Brett Lawrie is still going to get suspended, it seems, but any of you who were saying this was or should be a Delmon Young/bat toss situation are going to be disappointed because, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.com, Joe Torre acknowledges that Lawrie was not trying to hit the ump with his helmet on purpose:
“The decision could have been better as fas as the direction, but I don’t believe he was trying to hit him.”
That seemed pretty obvious, of course, but it’s still significant that the man in charge of discipline said so. Yes, one is responsible for that which one sets in motion, but if he had really tried to go after the ump with his helmet, he’d be looking at 50 games or more.
My guess when this comes down: 7-10 game suspension, akin to a Milton Bradley-style ump bump.
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.