Monday, October 16, 2006

Baseball Announcer Steve "Psycho" Lyons Gets Fired from MLB ALCS Telecast for Messin' With Lou Piniella

(I have to say I saw this coming. I just had a feeling putting Steve Lyons and Lou Piniella together in the TV broadcast booth was going to be a real problem. Piniella is a highly respected former player and veteran manager even though he is, in my opinion, a very flat and pretty dull announcer. He's as cool as a cucumber until you piss him off, and then he turns into the long-lost cousin of Attila the Hun. Just ask any of the umpires he's berated and intimidated over the years. Lyons has always had a quick wit and a very thin filter between brain and mouth. He's like the kid in class who's always cutting up and saying inapproriate things. After watching Game One, I could see these two would clash. The racial stuff will always take a guy down. Lyons has one of the most coveted jobs in the business and he had to blow the gig by being a smart-ass. Wow, he reminds me a lot of......ME!)

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DETROIT -- Fox baseball broadcaster Steve Lyons has been fired for making a racially insensitive comment directed at colleague Lou Piniella's Hispanic heritage on the air during Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
The network confirmed Saturday that Lyons was dismissed after Friday's comments. He has been replaced for the remainder of the series by Los Angeles Angels announcer Jose Mota.
"Steve Lyons has been relieved of his Fox Sports duties for making comments on air that the company found inappropriate," network spokesman Dan Bell said.
Lyons had been working in the booth for the ALCS alongside Thom Brennaman and Piniella, the No. 2 broadcast team for Fox this postseason.
A call to Lyons' cell phone was not immediately returned Saturday.
In the second inning of Friday's game between Detroit and Oakland, Piniella talked about the success light-hitting A's infielder Marco Scutaro had in the first round of the playoffs. Piniella said that slugger Frank Thomas and Eric Chavez needed to contribute, comparing Scutaro's production to finding a "wallet on Friday" and hoping it happened again the next week.
Later, Piniella said the A's needed Thomas to get "en fuego" -- hot in Spanish -- because he was currently "frio" -- or cold. After Brennaman praised Piniella for being bilingual, Lyons spoke up.
Lyons said that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol" -- butchering the conjugation for the word "to speak" -- and added, "I still can't find my wallet."
"I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit too close to him now," Lyons continued.
Fox executives told Lyons after the game he had been fired.
Piniella, approached before Saturday's Game 4, declined to comment on the situation except to say: "No, he's not here today."
This was not a first-time offense for Lyons, nicknamed "Psycho" during his nine-year big league career as a utilityman that ended in 1993 with the Boston Red Sox.
Hired when Fox began broadcasting baseball in 1996, Lyons was suspended without pay in late September 2004 after his remarks about Shawn Green of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Green is Jewish and elected not to play one of the two games at San Francisco that took place during the Yom Kippur holiday.
The network apologized for Lyons' remarks at the time.
Earlier in the playoffs, while working the Mets-Dodgers NLDS, Lyons unwittingly made fun of a nearly blind fan who was wearing special glasses to see the game.
"He's got a digital camera stuck to his face," Lyons said.
He also once pulled down his pants on the field during his playing days.
Lyons, 46, was a career .252 hitter with 19 home runs and 196 RBI for Boston, the Chicago White Sox, Atlanta and Montreal. He was a first-round draft pick by the Red Sox, 19th overall, in 1981.
(NEWS FLASH: As I was writing this, I got a HOT NEWS TIP that the aforementioned Lou Piniella will be named the new manager for the Chicago Cubs by tomorrow. Thank God, because he's a lousy announcer! Piniella's first hiring for his new coaching staff? You guessed it, not Steve Lyons, but listen to this -- Steve Bartman!! This is what my sources are telling me.)