Jonny Gomes “reached out” to Cardinals following reported celebration of Adam Wainwright injury

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Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News unknowingly created a controversy yesterday when he wrote about overhearing Jonny Gomes in the Reds’ clubhouse celebrating news of Adam Wainwright’s elbow injury by singing.

By last night McCoy had deleted the original excerpt while posting a follow-up article explaining his version of what happened and several other writers covering the Reds offered their own versions of the situation, all of which served to blur what actually took place.

Gomes then spent much of today making the media rounds to explain his side of the story and, as reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, “reached out” to Cardinals players in an effort to clear the air. Here’s some of what Gomes told Crasnick:

[Wainwright] is a good old Christian boy. He’s the guy that you root for as a fan and as a player. He did all his work in the minor leagues, grabbed the ball as a closer and converted to a starter. He’s the guy every kid should mirror. The hardest part was facing my friends and family. They’re questioning me like, “What’s wrong with you? You’re not that type of person.” I walked through the door and my wife questioned me right out of the gate. She was like, “What’s your deal already?”

The hardest part of my night was, “How do I clean this up without backtracking, because I didn’t do anything wrong.” I was just accused of doing something I never did. I’m not like, “I shouldn’t have said that,” or, “I wish I would have said that behind closed doors.” I didn’t do anything wrong. Flat out.

Despite taking down the initial article containing his version of the events McCoy has not actually backed down from saying he heard Gomes singing in a celebratory manner, writing:

He denies he was singing about Wainwright and said he was singing something else. I’m not the only one who heard “Wainwright” in his song, but I won’t throw anybody else under the bus. Maybe my 70-year-old ears are hearing things, but at the time I didn’t know about Wainwright and wondered to what Gomes was referring. I heard about Wainwright’s injury a few minutes later in manager Dusty Baker’s office.

Under these circumstances his “I won’t throw anybody else under the bus” comment is seemingly aimed at other media members who didn’t write anything about the incident and, once it became a big story, denied hearing Gomes sing about Wainwright. Whatever the case, McCoy has made it very clear that he regrets quoting what he overheard in the clubhouse, telling Crasnick that he “just thought it was something humorous” and “a cute throwaway thing.” Here’s more from McCoy:

I didn’t think it would create this kind of furor. I love Jonny Gomes. He’s one of my favorite people, and I’m sorry he has to be dealing with this. I didn’t sleep last night.

Lost in all the hoopla surrounding Gomes, Wainwright, and the Cardinals-Reds rivalry is a pretty interesting journalistic quandary. Beat writers spend hours every week in a team’s clubhouse, where they no doubt overhear all kinds of stuff that would make for juicy articles and instead restrain themselves. However, my sense is that McCoy only quoted what he heard yesterday specifically because he didn’t think it would be a big deal. Had he thought Gomes’ behavior would have caused a big uproar or even just gotten the outfielder in a little hot water, it certainly seems like McCoy wouldn’t have written anything about it.

In other words, in many cases the juicer something said within the clubhouse doors the less likely it is to be quoted or written about directly. We’ll never know exactly what was said by Gomes in the Reds’ clubhouse yesterday, but we do know that the one guy who wrote about it did so only because he wrongly believed it wouldn’t get Gomes into trouble.

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.