We knew this was coming because there had been rumbles about it back when Logan Morrison was sent down to AAA back on August 13th, but now it’s official: Morrison has filed a grievance against the Marlins. The basis, as reported by Amy K. Nelson of ESPN: that the demotion was a form of discipline without just cause, not a demotion for baseball purposes.
Which it probably was. Morrison was second on the team in OPS when he was demoted. But he had skipped a function with season ticket holders and his outspoken nature — particularly on his Twitter feed — was making the Marlins uncomfortable. Nelson details the many minor incidents that have involved Morrison this year. That it was a behavior thing was all but admitted by the Marlins when team president Larry Beinfest told reporters that Morrison needed to learn more about “being a major leaguer.”
Ultimately these grievances don’t amount to much. Morrison could get the difference between his big league pay and minor league pay for the time he was at AAA. I suppose the Marlins would be on some sort of double secret probation. It’s probably far more significant from a team/player relationship point of view. And that didn’t seem too hot to begin with.
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.