I know I mention this a couple of times a year and I know it makes me sound like a big freakin’ crank, but I’ll say it again anyway: most inside the park homers are lame.
Case in point: Eric Young had one last night in the Rockies-Dodgers game. Video here. The picture to the right says it all, though: it was an inside the parker by virtue of Matt Kemp misplaying the ball off the wall, which he allowed to dribble back into shallow center.
Most inside the park homers are like that. Either a misplay, or an outfielder falling down or something. Much like triple plays — which are often themselves the product of a mental error by a baserunner or happen by sheer dumb luck — I find inside the park home runs to be kinda boring and anti-climactic.
For exciting plays, give me clean triples, or runners scoring from either first or second base on close plays. Defensively, give me an around-the-horn double play or a laser throw from an outfielder.
And get off my lawn.
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.