The annual MLB All Star Game, originally scheduled for tonight on FOX has been cancelled and replaced with a three-hour tribute to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter who, in case you hadn’t heard yet, is retiring at the end of the season.
FOX is even bringing Tim McCarver out of retirement to gaze upon Jeter’s calm eyes one last time.
Sadly, I think the Jeter tributes are just getting started.
Former NESN sideline reporter Jenny Dell and rehabbing Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks got engaged yesterday.
Dell and Middlebrooks are not the first reporter and athlete to have a relationship, but theirs has come under unusual scrutiny, I’ve even commented on it in the past. This news should spark a new round of fingerwags from the usual suspects, though since Dell is no longer with NESN, it shouldn’t be an issue now.
Another former NESN star, Kathryn Tappen continues her rise in the media world. She will continue her work with NHL Network, but is also now joining NBC Sports, where she will have a variety of roles, including work on NHL Live, Football Night in America, Notre Dame Football, Super Bowl XLIX and future Olympic coverage.
Tappen is married to former NHL player Jay Leach, who had a brief stint with the Bruins. From their own wedding announcement in the New York Times:
The couple met in February 2005, during the National Hockey League lockout. Mr. Leach, who was with the Bruins then, went to Providence, R.I., to play for the Bruins’ minor league team. Ms. Tappen was covering sports for WJAR, the NBC affiliate in Providence.
I only point that that out to contrast it with the reaction given to Dell’s relationship with Middlebrooks, which is admittedly more high-profile, but I don’t recall people questioning Tappen’s professionalism when she was on NESN.
There are other reporter/athlete relationships, Samantha Steele and Christian Ponder are married, Erin Andrews dates LA Kings defenseman Jarret Stoll. It is actually surprising it doesn’t happen more.
If we’re talking about sideline reporters, it is worthy of mention that FOX “elevated” Pam Oliver from her position as lead NFL sideline reporter into “Senior Correspondent.” She will remain a sideline reporter, but with the announcing team of Kevin Burkhardt and analyst John Lynch rather than the top team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.
Replacing Oliver on the top team will be the aforementioned Erin Andrews.
If it seems like a step back, it is, and a it’s a bad move by FOX. Oliver is one of the best in the business, and if you saw Andrews do the Patriots/Buccaneers game last season, you know this is a step back in quality for FOX.
I like Andews better than most seem to, but Pam Oliver is a pro. Along with Michele Tafoya, Doris Burke and Suzy Kolber, Oliver is among in the top group of people in the position of sideline reporter. Burke and Kolber do a whole lot more than just work on the sidelines, and Burke is actually miscast in the role of foil to Gregg Popovich – she’s better as a game analyst.
With not much more going on in the local scene other than Dan Shaughnessy trolling Red Sox fans over Jon Lester, it seemed a good time to look at the above topics.