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
The Tigers have reached their high point in the season at 22 games over .500; they lead their division by six games and they have "handled" their closest competition, the Cleveland Indinas, by winning 12 of the 15 games so far in the series, including eight of nine in the Tribe's home ballpark. It's been a smooth 11 game roll for the Tigers despite Miguel Cabrera's injury, despite being without Omar Infante, despite the suspension of Jhonny Peralta and despite the second half struggles of Austin Jackson and Prince Fielder. They are winning for a lot of reasons (pitching primarily) and one of them is Jim Leyland.
I have never been a big Jim Leyland fan. He often times makes life difficult for us in the media, but that doesn't mean I can't give him credit where credit is due. He's helping this team win despite it's challenges. Many fans, or non-Leyland supporters, try and discredit his accomplishments so far by saying he has the most talented team with a high payroll so he should win. Granted. But that doesn't mean you can't give him praise for winning. I would also argue that the "talent" this team has is not always on the field together. Jackson was out for 31 games; Cabrera has been hobbled (yet Detroit 7-1 without him, including the ejection and the one at bat when injured) and Infante has been sidelined for a month.
Payroll means nothing. The 1985 Royals, 1990 Reds, 2002 Angels and 2003 Mariners all were successul with a payroll substantially below the league average. Eight teams last year had higher payrolls than the world champion Giants. Eleven teams had a higher payroll than the 2008 champion Phillies; 10 teams more than the Cardinals in 2006; 12 more than the White Sox in 2005; 24 teams owned a higher payroll than the 2003 Marlins and 14 spent more on their teams than the 2002 Angels did.
As Phil Jackson once said, "talent doesn't always win, you have to have the best teamwork to win." Some of that has to do with the guy pulling the strings, the coach or manager. Naysayers will tell you the Tigers have enough talent to win and that's true, but then why do those same non-believers suggest Leyland fails to get it done in the World Series. How can they credit the players for getting the team there based on their talent and not credit Leyland at all? Then they give him all the flack for NOT winning, without tipping their hat to him for how he helped the team in the regular season. Doesn't make sense, but then again, not much does in our society any more.
[PODCAST] Leyland vs Talent
Is the Tigers' recent success due to Jim Leyland or the team's talent? Does a high payroll has anything to do with winning the World Series?
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