I’m guessing most ballplayers who play on the east coast stay up and watch west coast games when their work is done. I know for sure that Braves starter Brandon McCarthy does, because he often tweets about the games he’s watching into the wee hours.
Last night, for example, we know he was watching the Angels-Mariners game, because like everyone else, he was talking about Mike Trout:
That tweet — while in part a reaction to Trout’s big night — was more specifically made in service of McCarthy’s criticism of MLB Network for not doing enough to talk about and promote the game’s top players. He’d later say that, despite the fact that Trout is a fellow big leaguer, he knows very little about him. McCarthy’s got a point about that and I agree that MLB could and should do better with this sort of thing.
The tweet brought a response from one of McCarthy’s followers, suggesting ways in which McCarthy could remedy this in the meantime:
Not the worst idea, except for one thing . . .
McCarthy is 5-3 and that’s not too bad. He’s on pace to match his career-high in starts with 32, and every baseball man will tell you that there is considerable value in having a guy who will take that ball every fifth day. Winning teams — and the Braves are a winning team — are characterized by pitchers’ health more than just about anything.
That said: we appreciate the honesty and self-awareness, Brandon. We live in an age where such things are in short supply and we should rightly cherish them wherever they can be found.
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.