He swallows? His eyes get moist? His gravelly voice sounds like it has being dragged through water? So what? I’ll happily take a manager who has to choke back tears over a guy who can’t seem to find any.
Jim Leyland belongs in Detroit. He should stay in Detroit. The Tigers should sign him again and again. Not only because, in seven seasons, he has steered this team to three playoff berths and two World Series, but because he is perfect fit for this city, dyed in the wool of a working man’s clothes, a former factory worker himself—a former mailman, for pete’s sake!
That’s right. Back in the 1960s, he’d go door-to-door delivering letters during the off-season. For all we know, he may have been to your house.
...There is no truth to that. Unless Leyland decides to ride off into the sunset—unlikely, if you ask me—he will return next year as Tigers manager. It should never have been in question. The manager with the 15th-most victories in baseball history and one of a handful to win pennants in both leagues, Leyland received a healthy dose of criticism from certain sectors this season—mostly on his lineup choices and loyalty to certain pitchers. But the echo chamber of the Internet or talk radio can make the jeering sound falsely louder than the cheering.
The fact is, the overwhelming majority of people like Jim Leyland and want him back. And what he preached all along—patience—has proven him right.
“To be honest, we were set up from the get-go this season,” he said. “We were set up from the Prince Fielder signing ... and rightfully so. I can remember telling a general manager, ‘You don’t really want to be in the news so much in February; you want to be in the news in September and October.’
“But it was only natural. People said, ‘Oh, my God, Prince Fielder, the Tigers, it’s just a matter of how much they’ll win the division by. They’ll waltz through the playoffs. They’ll win the World Series.’ Well, I know all along it doesn’t happen like that, but you just have to live with it.”