A one-time Tigers television play-by-play anchor is taking a new job in 2019, but it will not be in Detroit.
Josh Lewin, who was Fox Sports Detroit's play-by-play regular from 1998-2001, last week departed his job as Mets radio voice and is expected within days to be announced to a similar post, likely on the West Coast.
Lewin would not talk specifically Saturday about his new job as contract talks are finalized. But he is not, he said, a contender for FSD’s play-by-play spot, which opened in September when Mario Impemba’s tenure ended following an altercation in Chicago with analyst Rod Allen.
It was Impemba who replaced Lewin in 2002 after Lewin left to work TV games for the Texas Rangers, which he did through 2010. Lewin joined the Mets in 2012 as their primary radio play-by-play presence.
The Tigers and FSD are staying quiet about contenders during a search that from all indications has been wide — and wide-open.
A final decision is expected perhaps in late December, or early in January.
Allen, too, was cut loose by FSD following September’s fracas, and a replacement will be named. A prime candidate is Dan Petry, the one-time Tigers pitcher who has done assorted Tigers TV work and who long has been considered a successor to Jim Price if and when Price, 77, retires, as Dan Dickerson’s radio partner.
Kirk Gibson is expected to return to FSD as a part-time analyst in 2019. But there will be a self-imposed limit on Gibson’s appearances, perhaps 60-80 games, as he continues to deal with Parkinson’s disease.
Lewin, 50, also works as radio play-by-play man for UCLA football and basketball, which was a factor in leaving the Mets, he said, as he settles on friendlier logistics for himself and for his family.
The Tigers have made clear they are not fond of moving Dickerson to FSD’s TV booth, even though Dickerson’s occasional stints there have pleased bosses and, from all indications, the general Tigers audience.
Radio remains integral to a big-league team’s brand, Tigers executives have insisted, which precludes in their mind relocating Dickerson from a radio booth he has occupied the past 20 years.
The Tigers TV job is considered one of baseball’s genuine plums, all because of Detroit’s and Michigan’s baseball appetite, confirmed by ratings during years when the team contends. Even during a rebuilding era that next season heads into its third year, the Tigers on FSD have been Metro Detroit’s top-rated evening program.
It is believed two potential contenders for Impemba’s old job are Don Orsillo, a former Red Sox announcer now with the Padres, and Wayne Randazzo, who does pre- and post-game shows for the Mets and who formerly worked as a Chicago sports anchor.
But the search is understood to be broad, and deliberate, with an announcement expected later rather than sooner. The Tigers are known to want resolution, at the latest, by Jan. 26, when TigerFest is scheduled at Comerica Park.