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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Albom: No apologies needed from Jim Leyland for choking up about Tigers, Detroit

Tuesdays with Morley.

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.”

Repoz Posted: October 21, 2012 at 06:42 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jim leyland, tigers

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   1. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 21, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4278013)
I've got a few friends who are Tigers fans and really into the whole sabermetrics side of thing, so I've been having to listen to them ramble on about how terrible Leyland is for a while and that the Tigers organization needs to move more toward an ideology that is less old school and more welcoming of sabermetrics.

In other words, they're great examples of letting statistical analysis ruin your enjoyment of the game. THEY'RE IN THE GOD DAMN WORLD SERIES, BE HAPPY, MORONS!
   2. Tim D Posted: October 21, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4278098)
I am a Tiger fan since 1960 and am somewhat frustrated with their reluctance to embrace statistical analysis. But since the Dombrowski hiring they have been a competitive team and after 15 years in the desert that is pretty awesome. Leyland has his quirks and drives me crazy sometimes. In that respect he is like, well, like every other manager I have ever followed. They all have quirks. This is a solid organization. They throw too much money at the wrong guys sometimes, they make clinker trades sometimes, but who doesn't? By and large Dombrowski and Leyland have been very successful. One of the things I wished for all year was that they could come up with a corner OF who could DH and relieve them of the Delmon Young nightmare. Glad it didn't happen. They finally got rid of Brandon Inge when it looked like he was finally done and he went and had a decent year for Oakland and by all accounts made a big difference in the Oakland clubhouse. The more I watch the more I am convinced that whereas the stats types have created a whole new insight into the game, the old coots like Leyland really do know a thing or two. He can have the job as long as he wants in my book.
   3. Buddha Posted: October 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM (#4278637)
I couldn't care less if the Tigers adopt "statistical analysis" or not. Dombrowski has done an amazing job no matter what data he relies on to do it.

As for Leyland, he's great at keeping the clubhouse happy, but not so great at in game decisions. If I see him bunt only to open up a base so cabrera can be walked one more time I swear I'll kill the man. If he throws Benoit-Valverde in the 8th-9th one more time, I won't have time to kill him because 3.5 million Detroiters will beat me to it.

But he's so good at keeping the clubhouse in order I'm willing to overlook his deficiencies in managing a game. I'd be fine with him coming back for as long as he wants.
   4. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: October 22, 2012 at 08:07 AM (#4278734)

In other words, they're great examples of letting statistical analysis ruin your enjoyment of the game. THEY'RE IN THE GOD DAMN WORLD SERIES, BE HAPPY, MORONS!

While I agree with your main point, it'd be even easier to enjoy the Tigers run this October without you grousing about the team and its fans in every single Tiger-related thread. Give it a rest.

On Leyland, I love him. It's possible we'd win more with a Maddon type, but he wouldn't be half as fun. It's also very possible any manager wouldn't be nearly as good as managing the people and the press.

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