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Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Boston Red Sox NESN broadcast booth: Will Middlebrooks in talks to join as color analyst; Kevin Youkilis discussions still ‘ongoing’

Kevin Youkilis isn’t the only former Red Sox third baseman who might be joining the NESN broadcast booth in 2022.

NESN is also in talks with Will Middlebrooks about coming aboard as a color analyst, according to Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal. McAdam writes that the network has not finalized deals with Middlebrooks or Youkilis quite yet; a source confirmed talks with Youkilis are “ongoing.” There are other former players believed to be in the mix, according to an industry source.

The NESN booth will look different than it has in decades after longtime color analyst Jerry Remy died in October. Dave O’Brien will return for his seventh year as the play-by-play man and Dennis Eckersley will also be back, though McAdam reports that Eckersley is only expected to work about half of the 162-game season.

It’s unclear if NESN will once again utilize a three-man booth like they have in past years or plan to pair O’Brien with a singular color analyst on a nightly basis. Youkilis, according to The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn, would work “in the range of” 50 games if hired. Middlebrooks’ potential workload is unknown.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 15, 2022 at 06:44 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 15, 2022 at 07:23 PM (#6065232)
Both are married to notable women: Youk's wife is Tom Brady's sister. Middlebrooks' wife is Jennie Dell, the former field reporter for the Sox for the early 2010s (if I recall the timing correctly).
   2. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: February 15, 2022 at 07:42 PM (#6065234)
I’d have been highly skeptical about Middlebrooks but he’s a hoot on Twitter. I won’t be surprised if he’s very good. Not sure about Youk, have never really heard much from him. A lot is going to hinge on the chemistry with O’Brien.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: February 16, 2022 at 09:25 AM (#6065262)
Both are married to notable women: Youk's wife is Tom Brady's sister. Middlebrooks' wife is Jennie Dell, the former field reporter for the Sox for the early 2010s (if I recall the timing correctly).
I saw Dell this year doing NFL games for CBS, which I assume is a good gig for the industry.
   4. Jay Seaver Posted: February 16, 2022 at 10:03 AM (#6065264)
Youk's been okay in the pregame chats where they've got a chance to prep a bit; maybe not as entertaining as Papelbon, but solid. Saw more of him than Mo Vaughn, and I don't know if that's just chance or if NESN wound up leaning on him most out of the trio they brought in for those bits last year. The Ellis Burks experiment didn't seem to last long at all.

Given that I was fairly sure we'd see them bring Merloni in from the radio side, both Middlebrooks and Youk seem like great hires.
   5. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: February 16, 2022 at 10:40 AM (#6065268)
Both are married to notable women: Youk's wife is Tom Brady's sister. Middlebrooks' wife is Jennie Dell, the former field reporter for the Sox for the early 2010s (if I recall the timing correctly).

Man, I only clicked on this thread because I wanted to make a joke about NESN having to be careful he doesn't hook up with the sideline reporter. Why you gotta ruin my fun?
   6. villageidiom Posted: February 16, 2022 at 10:46 AM (#6065269)
Given that I was fairly sure we'd see them bring Merloni in from the radio side
If they were bringing in Merloni I'd root for the lockout.
   7. Rough Carrigan Posted: February 16, 2022 at 11:28 AM (#6065272)
NESN is notoriously cheap. Thanks, Tom Werner. Whoever will work for the least has the inside track.
   8. Darren Posted: February 16, 2022 at 01:09 PM (#6065281)
I'm a little surprised they appear to be going with someone who they didn't give a trial run to last year. Hard to have any opinion without having actually heard him. I'm not optimistic that they'll return to a more baseball-centric broadcast.
   9. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 16, 2022 at 01:19 PM (#6065283)
Based on what I've seen, Middlebrooks appears like he could be very good at this sort of thing, in a straight-talking, humorous kind of way. Youkilis might be good, too - I have no idea - but it initially feels like more of a PR thing. Youkilis was probably one of the more beloved Red Sox players of the 21st century here in New England.
   10. Darren Posted: February 16, 2022 at 01:46 PM (#6065291)
What was Youk like last year? I don't think I caught him even once. He seemed to have a good sense of humor and a good amount of knowledge as a player and on social media since retiring.
   11. Jay Seaver Posted: February 16, 2022 at 05:45 PM (#6065319)
I'm a little surprised they appear to be going with someone who they didn't give a trial run to last year.


IIRC, we basically got a lot of Lenny DiNardo after Jerry stepped away, and DiNardo was capable enough considering he seemed to literally be a last-minute sub, but he seemed a lot better in the studio than in the booth. I think you need a stronger personality to push back against O'Brien and also not seem bland compared to Eck and Remy. Middlebrooks and Youk seem to have that. The other guy we were supposed to see a fair amount of last year, but really didn't - maybe he just wasn't up for that much travel during Covid - was Ellis Burks, and as much as I think I would greatly enjoy sitting in the Legends box with Burks chatting, he was one of those guys who said "consistent" a lot.

I remember enjoying Youkilis's appearances on the pre-game; he knew what he was talking about as well as anybody and seemed willing to get into details rather than just rely on ex-player platitudes. Just generally, he seems to be pretty sharp - he's started a couple businesses that did well enough after retirement - and down to earth. I could see him being pretty good at both the breakdown and keeping a blowout entertaining parts of the job.

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