Matt Shepard will be Fox Sports Detroit’s primary Tigers play-by-play broadcaster in 2019. The story was first reported by Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press and confirmed by the network on Tuesday. The long-awaited announcement ended an offseason of rumors and speculation as to who would replace Mario Impemba in the broadcast booth.
Shepard served as the network’s primary play-by-play man late in 2018 after Impemba and Rod Allen were suspended following an altercation in early September. Fox Sports Detroit announced shortly after the season that neither Impemba nor Allen would return in 2019. While the network cast a wide net in their search for their next play-by-play broadcaster — Fenech reported that over 100 people applied for the job — Shepard’s experience with the team and the network won out.
This experience is why Shepard was considered one of the early favorites to land the job. He has been broadcasting in the Detroit area since the early 90s, and has appeared on Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings broadcasts for several years in a number of different roles. Shepard has also served as the radio play-by-play broadcaster of Michigan basketball and Eastern Michigan football.
Joining Shepard in the booth will be former Tigers Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris. The two will split duties as analysts, with Fenech speculating that Gibson’s workload will remain consistent with what he has done in previous seasons. Morris also serves as a color broadcaster for Fox Sports North (Minnesota), so his role and split between the two regional sports networks (RSNs) remains unclear.
Former Tiger Dan Petry will also have a larger role on Fox Sports Detroit gameday broadcasts, though he will only serve as a studio host for now. He has previously filled in on radio broadcasts alongside current play-by-play man Dan Dickerson. Petry will join Craig Monroe on Tigers Live before and after games.