Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Grilli: Removing The Mayor Beginning Of Tigers' Woes

But Leyland Begs To Differ

This crazy, upside-down Tigers season of 2008 has just taken another little dipsy-do.

In this corner: Jason Grilli, deposed relief pitcher -- banished to Colorado last month after some turbulence in Detroit (literally in Detroit; he pitched OK on the road).

And in the other corner: Jim Leyland, flabbergasted, cranky Tigers manager -- sentenced to remain the Tigers skipper during his own time of turbulence.

Grilli said some things that got themselves printed, and made their way onto the Internet, and through the miracle of something called reading, burrowed their way under Leyland's leathery skin.

If only the team hadn't lost 1B Sean Casey, Grilli said. No Mayor, no harmony. And just like that, the Tigers' chemistry turned into a botched experiment by the Nutty Professor. Well, maybe there's something to that; you can't spell "harmony" without "mayor", you know.

Nonsense, says Leyland.

"Sean Casey? We're not doing well because we got rid of Sean Casey?," Leyland harrumphed, using some colorful language in the process. The manager went on to poo-poo Grilli's assessment of the clubhouse atmosphere. "Everyone's doing the same bleeping thing. They're walking around, bleeping joking, whatever the bleep they do. Nothing's changed."

Then this: "Jason Grilli isn't here because he didn't pitch well in pressure situations and he didn't pitch well in Detroit," Leyland said firmly. "If players want to start talking, then I'll start talking too. He should worry about Colorado."

There was more to Leyland's rant, which you can listen to here.

Leyland also made reference, later on in the sound bite, to players currently on the team who he accused of "popping off" to the papers with "weak bleep." He indicated that those were diversionary tactics and that those players will hear about it. Not really sure what he was talking about, although I know Brandon Inge and Gary Sheffield had made some comments about the team's work ethic, which weren't terribly complimentary. Inge lamented that the '08 Tigers have now become "the teams we used to beat" with hard work in the past. Sheffield seemed mystified by the team's relaxed demeanor. "I don't know if that means that we don't have a killer instinct or we're just a real loose team. I've never seen anything like it," Sheff said.

Bottom line: when comments like Jason Grilli's are enough to set Leyland off, it's obvious that the skipper's nerves are frayed and that he might be showing signs of overt frustration. Let's hope that this isn't seeping into his players' psyche.


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