Louis William "Lou" Merloni (born April 6, 1971) is an American radio personality and a former Major League Baseball player. Merloni was scouted by hall of fame scout 'Buzz' Bowers, and played for his hometown Boston Red Sox from 1998-2002 and again for part of 2003. Merloni is well-known locally for his frequent trips between the Red Sox and their Triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, which has become known as the "Merloni Shuttle" . He also played for the San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
|Born: April 6, 1971|
|May 10, 1998, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 4, 2006, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Runs batted in||125|
Merloni was nicknamed "Sweet Lou" by Boston fans since he was born in Framingham, Massachusetts. He graduated from Providence College in 1993 and still holds several single-season and career records for the now-defunct Friars baseball team.
Merloni is known for hitting a home run in his first major-league at bat in Fenway Park, a 3-run home run off of José Rosado on May 15, 1998.
After beginning the 2006 season in Triple-A, Merloni was called up to the Cleveland Indians on May 17, 2006. Merloni signed a contract with the Oakland Athletics for the 2007 season. He played the season for the A's Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats. Merloni was chosen as the Most Valuable Player in the 2007 Bricktown Showdown, leading the River Cats over the Richmond Braves by a final score of 7-1. He was also voted Best Defensive Player and Best Teammate for the 2007 season. Merloni contributed a home run and 4 RBI in the game. Before the game, Merloni was chosen as the River Cats' team captain.
Beginning in March 2008, Merloni began appearing on WEEI-AM's Big Show as a co-host. On May 27, 2008, Merloni joined the New England Sports Network (NESN) as a commentator on the Red Sox pre-game and post-game shows. After the 2008 season Merloni decided not to remain with NESN. Merloni was hired by Comcast SportsNet New England during the 2009 season as an analyst and reporter.
In the offseasons of 1996 and 1997, Merloni served as a substitute gym teacher at Framingham High School, where he attended high school.
On June 6, 2010, it was announced Merloni would be inducted into the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame as part of their 2010 Class on November 20. He played for the Bourne Braves in 1991 and the Cotuit Kettleers in 1992.
On February 28, 2011, Merloni started co-hosting WEEI's Mut and Merloni with Mike Mutnansky. On May 27, 2014, Lou was joined by former New England Patriots tight end Christian Fauria and Tim Benz, a former beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and radio show host in Pittsburgh, to form "Midday's with MFB" after Mike Mutnansky was forced out of the show due to poor ratings.
In 2013, Merloni began serving as a part-time color analyst on Red Sox radio, teaming with play-by-play announcers Joe Castiglione and Dave O'Brien for select games. In October of that year he joined Castiglione and O'Brien for WEEI's broadcasts of the ALCS and World Series.
Steroid education controversyEdit
During an appearance May 9, 2009, on WEEI's The Baseball Show, Merloni claimed that the Red Sox organization had a doctor brief the players during spring training on how to correctly use steroids. Merloni claims the session did not encourage players to use steroids, but rather informed players that there were right and wrong ways to use them. Merloni stated "It was like teaching your teenage daughter about sex education. The organization acknowledged that there were likely players using steroids and basically 'if you're gonna use them, this is how you use them so you don't abuse them'". Merloni could not remember the name of the doctor nor the year in which the briefing took place.
Merloni's claim was quickly refuted by former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette who stated "It's ridiculous. It's totally unfounded ... If there was such a doctor, he wasn't in the employ of the Red Sox. We brought in doctors to educate the players on the major league drug policy at the time, at the recommendation of Major League Baseball".
Former Red Sox player Troy O'Leary was interviewed and stated he didn't remember the incident. "I remember the normal union meetings in spring training where they'd talk about drugs and steroids, and I remember doctors talking negatively about them, but I don't remember ever hearing anything like, 'OK, this is the right way to do steroids.' If that happened, I missed that one."
Merloni's account conflicted with former major league pitcher John Rocker who previously stated that a doctor hired by the Major League Baseball Players Association told Alex Rodriguez, Iván Rodríguez, Rafael Palmeiro and him how to use steroids after a spring training lecture in 2002.
On May 16, 2009, ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons claimed that an unnamed major league player corroborated Merloni's claim. The player, who also could not remember the doctor's name, placed the briefing as occurring during spring training 2001. The player is quoted as having said: "I'm not sure of the name of the doctor; he was someone outside the Boston organization. In no way did I think Boston was trying to push steroids; I think they just wanted to educate us on the subject. But you could tell by the faces on the training staff that they didn't think the doctor would say the things he did".
- Snow, Chris (February 16, 2006). "Youkilis is ready to start the Show". The Boston Globe.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2007-09-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Benjamin, Amalie (May 13, 2008). "Tavarez is relieved of duty". The Boston Globe.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2010-07-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Lou Merloni joins Red Sox broadcast team for postseason". WEEI.com. October 12, 2013.
- Nick Cafardo (2009-05-11). "Let's end the silent treatment". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- IAN BEGLEY (2008-02-12). "John Rocker: Union doctor told A-Rod, me how to use steroids". Daily News. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- Peter Gammons (2008-05-16). "Carolina's Dustin Ackley has 'it'". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-05-22.