Jack Morris returns to Tigers' TV booth Friday; suspension lasted 10 games

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Tigers television analyst Jack Morris is set to return to the broadcast booth Friday night, ending the suspension levied after he seemed to imitate an Asian accent during an at-bat by Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani during a game last month.

Greg Hammaren, senior vice president and general manager for Bally Sports Detroit, confirmed Morris' suspension has ended. Bally Sports Detroit has not issued a statement.

Jack Morris.

Morris, 66, missed 10 broadcast assignments during his suspension, which was handed down Aug. 18, after the incident during the Aug. 17 Tigers-Angels game at Comerica Park.

The incident happened in the sixth inning of the game with Ohtani coming to the plate with first base open. Play-by-play man Matt Shepard asked Morris how he would pitch to Ohtani, and Morris responded, "Very, very careful." He used a heavy accent. The incident quickly caught fire on social media, with many criticizing Morris, while others defended him, suggesting he was doing an Elmer Fudd impression.

Morris apologized on-air a few innings later.

Still, it took less than 24 hours for Bally Sports Detroit to suspend Morris indefinitely, saying it was "extremely disappointed" in Morris, while the Tigers said they were "deeply disappointed." The Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force blasted Morris.

Ohtani, the two-way sensation for the Angels, later told reporters he wasn't offended, while Angels manager Joe Maddon said he accepted Morris' apology.

Bally Sports Detroit said in August that Morris would have to participate in bias training.

Morris hasn't addressed the incident since he was last on the air.

Morris, a Hall of Fame pitcher for the Tigers in 1980s whose No. 47 is retired by the team and on the outfield wall at Comerica Park, first joined the team's TV booth for 2015-17 and rejoined the network in 2019. He rotates game assignments with Kirk Gibson, Dan Petry and Craig Monroe. He's also done TV work for the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays, two teams with which he also won World Series championships.

The Tigers start a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984