Rod Allen and Mario Impemba, TV broadcasters for the Detroit Tigers on Fox Sports Detroit, won’t do another Tigers broadcast in 2018. Fox Sports Detroit announced their decision on Friday, a day after it was reported that Allen and Impemba got into a physical fight after a game.
Allen and Impemba got into a “physical altercation”
On Thursday, Katie Strang of The Athletic reported that Allen and Impemba got into a “physical altercation” after Tuesday’s Tigers game. The two had to be separated by a third party, and the incident resulted in their absence from Wednesday’s Tigers broadcast. They were sent home, but Fox Sports Detroit was careful to make sure they weren’t traveling together on their way back to Detroit.
Impemba and Allen have opposing personalities and broadcast styles. While those perspectives can make for interesting broadcast fodder, it resulted in “simmering tension” for Impemba and Allen.
They will be absent for the rest of the season
Fox Sports Detroit announced Friday that neither Impemba, the play-by-play announcer, or Allen, the analyst and color commentator, would be scheduled for another Tigers game in 2018.
After speaking with all involved parties, FOX Sports Detroit has decided not to schedule Rod Allen and Mario Impemba for any future Tigers telecasts this season. Since this is an internal matter, we will have no further comment.
— FOX Sports Detroit (@FOXSportsDet) September 7, 2018
It’s not clear if either Allen or Impemba are officially suspended, or if they’ll be paid for the remainder of the season. They also didn’t reveal who would be calling games in their stead. Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson called Wednesday’s Tigers game.
While their status with Fox Sports Detroit is murky, this gives the network time to figure out what to do next season. After what happened, would Allen and Impemba be able to work together again? Or do they need to find a new broadcasting crew?
The fight was over… a chair?!
The initial report about the altercation didn’t contain any details about what actually happened or what started it. A few hours later, WDIV provided a few more details about what reportedly went down.
Sources told Local 4 that Impemba left the broadcast booth at some point and Allen followed, assaulting Impemba from behind and choking him.
The altercation was because of a disagreement over a chair in the booth, sources told Local 4.
WDIV also reported that there were several long silences during the game, like 43 seconds of silence in the bottom of the sixth inning. That would seem to indicate that the two weren’t on the best of terms during the game, perhaps because of whatever issues there were with the chair. Did Impemba take Allen’s chair? Was Allen’s chair broken? Was there only one chair and the two of them had to share it, or switch off using it? We may never know.
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