For New England sports fans, Tom Caron may have the ultimate dream job.

Studio host for Boston Red Sox coverage on the New England Sports Network since 2004, the Lewiston native has had the perfect perch to watch many of the most amazing seasons the region has ever seen, including this year’s surprising run by the Sox.

“Things got a little crazy around Fenway Park in the last few weeks. What a ride it’s been,” Caron said Thursday during an online Great Falls Forum at the Lewiston Public Library.

Caron said that Fenway Park, which Bruce Springsteen once called the heart of Boston, “came back to life again” starting with the Wild Card victory over the New York Yankees and remained, “as loud and engaged and as energized” as it’s been in years, spurred in part by a younger crowd discovering the game.

Tom Caron, left, sits with other broadcasters on the New England Sports Network during coverage of the Boston Red Sox. Submitted photo

Though the team fell short of the World Series, Caron said it started off as underdog with low expectations and managed to put together “a wildly successful year” under the guidance of a brilliant coach, Alex Cora. He said the Red Sox are now in a good place.

“Fenway Park is going to be the place to be next year,” said Caron, who is thrilled that NESN is erecting a new studio above the center field bleachers to replace the one it has been using in Watertown.


For Boston sports fans, the last two decades have provided an unprecedented run.

Since 2001, Caron said, its teams have won six Super Bowls, four World Series, a Stanley Cup and an NBA title. “The biggest moment of all,” Caron said, came in 2004 when the Red Sox finally broke their 86-year drought to win the Series.

“We’ve been so incredibly blessed with the championship run,” Caron said.

He said one of the things he does at NESN is remind everyone that many of the most diehard fans watching the games aren’t in Boston. They’re in places like Vermont or Bangor or Lewiston, where he grew up on East Street.

The broadcasts are fans’ conduit to events they can’t see in person, providing “a portal into the bigger world.”

Caron, inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame last month, as its “least talented athlete” ever, was a middling soccer player at Lewiston High School when he decided to try to parlay his love of sports into a career. It worked out.


But his ties to his old hometown remain strong.

Lewiston native Tom Caron outside Fenway Park recently. Submitted photo

“I’m just a kid from Lewiston, Maine,” he said, who still pinches himself that he has the chance to pal around with men like Jim Rice and Pedro Martinez, two legendary ballplayers.

On the wall of Caron’s office is a 1965 photograph of Muhammad Ali standing over a flattened Sonny Liston at the end of a truncated, controversial heavyweight fight that somehow took place in Lewiston when Caron was just a baby.

“What an amazing thing that so famous a bout occurred in such a small city,” Caron said.

His father, whose Lewiston Mohawks batting trophy sits on a shelf near the photograph, served as both a city alderman and a member of the Civil Defense Police, a group hired to direct traffic for those coming to the fight. Once done, they were told they could go inside and watch.

But Ali knocked out Liston so quickly, with a famous “phantom punch” which remains controversial even decades later, that Robert Caron never got in the door before it was all over.


Caron recognizes how lucky he is to have the chance to be right in the middle of so much sports history and excitement.

He said that baseball needs more action and a faster pace, but it remains an amazing game.

The beauty of baseball, he said, is it provides “a daily story that takes twists and turns that you can’t believe,” serving as the original reality television.

“Remember, it’s fun,” Caron reminded fans.

Great Falls Forums, which aim to bring interesting people to a local audience, are co-sponsored by the Lewiston Public Library, the Sun Journal, Bates College and Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. It began 24 years ago.

The next forum is slated for noon on Thursday, Nov. 18, and features Maine state Rep. Charlotte Warren talking about criminal justice reform in the state.


Caron’s suggestions for improving baseball

• Let home plate umpires have access to the same technology everyone else to know when a pitcher throws a strike. Caron would still give umpires the leeway to ignore the device.

• Limit the defensive shifts to require two infielders on each side of second base.

• Add a pitch clock like the one used in the minor leagues successfully.

• Ban or heavily restrict mound visits by coaches and catchers.

• Resolve the next players’ contract to ensure there is no delay in starting the next season, something he said would be disastrous for baseball’s future given the new foothold it’s gotten among young people.

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