Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lyons: Unfunny - And Unemployed

DETROIT - Sometimes a self-promoting funny man is anything but.

Steve Lyons, aka the player once known as "Psycho" who took his gonzo act to television, hasn't been funny in a series of blunders and embarrassments on television. His latest cost him his job Saturday.

For the Fox network fired the baseball analyst for making racially insensitive comments about fellow commentator Lou Piniella's Hispanic heritage during Friday's broadcast of Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

Piniella had no comment yesterday other than to confirm that Lyons was not at Comerica Park after his dismissal the night before.

"Steve Lyons has been relieved of his Fox Sports duties for making comments on air that the company found inappropriate," network spokesman Dan Bell told the Associated Press.

Two years ago, Fox suspended Lyons after he made what were considered insensitive remarks about Shawn Green, who is Jewish, after the rightfielder, then with the Dodgers, chose not to play on the Yom Kippur holiday.

In making an analogy involving the luck of finding a wallet, Piniella used a couple of Spanish phrases Friday.

Lyons said that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol" (hablar is Spanish for "to speak") and said he still couldn't find his wallet.

"I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit too close to him now," Lyons said.

Yesterday, Lyons said he was just joking.

"If I offended anybody, I'm truly sorry," he told the AP in a phone interview.

Last week, Lyons and boothmate Thom Brennaman issued an on-air apology the day after they made fun of a New York Mets fan during a telecast. The fan, partially blind, was wearing an apparatus that enabled him to view the game. Neither announcer was aware of the fan's affliction.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday that the Cubs and Piniella could begin negotiations tomorrow for the team's vacant manager's job.

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