This might be a day that's more celebrated amongst Tigers fans than the day Al Avila was fired.
It was announced today that Matt Shepard would not return as Tigers play-by-play announcer for the 2024 season. The news was first reported by Tony Paul of the Detroit News.
Shepard got the job in 2019 after the infamous chair incident between longtime broadcast partners Mario Impemba and Rod Allen. He spent the last five seasons as the Tigers play-by-play announcer, joined by various color commentators, including Jack Morris, Kirk Gibson, Craig Monroe, and Dan Petry.
Here's a statement by Greg Hammeran, senior vice president and general manager of Bally Sports Detroit, from an article by Paul in The Detroit News:
"Bally Sports Detroit thanks Matt Shepard for his five seasons of dedication in the Tigers television booth, and wishes him the best in his future endeavors," Greg Hammeran, senior vice president and general manager of Bally Sports Detroit, said in a statement to The Detroit News. "He's been a great teammate and has an incredible passion for Detroit sports and bringing compelling storylines to millions of fans every year.- Greg Hammeran
Change is often difficult, but we feel it's time to head in a new direction and are looking forward to the process of finding our next play-by-play voice of the Tigers."
BSD will conduct a national search to fill the position. Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press added that they could get "ambitious" in their search.
As we alluded to at the start, Shepard was not well-liked among fans. It wasn't because he was a bad person, because that's not the case whatsoever. Fans did not think we was good at calling baseball games.
He often had trouble picking up flyballs, and seemed surprised when a ball would leave the yard. He made a few awkward statements as well. There was an article from Awful Announcing a while back that ranked all the broadcast booths in MLB, and the Tigers were ranked dead last.
Shep is a good dude, and we wish him all the best going forward. He has a lot of connections in the area, so he'll probably pick up another gig somewhere. But it was time for a change.