Rating MLB play-by-play and color analysts: The AL Central

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 24: Chicago White Sox television play by play announcer Jason Benetti looks on prior to the game against the Cleveland Indians on September 24, 2019 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 24: Chicago White Sox television play by play announcer Jason Benetti looks on prior to the game against the Cleveland Indians on September 24, 2019 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
Kirk Gibson, center, with former teammates Lou Whitaker and Jack Morris. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Detroit Tigers: Matt Shepard, play-by-play; Kirk Gibson, color

Two years ago, the Tigers booth situation exploded when partners Mario Impemba and Rod Allen were fired after they fought openly over, of all things, a chair. The Tigers replaced the duo with announcer Matt Shepard and analyst Kirk Gibson, but only the atmospherics are better.

Tigers telecasts still suffer from the same underlying problems: lack of chemistry resulting in a lack of any interesting dynamic.

The principal problem is Gibson, an unfortunate circumstance since as a World Series hero, he brings an obvious name-recognition element that the telecasts very much need.

The problem is that Gibson has very little to say, and what he does say is offered in a clipped, mundane, almost somnolent manner. A former MLB Manager of the Year with the Arizona Diamondbacks, it is as if he approaches his audience the way a manager would approach interchanges with the working press, careful not to give away too much.

Gibson is sometimes replaced or assisted by Jack Morris, whose concurrent duties as a part-time Twins analyst put him in an anomalous position. Simply put, Morris is a step up from Gibson.

Shepard is a familiar and entirely competent veteran voice for the Tigers, having worked in various Detroit-area sports enterprises for two decades. His assignments have included the Red Wings, the Michigan Wolverines, the Lions, and the Pistons.

Next. The dumbest rule change idea yet. dark

Shepard’s is the classic case of the nice guy in a bad situation.

Experience: 2

Likeability: 3

Knowledge: 4

Humor: 3

Rapport: 4

Oratory: 3

Total: 19