year silence by granting Dell an exclusive interview for NESN.com.

Media experts who initially called for Dell’s dismissal from NESN feel she’s simply being served her just desserts.

“It’s Truck Day and Jenny can’t get the team mascot to talk to her. God, that is embarrassing! This is really just Jenny taking her medicine,” spat one media guru, struggling to contain his excitement.

Many believe Wally grew his beard last summer in order to "keep up with Middlebrooks."

Many believe Wally grew his beard last summer in order to “keep up with Middlebrooks” in his lovesick quest for Dell’s affection.

“I say ‘Good for Wally’!” another expert said. “He’s just drawing a line in the sand on this and I commend him for it. I’ve heard that Jenny’s been leading the poor furry little thing on for two years. Now, it looks like the ol’ shoe is on the other proverbial over-sized, green plush foot if you know what I mean.”

However, people who have been around the team say Wally has had a hopeless crush on Dell since she was hired by NESN and that having to hear about her relationship with Middlebrooks over Twitter was the last, galling straw that broke the creature’s back.

(Fenway Pastoral also notes that Wally has a somewhat checkered past when it comes to his relationship with network talent vis a vis this 2011 story about his odd affection for Jade McCarthy, who left NESN for ESPN shortly thereafter: Wally the Green Monster Sends Lewd Text Message to NESN’s Jade McCarthy).

“I don’t want to say Jenny led him on or anything,” said a team official. “But, yeah, it’s possible he misconstrued her interview requests and photo ops with him as something more intimate. Look, Ms. Dell is a very attractive woman and sometimes, in the throes of love, we delude ourselves.”

The Sox mascot had only this to say through his spokesmen: “I admit it. I’m hurt. I’ve heard a lot of people say I’m not a real player even though I wear a Red Sox uniform, walk around on the field before games, and show up to charity events and birthday bases. I’m more or less one of Jenny’s coworkers. We’re both team employees. She owed me better than to do me like that. Things between us will never be the same again.”

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This Week in Boston Baseballing, February 1 – 6

The baseball season is rapidly approaching. Pitchers and catchers will begin to show up in Fort Myers in about a week and position players won’t be too far behind. Some guys, like Daniel Nava, Jon Lester, Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr., have already been down in Florida for a few days.

Unless you have a strong opinion about who should bat leadoff or the relative merits of re-signing Stephen Drew, buzz around the team continues to be fairly minimal considering the Red Sox won the World Series last year. That figures to change in the next couple of weeks.

The Leadoff Hitter Debate
On FanGraphs, Paul Swydan comes to the conclusion that Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia are the most logical candidates to take over for Jacoby Ellsbury vacated leadoff spot in the batting order. Ellsbury’s replacement in center is Jackie Bradley Jr. and, at first glance, may seem like he fits the bill since his on-base rate in the minors was strong. However, Bradley does not have a lot of raw speed, nor is he a notably better baserunner than Victorino or Pedroia. That’s leaving out the difficulties JBJ had getting on base at the major league level during his brief stint with the team at the start of the 2013 season.

As Swydan notes, the youngster who could enter the leadoff discussion isn’t JBJ but rather Xander Bogaerts, who showed an almost shocking amount of poise and discipline during his postseason at-bats.

Bogaerts has a keen batting eye, which make him an ideal candidate to hit at the top of the order. He struck out a fair amount in his very brief major league debut, but a) The Book reminds us to not consider strikeouts when constructing a lineup, and b) Bogaerts’ strikeout numbers in the minors were not egregious, and he should adjust as he gets more plate appearances. If he hits right from the jump, he would probably make for a better candidate at the top of the order than would Victorino, simply from the standpoint of being able to see more pitches. Victorino was right around league average, at 3.83 pitches per plate appearance (the American League average was 3.86), but Bogaerts was up at 4.10.

Victorino would figure to get the first crack at leadoff once the season begins. John Farrell seems to be the kind of guy who appreciates continuity so even if Shane struggles at the start of the year, this argument could be a non-starter if the team is scoring runs. Lineup construction is of limited value to begin with and there is no sense putting undue pressure on Bogaerts if it can be avoided.

David Ortiz Lost Some Weight Maybe
Moronic talk radio fodder: What if he’s gotten TOO SKINNY?

The Stephen Drew Saga Continues
In the Tuesday Boston Herald Clubhouse Insider, infield coach Brian Butterfield fanned the flames of uncertainty:

“Shortstop is so demanding, and they get so many groundballs and there’s so many times they’re handling the ball, consistency becomes so important, especially if you’re talking about a championship-caliber club,” Butterfield said. “If you do have a young shortstop and he’s going to be the guy — and we still don’t have a definitive answer on that — he needs to mature quickly and become a consistent defender in order for us to be successful. The groundball that he can get to on time and on balance, you want to get to a point where you know that runner is out. That’s a consistent shortstop.”

Drew was great for the team last year. But it’s worth asking why the Red Sox continue to be interested. Is it because they’re simply not convinced Bogaerts can handle the shortstop position at the big league level? Or is it that Drew could be had for a salary so far below what his production merits that Ben Cherington just can’t pull himself away? Or are they doing Drew the favor of keeping in touch to aid his market? After all, it’s looking like Drew probably did the Sox a courtesy by declining arbitration and a 1 year, $14m contract.

The Team Announces a Stacked 2014 Red Sox Hall of Fame Class
The primary news of the week coming from official team releases was the announcement of the team’s 2014 Hall of Fame Class: Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra and radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione.

Standards for induction are relatively lax:

To be eligible for nomination, players must have played at least three years with the Red Sox and must also have been out of uniform as an active player at least three years.

But let it be known that the team hasn’t had any inductions since 2010, a year that included inductees such as John Valentin, Jimmy Piersall and Don Zimmer. Pedro, Clemens and Nomar all go in together.

Curt Schilling Announces Cancer Diagnosis
Here’s hoping Schilling is able to kick this as quickly as possible and that he gets a fair chance to show what he has as a color man in the ESPN Sunday Night baseball booth.