If you have lost patience with the Gold Glove Award as a measure of defensive excellence, the Fielding Bible Awards are here to help.
Voted on by a 10-person panel which includes the likes of Bill James, Peter Gammons, Rob Neyer, Joe Posnanski, Doug Glanville, John Dewan and the video scouting team at Baseball Info Solutions, the award aims to recognize the best defensive player at each position in major league baseball. This is the seventh year of the award.
Below are the 2012 winners:
C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B – Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B – Darwin Barney, Cubs
SS – Brendan Ryan, Mariners
3B – Adrian Beltre, Rangers
LF – Alex Gordon, Royals
CF – Mike Trout, Angels
RF – Jason Heyward, Braves
P – Mark Buehrle, Marlins
Buehrle, a unanimous choice, has won the award in four straight years while Beltre was the only other repeat winner. Trout, Teixeira, Barney, Ryan, Gordon and Heyward are all first-timers. Molina, who previously won at catcher from 2007-2010, took the award back after Matt Wieters won last year.
This year’s Gold Glove Award winners for the National League and American League will be unveiled during a special broadcast of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight next Tuesday.
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.