Quote of the Day: 'My ego is not in the way at all'

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Jason Giambi, on signing a minor-league contract with the Rockies in the hopes of nabbing a September bench role:
It’s cool. My ego is not in the way at all. I enjoy playing baseball. I’m a baseball player. I enjoy coming out here and playing with the guys, playing a kid’s game. They asked me if I minded going down to get some at bats and I said no, absolutely not. I want to help you guys win. There is no small role when a team’s in the pennant race. I’ve been in a lot of them over my career and it’s exciting to watch those guys play. They’ve got a great ball club and a great clubhouse. I know a lot of the guys. It’ll be fun to be a part of the ball club.
Aside from a couple of brief rehab assignments Giambi hasn’t been in the minors since 1995, when he batted .342 in 55 games at Triple-A as a 24-year-old. Fourteen years and 1,933 big-league games later he’s obviously near the end of the line, but for all his horrible defense, high strikeout totals, and low batting averages Giambi still has plenty of patience and power, and those are two skills that can be extremely useful off the bench.

Matt Shepard to be the Tigers new full-time play-by-play guy

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Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.

This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.

Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.

Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.