I t may just be the plastic cup under the shifter housing. Remove the shifter boot and pull the 4 bolts on the top of the tranny. Pull it out and have a look.
If that is ok look for peaces of debri that may be in the way of the shifter arm. You may need to pull the 6 bolts for the bigger cover. You also need to lower the crossmember to remove the other cover.
you were right. theres a plastic bushing on on the ball joint at the base of the shifter and it was shreded in half. thanks for the help, i was about ready to drop the tranny to look at linkage and syncros. :duh: