Red Sox News: Dennis Eckersley on COVID battle, “It wasn’t pretty”

Aug 3, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Hall of Fame pitcher and Boston Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley in the NESN TV booth before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Hall of Fame pitcher and Boston Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley in the NESN TV booth before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Red Sox legend Dennis Eckersley battled COVID in January

COVID has affected everyone the world over whether you’ve had to battle the virus yourself, know someone that has, or are just trying to survive in the current climate. The Red Sox have run the gamut from players testing positive with no symptoms to losing Eduardo Rodriguez for an entire year. But the far-reaching grip of the virus goes well beyond just the players and coaches on the field.

Recently, Boston legend and current NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley shared his story with Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe. The 24-year-veteran was afflicted by the virus back in January and he didn’t pull any punches when describing his experience. Though he’ll admit that he didn’t have a worst-case scenario or even something he’d deem “that bad,” he still felt the effects and has a story to tell.

"“I had like a mild fever for 10 days and that’s all I had,” he said. “It was annoying, but I couldn’t be annoyed because I didn’t have it that bad. It wasn’t pretty,” Eckersley continued. “I never felt right for a month. But I feel lucky. It can happen to anyone.’’"

It’s great to hear that Eck didn’t have too severe a case and was able to eventually bounce back. The former fireballer is in the age range that has been the most susceptible to the worst of the virus, so again, fantastic news from him. He mentions that he tested positive after visiting friends on the west coast at the beginning of the year. I think like most of us, he wasn’t feeling 100% and his mind went right to the coronavirus.

A wise move on his behalf though getting tested as soon as he could, especially with not feeling well and having been exposed to someone who had tested positive. He also informs Shaughnessy that he’s gotten the first dose of the vaccine which couldn’t come at a better time as he may soon be calling games with fellow Red Sox legend Jerry Remy, a multi-time cancer survivor.

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"“I had a feeling,” Eckersley told Shaughnessy. “I had been around somebody that had it and he called me and said he and his wife had it. I said, ‘Really?’ Two days later, I felt something. I went in, got tested, I had it.”"

Getting the vaccine ahead of the season will allow the charismatic color analyst peace of mind that he’s doing everything he can to keep those around him safe. MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo mentioned that NESN has yet to decide how games will be called this season as last year was a reaction to the shortened season and saw the commentary team work from the Watertown HQ.

The regular season is coming in hot as we’re under a month away from Opening Day, so NESN is going to have to get things figured out fast. Eck has a feeling that with fans returning to Fenway Park this season, the commentary squad will be in-house for home games and work out of Watertown again for away games. It’ll be nice to have the gang back in person but we all know how tight those commentary booths are so it may be a serious task to keep social distancing guidelines met.

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Boston is currently 3-5 in the Grapefruit League and sits near the bottom of the standings. For the Red Sox, this season is going to be more than just about baseball as they’ve been a massive disappointment since winning the World Series in 2018. Last year was a miserable slog of a campaign and one of the few enjoyable parts of it was Eck and his comrades. Now that he’s past COVID and feeling better we can hopefully look forward to more of his great one-liners and fantastic analysis.