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Friday, August 30, 2013
Remy makes only choice he could

By Gordon Edes

BOSTON -- Jennifer Martel is the victim. Anything else said here begins and ends with the death of a 27-year-old daughter, mother, co-worker whose Waltham neighbors held a candlelight vigil for the murdered woman Tuesday night, 12 days after she was stabbed to death at her home.

Charged with her murder is Jared Remy, the father of their 4-year-old daughter, Arianna. Jared Remy, 34, who has a long history of domestic abuse, has a famous father: Jerry Remy, the former Red Sox second baseman who in 26 years as the team’s color analyst on television has achieved a celebrity he never knew as a player.

Jerry Remy was in Toronto on Aug. 15, broadcasting a Red Sox game against the Blue Jays, when Jennifer Martel was slain. When police arrived, Jared Remy was at the couple’s home, they said, covered in blood.

Jerry Remy
Jerry Remy appropriately, but sadly, won't return to the Red Sox broadcasts this season.
Remy has not appeared on a Sox broadcast since. He has made no public appearances, his only statement coming on his official Twitter account, in which he said he and his wife, Phoebe, were “heartbroken.’’

“Son or not,’’ his statement read, “I am at a loss for words articulating my disgust and remorse over this senseless and tragic act.’’

On Thursday night, minutes before the end of Boston’s 3-2 loss to Baltimore at Fenway Park, Remy’s business partner, John O’Rourke, released another statement on Remy’s official Twitter account. In it, Remy announced he would not be back in the broadcast booth for the remainder of the season to spend time with his family.

Five minutes later, NESN released the same statement.

“I am full of grief for the Martel family,’’ Remy said in the statement. “My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to them. My wife and I are sick about this senseless tragedy. It’s clear this isn’t the time for me to return to broadcasting Red Sox games. It’s my hope that I can do so in the spring. I thank the Red Sox and NESN for their support through this nightmare.’’

So much of this Red Sox season has been an unexpected joyride, with no end yet in sight. But there has never been a baseball season in the century-plus history of this franchise in which reality has intruded so darkly as in this one.

It was shortly after the Sox had finished playing their annual Patriots Day game when bombs went off less than a mile away on Boylston Street, near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Five days later, Fenway Park was the designated temple of healing for a community grieving for the harm wrought to innocents.

And now this: In a region already shocked by murder charges brought against Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, fans returning their No. 81 jerseys in a ritual expression of communal loathing, the son of the homegrown RemDawg, as beloved a figure as ever has sat in front of a mike on Yawkey Way, was being held without bail, charged with killing the mother of his child. Murder times two in what we so often view as a make-believe world, where heroes don’t run into burning buildings but score touchdowns and hit home runs, and villains sack star quarterbacks or strike out the hometown slugger but never draw real blood.

Jerry Remy, with his heavy Boston accent and nicotine-stained voice, has served as the trusted companion of baseball fans here for more than a quarter of a century. He earned respect with his knowledge and candor; he won affection through his comical by-play with his partners, especially Sean McDonough and for the last 13 seasons, Don Orsillo. Rem was a most welcome guest in New England’s living rooms, and it was a source of great concern when Remy announced he had lung cancer, and of greater consternation when he still snuck butts after being diagnosed.

It in no way diminishes the magnitude of the tragedy entailed by the death of Jennifer Martel to state that Remy’s absence from the booth has taken some of the joy from this baseball season. It is inconceivable, of course, to imagine Remy coming back under these circumstances, although according to a well-placed source, NESN gave him that option, telling him he could return for this homestand.

That would have been a terrible mistake. There is no room for RemDawg’s shtick while his son is sitting in a jail cell, a 4-year-old deprived of her loving mother. The message boards and chat rooms have carried many words of support, but harsh judgments and accusations also have been rendered. By virtue of his bloodlines, Remy’s presence would have cast its own shadow, something he fully recognized.

Besides, who says it’s even possible to broadcast a baseball game with a broken heart?