Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: ESPN irritates fans with relief pitcher segment

kris10bentley
Aug 23, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) winces after a being called out on strikes to the Minnesota Twins in the first inning at Target Field. The Tigers win 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) winces after a being called out on strikes to the Minnesota Twins in the first inning at Target Field. The Tigers win 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers fans love their Fox Sports Detroit announcers and they do not like it when ESPN or Fox Sports One airs the games.

No other TV announcers know the Detroit Tigers quite like the play-by-play team of Mario Impemba, Rod Allen, and Kirk Gibson.

And, no other desk crew knows the team and the fans in Detroit like Craig Monroe and John Keating.

Unfortunately, ESPN turned what would have been a fabulous Sunday afternoon Kids’ Day Game into a late 8:08 PM first-pitch game. Along the way, they managed to bring back all kinds of hurt by reflecting back on the sorest spot for the Tigers and their fans: the bullpen.

We already know about the closers

They did it with a reflective piece about the failures of the relief pitchers since Joel Zumaya in 2006. The segment was an absolute slap in the face to anyone who loves the Tigers. ESPN showed clips of Joe Nathan, Joaquin Benoit, Fernando Rodney, and Jose Valverde. I actually couldn’t watch the clip Benoit – it was still too raw this many years later. Like me, other fans were not happy about this piece and it secured the fact that only the local guys do it right.

Bad seats for the ESPN crew

However, Comerica Park got its revenge on the ESPN play-by-play team. The trio that was covering the game did not get a posh seat above home plate where Mario and Rod always sit. They also did not get a quality seat in the balcony above right field. No, instead, they got some of the free seats under the scoreboard with the glaring sun in their faces at the start of the game. Anyone who goes to Comerica Park knows that these are some of the worst seats in the house. There is no view of the scoreboard and the view of the infield is at an odd angle. And, those seats are above the bullpen that the channel ripped to shreds just a few moments prior to the start of the game.

It sure felt good to see the ESPN crew sit there.

After the Saturday night game was unfortunately covered by Fox Sports One, the ESPN coverage is a disappointing follow-up. I have yet to meet any fans at Comerica Park or on Twitter who actually enjoy watching Tigers games on ESPN or FS1. In fact, many of them will mute the TV and listen to Dan Dickerson and Jim Price call the game on the radio instead.

We want our crew back

More from Detroit Tigers News

While it is nice that the Tigers are featured on national television, does ESPN really think that a national audience is watching? As a Tigers fan, I don’t really care who is on Sunday Night Baseball on a weekly basis – I’m watching the Tigers. Baseball fans are a loyal bunch and they will watch their teams. So, the pathetic analysis of the Tigers is lost on the fans who already know how good Miguel Cabrera is. We watch him every day. ESPN does not.

Next: Appreciating greatness on a daily basis

At the end of the game, the ESPN crew will be “Gone!” (imagine that in Dickersons’ voice). Even though we fans all know this won’t be the last nationally broadcasted game, we can all hope it will be. Fortunately, Mario and Rod will be back tomorrow and we can all listen to our familiar voices again.

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