Yesterday, the Tigers’ feisty curmudgeon of a manager Jim Leyland was at it again, going off on a reporter who had the temerity to suggest his Tigers weren’t as good as their record. This time it was a national newsman, and I can’t help but feel that some of the local guys that cover the Tigers sat quietly by and privately smiled, thinking that they were glad it wasn’t them. In 2011, asking Jim Leyland questions is about as fun as someone sticking a banana in your pocket and turning a monkey loose.
For anybody that has followed the Tigers this season, they know what I am talking about. Leyland’s anger at reporters is something of a regular occurrence in 2011. Leyland has gone off on several reporters in the Detroit area, mainly about them questioning his lineups, using language that would get any kid back in my day a full bar of soap. Now, I still can’t defend some of the ridiculous lineups that Leyland posts day to day, but this reporter in particular had it coming.
What is the question that got the reporter on his bad side? He suggested that the Tigers weren’t as good a team as others because the Central Division is a weak division. He does have a point here. It’s not like the Central is full of juggernauts, but come on, you don’t ask a manager of a team that just won 12 in a row, and are fighting for the best record overall in the American League, that question. You just don’t. Of course he is going to get angry and fire some bullets to stick up for his team. What did the reporter expect? Yeah, we probably aren’t as good?
I would’ve liked for the reporter to do a little bit of homework as well. The Tigers are 18-14 against the vaunted AL East, with winning records against the Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays. They do struggle against the Red Sox, going just 1-5 against them, but the current state of the Red Sox isn’t very good at all. They might not even make the playoffs. The Tigers are also 6-3 against the best team in the west, the Texas Rangers. In other words, their record is no fluke, and for the most part, they have competed favorably against some of the best teams in the league.
This blow up yesterday was nothing more than a manager sticking up for his team, and I think it’s safe to say that most of us have his back on this one. Can the Tigers get a little national respect at some point? Don’t think the players didn’t notice either. I’m sure they could hear him out in that locker room. It’s one of the things about this team that is easy to like, they seem to stick together, kind of like Lloyd McClendon and his underwear could stick to a wall after last night’s game.
Early in the year when the Tigers were struggling, I couldn’t get behind Leyland and his attitude. After all, it was just beat reporters trying to do their job and asking questions that all of us wanted to know. Those lineup questions really bothered him didn’t they? The f-bombs were a little unwarranted then, and he seems to favor a bull and his fecal matter. Winning helps though, and Leyland’s lineups that we all didn’t like have ultimately worked out in the end.
The Tigers are finally going to win a division for the first time in a very long time.
Leyland and his blow-ups were once unsettling and a little uncalled for. Now, I have to say I found it quite endearing. The only thing he needs now is a sleeveless tee with grease stains on it, and maybe a mohawk, and the Tigers have the perfect manager.
Go get em’ Jimmy. Maybe you can straighten Keith Law out, even if you don’t know who he is.