Earlier this week we learned that Frank McCourt and the Dodgers, in their battle with Major League Baseball, wanted to take discovery of other teams like the Marlins and the Mets in order to establish that they were held to a different standard than the Dodgers were being held to. Today the judge ruled: sorry Frankie.
Bill Shaikin reports that the judge ruled that “[t]his hearing is a not a referendum on the Commissioner or other baseball teams …” and that he’s done listening to the parties offering “allegations and innuendo” and wants to put an end to what he called a “sideshow.”
He has set a hearing, beginning on October 31st, in which Bud Selig and Frank McCourt will testify in person and the judge will determine whether or not MLB has been jerking McCourt around, thereby weakening baseball’s claim that McCourt had violated its debt, capitalization and other rules. If it is found that baseball has treated McCourt fairly, it could be the beginning of the end of his reign as owner.
This has to be construed as a big win for baseball, as the financials and side deals to which other clubs are subject are something baseball does not want brought out into public.
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.