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Friday, June 29, 2012

For Once, NESN Makes A Good Hire In Terms Of An Ex-Red Sox Player To Work In Studio

If we're being real, NESN's pre and post-game coverage of Red Sox games isn't exactly appointment viewing. There are two criteria I use to decide if I'll watch on a given day or night: 1) what ex-player is sitting in and 2) was it an exciting/interesting game?

I won't pat the Watertown cable channel too hard on the back, since these are the same bozos that have hired stiffs like Jim Rice and Matt Stairs, but I will give them credit for making a good decision for once: today, they announced ex-pitcher Tim Wakefield will join the network starting tomorrow night.

Wake's first appearance will take place before Boston's game against Seattle at Safeco Field (10:10 p.m.), the third game of a four-game series. This time at least, he'll be paired with Tom Caron (a pro) and Rice (haha oh God).

"Tim Wakefield has been an integral part of the fabric of the Red Sox and the New England community for the past 17 years," said Sean McGrail, NESN President and CEO. "We are extremely happy to add Tim to our all-star lineup of studio analysts and believe that he will bring a unique perspective to our coverage with his knowledge of the team and the rest of the league."

Wakefield retired at the end of last season after a 19-year MLB career, spending 17 years as a popular member of the Red Sox (1995-2012). He ended his career with 200 wins, 186 of them with the Red Sox, which ranks third behind only Cy Young and Roger Clemens on the Red Sox all-time career win list. He was the American League Comeback Player of the Year in 1995, an All-Star in 2009, and a two time World Series Champion.

He was also a champion off the field as one of the most charitable players in the league. He was nominated eight times for the Roberto Clemente Award, and honored as the 2010 recipient of this prestigious award. His partnership with the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston allowed him to spend time with patients. He has also been active with New England's Pitching in for Kids organization, the Touch 'Em All Foundation and the Space Coast Early Intervention Center in Melbourne, Fla.

Every time the knuckleballer talked to the media in his playing days, he was thoughtful, well spoken and he came across as a normal guy you'd like to have a beer with. That's a good sign although it's not a slam dunk that he'll be able to bring anything to the table when he gets paid simply to talk and give his opinions. What makes a good analyst (cough Dennis Eckersley) is pretty simple: don't protect any players, managers, front office, etc. Tell it like it is, that's all fans want to hear. Don't talk wistfully too much about your playing days and please don't use too many cliches because then you are useless (Rice).

I think I speak for everyone when I say goodluck Wake, we know (fingers crossed) that you'll be an upgrade on Rice and Matt Stairs. I'm also going to guess that he'll be better than Jim Corsi. Haha remember him?

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