UPDATE: WDIV in Detroit is reporting that this was far more than pushing and shoving:
Sources told Local 4 that Impemba left the broadcast booth at some point and Allen followed, assaulting Impemba from behind and choking him.
The altercation was because of a disagreement over a chair in the booth, sources told Local 4.
Which, um, yeah, that’s way worse than I think most of us envisioned. I suspect, if this report is true, Rod Allen’s days as a Tigers broadcaster are over.
10:41 AM: My wife is a big Tigers fan so I watch a lot of Tigers games. As such, I’m quite familiar with the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast crew of play-by-play man Mario Impemba and color commentator Rod Allen. They’ve been together for years.
I think Impemba is one of the better play-by-play guys around and, while not everyone’s cup of tea, Allen — who is, frankly, kinda weird sometimes — sort of grows on you over time. Tigers fans have even developed a drinking game for when he’s on the air that is fun, albeit dangerous for your liver. My favorite is that you get two drinks when he refers to a pitch as a “piece.” A slider is a “slide piece,” for example. Like I said . . . he’s a bit weird. All of that said, I sorta like those guys.
They do not, however, much like each other. Folks who follow the team closely or know people either with the Tigers or in the Detroit media scene have been aware of this for a while. Generally it’s just chalked up to stylistic differences and stubbornness, no doubt compounded by having to spend so much time together in close quarters. While there has, on occasion, been some coolness between the two of them during broadcasts and less of the fun banter a lot of broadcast teams share, they have always been professional on the air.
Who knew that it was this, bad, though? From Katie Strang of The Athletic:
Multiple sources told The Athletic that neither Impemba nor Allen were part of Wednesday’s broadcast due to a physical altercation between the two television personalities following Tuesday’s game in Chicago against the White Sox. It is not immediately clear what prompted the attack.
The Tigers hastily flew second string broadcasters Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson to Chicago to cover last night’s game. Impemba and Allen were flown back home, on separate flights. No one is commenting.
I’ve watched a lot fewer Tigers games this year than in the past several years because, frankly, I try to limit my exposure to bad baseball, but when I have tuned in I feel like Gibson has been in the color commentator chair more often than usual. Maybe they’re transitioning Allen out? Maybe this hastens that process.