Milton Bradley has made headlines lately for basically refusing to stop talking about how miserable he was in Chicago, but did have some nice words for one member of the Cubs:
I have nothing bad to say about Jim Hendry. He gave me $30 million. God bless Jim Hendry and his family.
Most of the stuff Bradley says makes me roll my eyes and Cubs fans obviously have a much harsher reaction, but he has a point here. Bradley’s abrasive personality and various other issues shouldn’t have surprised anyone last year because he’d already worn out his welcome with six other teams in nine seasons, yet Cubs general manager Jim Hendry still handed him a $30 million deal.
Fans, media members, former teammates, and ex-coaches have been ripping Bradley to shreds, and rightfully so in most cases, but lost in all that is the big-league GM who gave $30 million to an emotionally unstable, oft-injured outfielder with a lengthy track record of issues and incidents. Bradley was being Bradley, but in theory at least Hendry should have known better.
If you pay $500 for tickets to a Britney Spears concert and she spends two hours lip-syncing terrible songs while prancing around in outfits that no longer fit you can certainly boo her off the stage and then complain for the entire car ride home, but ultimately what did you expect when you paid $500 for tickets to a Britney Spears concert. Hendry knowingly paid $30 million for the Milton Bradley experience and the Cubs certainly got it.
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.