Mark McGwire is getting more HoF support. As he should.

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Let’s make it a Hall of Fame trifecta. I missed this over the weekend, but here’s Ken Davidoff of Newsday, explaining why, after years of resistance, he has decided to vote for Mark McGwire on his Hall of Fame ballot:

Every era has its taint, whether it’s gamblers, steroids, racism or
something less pernicious such as ballpark dimensions. Our job is to
sift through the nonsense, take the emotion out of the conversation and
determine the best players of the era.

A McGwire induction in Cooperstown wouldn’t be the most uplifting or heart-wrenching. That’s all right.
Life is complicated. We can discuss what happened and what it means.

My thoughts exactly. The guy is a product of his era, and there’s no basis for me thinking that he was any better or any worse a person than hundreds of others in the game during that time or during previous eras when gambling and segregation made a mockery of the competition.

Within the context of his era, Mark McGwire was a superior player. To blackball McGwire is to deny that reality. Likewise, to vote for him is no capitulation to cheating. History will do a better job of judging the era and its players than a quorum of writers who lived through the era can.

I know a lot of you will disagree. Before you do, however, I recommend that you give Davidoff’s reasoning a look first.

(thanks to reader Rick Bender for the heads up)

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.