A lot of ink was spilled last year talking about an alleged rift between Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey. One that had Hector Sanchez catching Lincecum most of the time with Posey playing first base or taking a breather.
As is often the case with the opening of spring training, however, reports of any disconnect are being downplayed now, with Andrew Baggarly reporting that Posey and Linceucm are waxing friendly and compatible:
“Yeah, that’s something that I’m going to be working on this year,” Lincecum said of working with Posey. “Obviously we didn’t throw to each other many times last year, but when we did – in the playoffs – it worked out. There’s nothing going on. It’s just a matter who was coaching that day and who (manager Bruce) Bochy would put in there.”
Posey called the matter “just speculation. Timmy and I have a great relationship. And ultimately, he and I want the same thing, and that’s to win.”
Baggarly notes that there’s still a good chance that Posey won’t be catching Lincecum much this year, as Bruce Bochy still wants to spell him at first base. But it sounds like the often floated notion that there is some sort of bad blood between the two of them is bunk.
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.