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Curt Schilling, Jenny Dell, and footnotes

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  March 30, 2012 11:17 AM

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Today's media column, calling out  Curt Schilling's about-face as an analyst, is here. I should note that I don't have a problem at all with Schilling criticizing the Red Sox; it's his job, after all, and as I say in the piece, he's offered some thoughtful analysis this spring, particular in regard to the starting rotation.

My gripe is that given his mantra during his playing days that no one can know what's going on in the clubhouse if you're not a part of the team . . . well, he sure seems to think he knows what's going on in the clubhouse, and unless he's a late entry into the bid for the fourth/fifth starter roles and I missed it, he's definitely not a part of the team. He's a media member who now gets his information in the same conventional way a reporter does -- by talking to those who know. That he used dismiss the method he's now using is pretty rich.

Plus, he was way over the top in his criticism of Bobby Valentine and how his stewardship has already taken a wrong turn before a single meaningful game has been played. It's just the kind of thing he would have railed against, loudly and repeatedly and through as many mediums as would have him, as a player.

Chat is at 2:30. The post is below this one if you missed it.

One other media note that didn't make the column, but is something many of you have asked about: Why did it take NESN so long to put new in-game reporter Jenny Dell on the air? (She made her debut Saturday, though a couple of segments were taped.)

I checked in with NESN spokesman Gary Roy for an explanation. Here's his reply:

This is a non-story. Historically, NESN's Red Sox reporter has not been a big part of our spring training game broadcasts. Jenny has been doing what Heidi and Tina before her have done during spring training games, gathering interviews and comments for NESN Daily, since the clubhouse is open and players are made available during the games.

Regarding the taped introduction of Jenny, unlike at Fenway, we do not have a fixed in-booth camera in Fort Myers, so it is difficult to see people in the broadcast booth, so we pre-recorded the introduction interview.

It's a reasonable answer, though I do recall Heidi Watney being much more visible during the spring than Dell has been this year -- interviewing players coming off the field after workouts early in camp, that sort of thing. And NESN did have nine broadcasts this spring before she made her debut. Given the anticipation -- much of it built by the network -- regarding who would replace the popular Watney, it is curious that it took so long for her to appear on the air, just as it was surprising that her debut March 24 was taped.

The logical question was to wonder whether she was initially ready for the job. At ESPN, her online segments were recorded, and her live television experience before being hired by NESN was minimal. One industry source said the decision to hire her from among seven candidates was made in part because of her engaging personality and selfless attitude. Those were not Watney's strong suits behind the scenes.

No matter how clumsily NESN might have handled the buildup to Dell's debut, the belief here is that she will prove a strong hire. Her segments Saturday and Sunday (when she did go on live) were fine. She works hard. She'll get better. Chances are she already has.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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