The highlight of the Detroit Tigers’ season came when reports of a physical altercation between play-by-play man Mario Impemba and color commentator Rod Allen hit the internet. The incident occurred on Sept. 4, and neither man returned to the booth for the remainder of the season. The Detroit News reports today that the Tigers will not being bringing either of them back next season.
According to the report, Impemba’s contract only ran through 2018, and will not be renewed, while Allen is currently working with the team’s lawyers to come to a buyout agreement for his contract. The Detroit News also provides more details about the Sept. 4 blow-up, which came after a dispute over a rickety chair and some on-air passive aggressive behavior:
And, as often had been the case between two broadcasters who got on each other’s nerves, late during the game on Sept. 4 there was a 43-second blackout when Impemba, again irked by what he believed was Allen’s fixation on emails, Twitter, and texts rather than on the game, decided he would boycott the microphone as retaliation, a source said.
There were three chairs in the tightly packed booth, only one of which was sturdy: one Impemba had mindlessly or, perhaps carelessly, decided to occupy when it rested in his broadcast spot. Allen has had back issues and rigid seats are important. When he arrived, he expected the more supportive chair to be his.
Impemba, according to a source, said nothing but was steamed as he turned it over. Impemba’s ire was obvious and now Allen was miffed:
“Are you mad that I took this chair?” he asked, according to the source. The pot now was boiling — over — as a profane exchange flared.
This all sounds a bit petty and childish, but it’s honestly hard to blame anyone for acting out a bit after spending 162 days a year in a cramped booth with the same co-worker for 16 years. I’ve been sitting next to Barry Petchesky for six years now, and I’m sure that if we’re both still here in 10 years we’ll be spitting in each other’s coffee.