John Keating talks Detroit sports amid virus pandemic

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This is typically the time of year that the Detroit Tigers play every night and basketball and hockey are in the playoffs. But that’s not the case this year.

Fox Sports Detroit Studio Host John Keating has been dealing with a sports world where there isn’t any live action. For the city of Detroit, April would’ve been a busy month.

“We love April because it goes right from Red Wings to Tigers and sometimes you have games on the same day and we love that — the back and forth,” Keating said. “Obviously, this new world has shaken us to our very core. So we’re all dealing with that with the firm eye on that what’s really important is health and safety and everybody just getting on the other side of all this.

Even without games to front or talk about, Keating said he’s still connecting with his viewers.

“We’re doing a lot of these Zoom chats and Facebook Lives. We’re doing all this classic programming on Fox Sports Detroit, which is great stuff, and Tigers and Red Wings and Pistons fans are really enjoying that,” Keating said. “The fact we are able to visit with some of the heroes that would have played in those games on Facebook Live is pretty cool.”

In the video above, Keating tells News 8 about the relationships he has built with athletes like Tigers greats Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson and other sportscasters like Ernie Harwell.

On the air, Keating is known for a snappy rapport with analyst Chris Osgood, a former Red Wing. The two swap pranks, including Osgood getting a novelty tie featuring Keating’s face.

“And not just my face, but one with my face from my Channel 13 days in Grand Rapids with a bad, cheesy Ron Burgundy mustache,” Keating recalled. “He showed up like it was no big deal, and I let it go for a few games, and then there was another tie that had a grimace on it that he found on a poster that was outside the offices at Fox Sport Detroit, and then there was another one that had more detail to it than you would like.”

Keating decided it was time to retaliate.

“I decided I was going to find the worst picture of Chris Osgood that I could, which wasn’t hard to do as it turns out — one that had a whispery mustache from a handful of years ago. And I went to a tattoo parlor and had the tattoo ostensibly put on me, and it sort of grew from there.”

It escalated to an unflattering photos on the signage outside Little Caesars Arena and Comerica Park, and ultimately on the ice and around the LCA concourse.

“Ozzie was at a loss for words,” Keating recalled.