Matt Shepard is the play-by-play voice of University of Michigan basketball, Eastern Michigan University football and the Detroit Lions Television Network. He can also be found on TV locally on Fox Sports Detroit and nationally on the Big Ten Network for college football and baseball.
Here, he answers a few of your burning questions.
Hometown? Farmington Hills, MI
Marital Status? Married, Lisa, with four children (3-boys 1-girl)
What High School did you attend? North Farmington HS
What is your Favorite sport to watch on TV and your favorite sport to attend in person?
Football on TV...hockey to attend
Who is your favorite actor or actress?
Clint Eastwood/Mel Gibson.....Ashley Judd
Who is your favorite sports celebrity of all time? Wayne Gretzky
Bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the ninth of the Game Seven of the World Series and your team is down one run...Which active baseball player do you want at the plate? Derek Jeter
Who is your favorite cartoon character? Bugs Bunny
What is your favorite national sports moment? Miracle on Ice
What is your favorite Detroit sports moment?
1984 World Series & 1997 Red Wings Stanley Cup
If you could change a rule in sports, what would it be?
I'd just like to see the strike zone called appropriately
What Detroiter do you admire most? Joe Dumars
College or Pro Sports? College
If you could invite three people to dinner, living or dead, who would they be? Jesus....my father (deceased)....my father-in-law (deceased) to see 'em one more time
What was your most interesting interview? Paul Newman at the Detroit Grand Prix
Favorite broadcaster of all time? Dick Enberg....but I really respect Joe Buck
Most embarrassing moment on the air? Stuttering during a line in a sportscast
What is your favorite Sports Team? Detroit Tigers
Shep's Daily Poll Question is brought to you by Art Moran Buick GMC
Too many times we associate price with production, but that’s the way sports and business works. If you spend 50-thousand dollars on a Cadillac you expect to last longer than a 23-thousand dollar Jetta. We use the same philosophy in baseball. When a team has a 150-million dollar payroll and their players are healthy, you expect them to out-perform the team that has spent 82-million on its roster. Doesn’t always work that way (ask Tampa or Minnesota), but it’s how a lot of fans and members of the media rationalize it.
This Tigers club has three 20-million dollar players; it has what is widely viewed as the best starting rotation in baseball; it has the best hitter on the planet and it is getting career type seasons from their middle infielders. So, why is this team tied for first and a measly six games over five hundred? Relevant numbers would suggest it has everything to do with a failure to produce late in games and an inability to hold leads. I see a bigger issue. It’s the same issue I’ve had with this club for years and, despite the Tigers finishing first in the division in each of the last two years, I do believe it’s a valid criticism. This team CANNOT generate runs. The Tigers rely on hitting the gaps, hitting the ball over the wall or stringing together numerous hits to score. Rarely do they put pressure on the defense. Sure Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder scare the hell out of pitchers and opposing teams play a “shift” against Detroit some times, but rarely are opposing pitchers worried about a stolen base and rarely are outfielders scared that Tigers base runners are going first to third on a single.
I am not a big “bunt guy,” but it is useful depending on the time and place. How many Tigers hitters can bunt effectively? How many hit really well behind the runner to advance him? If not for homers or extra bases in the gap, Detroit struggles. The three game series against Tampa is a small sample size, but they scored just two runs after the fourth inning in the ENTIRE series. How does a team with this much skill and talent score two or fewer runs 21 times this year? How is it possible that this team has already been shutout six times, one more than last year?
We can scream and point fingers at this teams backend of the bullpen all we want, just remember it’s only part of the problem. The money on this club is allocated toward its offense: Cabrera, Fielder, Martinez, and Hunter. They need to carry the load and they need to do it more often in the later innings or this team won’t have a chance to disappoint us in the post season.