Buster Olney says that CC Sabathia has lost 30 pounds this winter. To which I say: wow.
Still, I’m not going to slap with this with “best shape of his life” for a couple of reasons. Most directly, because I remember when CC was a young Cleveland Indian, and it would probably take more than a 30 pound loss for him to truly be in the best shape of his life.
But more to the point: Sabathia is one of the few guys in baseball who probably didn’t have a big need to lose weight. Oh, this will help — his knee is getting wonky and the less weight on it the better — but if it weren’t for that, he could probably do fine with some extra poundage. So much of Sabathia’s weight is below his waist, and that provides him with some serious stumps for planting.
Or not. Maybe someone who knows a lick about physical fitness and pitching mechanics can tell me I’m wrong. It just seems that Sabathia has had less of a struggle with stamina or any of the other problems one would think being big would cause than most big guys do. Indeed, he’s had more stamina than most pitchers in the game.
Either way, though, good for him for dropping some pounds.
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.