In 2018, Rod Allen was the Fox Sports Detroit television analyst for the Detroit Tigers, having been the first Black broadcaster in franchise history. Having served in the role since 2003, he was the voice of the Tigers when they went to the 2006 and 2012 World Series and had become a mainstay of the local sports scene.
That ended in September of that year when he and boothmate Mario Impemba got into a verbal and physical altercation over a chair during a game against the Chicago White Sox. There were initial reports that Allen had put Impemba in a chokehold though that was denied by Allen. Both were subsequently taken off Tigers broadcasts and fired soon after.
While Impemba ended up finding work in 2019 with the Boston Red Sox, Allen has been out of the game since then. That changes on Sunday when he’ll call the first of three games on the radio this season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Allen had previously worked on radio and television broadcasts for Arizona from 1998 through 2002.
Good Morning Twitter Fam! I’ve got GREAT news. I’m going to be back in the booth for 3 Arizona Diamondbacks radio games this month. The first game is this Sunday vs Cubbies. I’m really excited about this opportunity. Tune in if you can.⚾️
— Rod Allen (@RodAllen12) July 16, 2021
Before he returns to the booth, Allen spoke with a few Detroit outlets to mark his return and close the door on the incident that cost him his job. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Allen discussed the events of that fateful evening, clarifying again that reports of a chokehold were “not true.”
We both got caught up and a lot of foul words were exchanged. But there’s one part of the story that everybody has heard that is just false. It was written that I had allegedly chased him down and then choked him, and that is just not true. The incident was not at all that serious. It was not violent. Whoever put that out there did so because they wanted to assassinate my character and make me out to be the bad guy.
Ultimately, it cost both of us our jobs. We both could have done things differently. I’m not proud of the way it ended. It was one bad night out of more than 16 years. Those were years that brought joy to thousands of Tiger fans, through good and bad seasons. I love baseball and love sharing my passion and insight on the game, especially with Tiger fans who are some of the best and the most knowledgeable fans in the world. I look forward to another opportunity to work again in an industry that l have devoted my life to.”
While the role with the Diamondbacks is limited, a return to Detroit might still be in the cards. According to The Detroit News, Allen has been in discussions with Woodward Sports Network, Detroit’s all-digital regional sports network. The network features live programming on weekdays as well as podcasts and other shows.