Let’s get this straight: I will never root for the Boston Red Sox, nor will I pretend to.
I will also accept the reality that NESN and the Sox do an excellent job on the broadcasting side. NESN is home to some of my favorite broadcasters, including longtime vet Dave O’Brien and young-gun Mike Monaco on the PXP circuit. Jerry Remy will go down as one of the all-time legends in Boston, and an analyst (and, of course, stand-up human) that Sox fans will never forget. Dennis Eckersley and Steve Lyons had done commendable jobs in the color analyst chair when Remy was fighting his battles. Don Orsillo was a joyous, funny ray of light in Boston, and continues to live up to it as the voice of the San Diego Padres. NESN has sure put a quality broadcast product on its airwaves over the years as it pertains to baseball.
And, how can you forget, people…I made my NESN debut in December, too! I sure wish it were the Sox, but that’ll have to wait.
Last week, NESN made another ripple in the broadcasting world. They unveiled their new studio at Fenway Park on Wednesday, and it made its debut to cable boxes across New England on Friday’s home opener.
PIC: Steve Hewitt, Boston Herald
The studio, located in dead-center field at Fenway, is planned to be the new home base for NESN’s pregame and post-game shows for all Sox home games. This will replace the live-set NESN deployed on Jersey Street (formerly Yawkey Way); to be frank, despite the live interaction from fans, it wasn’t the best idea to stick an expensive set in the middle of the busiest street in Boston while Tom Caron tried to yell over the noise.
PIC: Pete Abraham via Twitter
NESN’s new Fenway studio is highlighted by a few key features that set it apart from others. At the center of attention is a 20x9 mural wall that is made up of 1,968 baseballs and sixty wood bats. It serves as the backdrop to the back-lit NESN logo, all in red.
PIC: Griffin Quinn, Boston Red Sox
According to the Red Sox, this will be one of many facelifts scheduled for Fenway Park over the next few months. It’s definitely long-overdue, as America’s oldest ballpark has been a tick behind others to make large-scale renovations comparable to its elderly counterparts… a-la-Chicago Cubs building new scoreboards and seating options. Sox ownership (Fenway Sports Management) has committed to keeping the park usable until 2061, so they’ll need to start coughing up some more resources in order to keep the people happy.
I’m curious to see what NESN’s investment yields for the MLB, and in-venue studios in general. This isn’t NESN’s first rodeo for in-venue studios; they’ve built one at TD Garden to host pre/post-game and intermission shows for Boston Bruins games, and it’s been received quite well - Tom Caron’s on-site presence during the Beanpot has been well-perceived over the years, too. Will we see more regional cable networks opting to invest more at the stadium rather than an off-site location? Only time will tell.