Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Losing Jim Leyland is a crying shame

Jim Leyland cared.
Do you know what, that is the bottom line for me.
He moonwalked in the clubhouse. He got sprayed with sparkling cider.
He bawled and he sniffled and sure there were cynics who rolled their eyes.
Me, mine were too busy tearing up, too. Pass me some Kleenex. Thanks for the memories, Skip.
I like a guy who cares. I dislike guys who don't.
Cry me a river, Jim.
Go on and turn in our man cards, but there is nothing wrong with guys who cry.
Did I agree with everything the Tigers’ manager did on a daily basis? Hardly, but my resume in professional baseball begins at the ticket booth and ends in the beer line. Sure I played the game, but swatting a baseball off a tee, or smacking it on a high school diamond hardly puts me in the Mensa Society of baseball.
Still, bitching is part of the fun of being a fan. We're all experts because we have plunked our money down. We are all smart because we have yanked on our too-tight pants and stirrup socks and waddled out to the slow pitch softball diamond. Some of us have even picked up the phone and whined on sports talk radio. We sit around the cafeteria at work eating our bologna sandwiches with the slice of cheese and say "Geez, what was Leyland doing last night?"
That is the nature of sports. That is human nature. We are all experts even though my expertise is as imaginary as Criss Angel's levitation act.
Sure it drove me nuts when Leyland would take out a starter and hand over the team's fate to a bullpen that was held together by duct tape, twine and too many hanging curves. Sure I screamed a few times when the team failed to advance a runner be it by bunt, hit and run or whatever.
But do you know what; I scream more in a typical commute to work than I do in a week's worth of Tigers' games so I figure that is a mighty fine batting average on Leyland's part.
He gave us some fine moments, and that is not something the Detroit area is currently known for. We're the butt of plenty of jokes, but Leyland and his players kicked the butts of a lot of teams hailing from more scenic locations.
Three division titles and two American League pennants in eight years in the Tigers' dugout.
Leyland is 68 years old and when he announced that he was stepping down a week ago, he cited low fuel in the tank. He started to tear up a couple of times at the press conference with Dave Dombrowski sitting next to him. He cried plenty after the Tigers won a playoff series or the pennant. He thanked his players, the front office, team owner Mike Ilitch and also us  fans.
We’re the fans that booed him. We’re the fans that cheered him. We’re the fans that agreed with him. We’re the fans that disagreed with him.
Yep, we fans have more personalities than Sybil.
Don't take any of it personally, Skip. It is just because the Tigers mean a lot to us. Just like they mean a lot to you. Jim Leyland cared. That is why I liked him.
Pass that Jim a Kleenex. Pass this Jim a Kleenex. See you later, Skip.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home