Yesterday Deadspin wrote a piece making light of sportswriters mourning Derek Jeter’s retirement announcement. The conceit was that these guys were writing as if Jeter had died. One of the jokes was “you can expect a column shortly on how the Hall of Fame ought to invoke the Roberto Clemente precedent so that he can be elected next winter.”
Not quite, but we’re close! Here’s Dan Pietrafesa of the Poughkeepsie Journal, advocating for a Hall of Fame rules change:
This is a plea to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to bend the rules. It’s been done before, so do it again.
Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera deserve to be inducted together into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.
It’s the right thing to do.
And it gets better:
So why not bend the rules? It’s been done before and for Yankee greats. Lou Gehrig — the only player on a special ballot — was elected in a special vote at the 1939 Winter Meetings because it was uncertain how much longer Gehrig would live with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — now also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Because it’s exactly the same sort of situation.
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.