Tigers analyst Jack Morris suspended for Ohtani remarks

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DETROIT — Detroit Tigers broadcaster Jack Morris has been suspended indefinitely for racist comments he made about Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani.

When asked by play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard how the Tigers should pitch to Ohtani in the sixth inning, Morris adopted an exaggerated East Asian accent while saying “be very, very careful.” When Ohtani came back up in the ninth, Morris issued a lengthy apology.

“It’s been brought to my attention and I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially in the Asian community, for what I said about pitching and being careful to Shohei Ohtani,” Morris began, before going on to talk about his respect for Ohtani’s talent.

Bally Sports Detroit announced the suspension Wednesday.

“Bally Sports Detroit is extremely disappointed with the remarks analyst Jack Morris made during last night’s Tigers game,” the network said in a statement. “Jack has been suspended indefinitely from Tigers broadcasts and will be undergoing bias training to educate him on the impact of his comments and how he can be a positive influence in a diverse community. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination and deeply apologize for his insensitive remark.”

The Tigers, who retired Morris’ number after he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, issued a similar statement.

“The Detroit Tigers take immense pride in honoring the diverse cultures that make up our players, coaching staff, front office, fan base and community,” the team said. “We are deeply disappointed by the comments made by Jack Morris during the broadcast last night. We fully support Bally Sports Detroit’s decision and their ongoing commitment to ensure that all personnel are held to the highest standards of personal conduct.”

The incident comes 31 years after Morris, during his playing days, told a young female reporter that he “only talks to women when I’m naked if they are on top of me or I’m on top of them.” Morris, who was not naked at the time, was defended by then-team president Bo Schembechler, who blamed the Detroit Free Press for sending a female reporter into the clubhouse.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.