Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has been generally against expanded instant replay because, in his words, it could open up a “pandora’s box.” But he has changed his mind on that as of Saturday night.
That game ended on a blown call in which Joey Votto was pulled off the first base bag on a throw yet Carlos Beltran was called out anyway. The replays were clear, the umpire missed it and instead of the bases being loaded for a Matt Holliday vs. Aroldis Chapman showdown everyone walked to the clubhouse. Yesterday he told Mike Bauman of MLB.com that he has finally come around and that replay is both necessary and inevitable:
“You just want the right thing to happen … You’ve got a chance before you guys walk into your locker room to get together and try to figure out the right thing. The system isn’t allowing it. I’ve always been kind of, ‘I don’t know,’ [on expanded replay] … But to get something, moving forward, for a play like that, it dictates a game. And I think you’ve seen enough of them this year. Major League Baseball would probably say we’ve seen too many of them. I think it’s one of those years when the writing is on the wall.”
I know people like to say that there is room for disagreement on replay. And, yes, I will grant that implementation of any new program will have its challenges. But there is no excuse not to get the calls right. There is no objection to instant replay which is as compelling as the argument that the proper calls need to be made.
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.