Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Don't Fret If Tigers Lose, Because Leyland Will Entertain Us

I think we're in for a real treat this summer.

Listen to Jim Leyland, the new Tigers manager, speak, or read his verbal gems in the newspaper, and tell me if we don't have another Sparky Anderson in our midst.

I have read Leyland's offerings and have laughed out loud, more than once.

There was this about a youngster who was playing outfield for the first time last week, and his adventure in catching a flyball:

"He ran a down and out pattern. He went back, then to the right, then over. I smoked two Marlboros before he ever caught it."

Can you imagine Alan Trammell, or Luis Pujols, or Larry Parrish, or Phil Garner, or Buddy Bell uttering such a thing?

No, not since Sparky have we had a manager who will provide the ink-stained wretches with glorious copy all year. And I, for one, am looking forward to it.

It's been awhile since "Pain don't hurt," or "There ain't enough perfume to make that one smell good," or "You haven't got nothing to talk about until you reach .500." Sparky's words, and they kept us interested, even when the team wasn't much to talk about.

The only thing worse than losing is losing boring. And that could have been a Sparky-ism right there.

Baseball, with its 162-game season and six months worth of time, more than any other sport needs spicy words between quotation marks. It's especially true for cities like Detroit, which hasn't seen winning baseball since 1993, and only once before that since 1988. That's two winning seasons in 17 -- and counting, if you're counting.

So what else has there been to do when it comes to the Tigers?

But with Jim Leyland, at least the summer promises to be fun even if the baseball isn't so hot. In fact, that may be when we get Leyland's best stuff. Losing coaches and managers seem to have more to talk about in a sardonic fashion.

"We didn't block," Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John McKay said when the expansion team was losing with monotonous regularity, "but we made up for it by not tackling."

"We lost a home game, which means we have now proven we cannot win on the road OR at home. So what we need now is a neutral site."

McKay was asked about his team's execution.

"I'm all for it," he replied.

Such beauties aren't generally spoken when the team is winning. Sarcasm works for more than just newspaper reporters, or bloggers, and such riffraff.

So if the Tigers stumble, and start losing, just know that it should be easier to absorb with Jim Leyland around to provide the colorful commentary.


Blogger Lee Panas said...

I'm a big believer that players rather than managers win games in baseball but I agree that Leyland is going to be entertaining. The Tigers haven't had a manager like that in a while. Who knows? He might even help them win some games.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

Well, he certainly won't help them LOSE any...

11:04 PM  
Blogger Ozz said...

I think Leyland will come up with some gems this season. He's off to a good start this season.

I wouldn't call him another Sparky when it comes to quips for one reason. I don't think he's going to blow smoke up our asses about anything, and I don't think he'll overhype anyone.

I don't see him being the type to call someone the "next Mickey Mantle" as Sparky did to Kirk Gibson early in Gibby's career. I think we'll always get honest assessments of the team and its players.

1:19 AM  

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