Detroit — Tigers TV analyst Jack Morris gave a lengthy apology during Tuesday night’s game after comments in the sixth inning were taken by some as him using a Japanese accent as Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani was coming to the plate.
Ohtani, the Angels’ two-way player who was hitting Tuesday and is scheduled to pitch Wednesday, came to the plate with a runner on second and two out in a 2-2 game.
Tigers play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard asked Morris how he’d pitch to Ohtani, with first base open.
Morris responded, in an accent: “Very, very careful.” He apologized a short time later.
The accent was taken by some on social media to be derogatory toward the Japanese. Others heard it differently, like an Elmer Fudd-type diction, or a take off Benton Harbor-born actor Arte Johnson’s famous quote, “Very interesting …”
“It’s been brought to my attention and I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially anybody in the Asian community for what I said about pitching and being careful to Shohei Ohtani,” Morris said during his 30-second apology in the ninth inning. “I did not intend for any offensive thing, and I apologize if I did (offend anyone). I certainly respect and have the utmost respect for this guy…”
Bally Sports Detroit declined to comment when contacted by The News late in Tuesday’s game.
Morris, 65, has been a Tigers TV analyst since 2019, and before that from 2015-17. He was the ace of Detroit’s staff in the 1980s, helping win the 1984 World Series title, and also won championships with the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Tigers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night after the game. The Angels declined to comment, and manager Joe Maddon said he hadn’t heard the comments when asked by reporters following the game.
Morris also did not respond to a request for comment.