MLB's crackdown on TV-front office moonlighting unlikely to impact Tigers' Kirk Gibson
Detroit — Kirk Gibson will continue to pull double-duty, in the Tigers TV booth and the team's front office, despite MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently expressing concern over such moonlighting.
Gibson is scheduled to call about 50 games, similar to last season, on Fox Sports Detroit, while serving as an adviser to general manager Al Avila.
Avila said the team hasn't discussed making a change on that front.
"No, we have not," Avila said in an email to The News on Friday.
"I don't anticipate any issues."
Manfred said at the recent owners meetings that he has had concerns with the dual roles, specifically in relation to Jessica Mendoza, who works for ESPN and was working with the New York Mets, and Pedro Martinez, who does analysis for MLB Network as well as the Boston Red Sox.
Mendoza resigned from the Mets on Friday, and was demoted off of ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" team after she made comments earlier this offseason critical of Oakland A's pitcher Mike Fiers, a former Tiger, for blowing the whistle on the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scam. Martinez also was critical of Fiers.
“It's a topic that remains under discussion internally,” Manfred said during the owners meetings in Orlando, Florida. "It caused a lot of complications, not just on this particular incident or comments, but in general.”
Manfred is believed to be more uneasy about national broadcasters working in front offices than local TV talent.
The concern, essentially, is a conflict of interest. TV broadcasters are essentially credentialed media — in the Tigers' case, paid by FSD and not the team — but there are questions about whether they can truly speak their mind on a broadcast when they're also paid by the team. Then there's the issue of a team employee being in an opposing clubhouse, as is custom for media members pregame. The Los Angeles Dodgers blocked Mendoza from their clubhouse last season.
The concern, essentially, is a conflict of interest. TV broadcasters are essentially credentialed media, but there are questions about whether they can truly speak their mind on a broadcast when they're also paid by the team. Then there's the issue of a team employee being in an opposing clubhouse, as is custom for media members pregame. The Los Angeles Dodgers blocked Mendoza from their clubhouse last season.
Gibson, 62, is in his second stint as a Tigers broadcaster, first working on FSD with Josh Lewin — they were "Gibby and the Geek" — from 1998 through 2001— and with Mario Impemba in 2002, and again as a part-time game analyst the past five seasons.
In between the television stints, Gibson worked as a coach and a manager, with the Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Last January, he was hired to be an Avila lieutenant, joining the likes of Al Kaline, Jim Leyland, Alan Trammell and Willie Horton. Lance Parrish came aboard this year.
Gibson is one of four former Tigers who will be in the booth this season, alongside play-by-play man Matt Shepard. Jack Morris returns, and Dan Petry and Craig Monroe will work on the pregame and postgame shows and could work some games in the broadcast booth.