Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leyland's Superiority Complex Baffling

Jim Leyland, in case you haven't heard, is a rocket scientist.

He presides over a job so sophisticated, so complicated, that it defies the understanding of those who aren't rocket scientists.

He stands above all in his knowledge of his very scientific vocation, and therefore has no use for those whose brains simply cannot wrap themselves around the mesmerizing theorems, laws and corollaries that one must know in order to manage a baseball team.

OOPS---did I say Jim was a rocket scientist?

I made an assumption, since that's how he treats his job, and those who dare question his logic.

Actually, in the World According to Leyland, it's perfectly OK for fans of the sport to second guess and question. He thinks that's great. It shows passion and proves that Detroit is a great baseball town.

But if the second guessing and questions come from those who wear announcers' headsets or who scribble on a notepad or bang away on a keyboard, then he has no use for those types.

Or, in Jim's words, "People who don't know s**t about baseball."

The Tigers manager is as transparent as an icicle on this one.

He's OK with the fans second guessing him, because he doesn't have to talk to the fans. The fans don't show up in his office before games or afterward, daring to ask why he did what he did that night.

If they were, Jim wouldn't be so gung-ho for the fans' right to bitch.

Leyland's latest escapade with patronizing the media came on Monday, before the Tigers started their series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The day before, Leyland's removal of Rick Porcello after eight shutout, one-hit innings with a pitch count at 84 raised some eyebrows. In his rant on Monday, Leyland seemed to take the eyebrow-raising in stride---because it was coming from the fans, i.e. those he doesn't have to face.

But when 97.1's Jeff Rieger asked the skipper if the second guessing bothered him, Leyland attacked the media, distinctly placing them in a different category from the fans in terms of their knowledge of the game.

I don't mind the fans, Leyland said, but I do mind people "who don't know s**t about baseball." process of elimination, who was Jim talking about?

Rieger himself? Perhaps. But likely, the slap was directed at others on the airwaves and in print who've dared to criticize the way he handles a ballclub.

In talking about Leyland's rant to retired Detroit and New York broadcaster Bob Page on "The Knee Jerks" two-year anniversary podcast, Page said, "I've been a baseball fan since 1959. I covered it for over 30 years as a reporter and broadcaster." Page went on to say that while those years don't necessarily make him a manager, they don't make him an idiot, either.

Besides, how complicated is baseball, anyway? Funny how it can be portrayed as very simple---even by guys like Leyland---but when the heat gets turned up, the game suddenly takes on quantum physics-like properties that only a manager can understand.

Page also astutely wondered out loud, "Can you imagine this guy managing in New York? For either the Mets OR the Yankees?"

I replied that the Marlboro Man wouldn't last much longer than a cigarette in a New York dugout.

Earlier in the season, Leyland made fun of those who very reasonably wondered why he didn't bunt Brennan Boesch in Cleveland during that extra innings affair that the Tigers lost, when the only goal at that point was to score a single run.

"That's Little League stuff!" Leyland said. "Oh, 'little Johnny can bunt the guy over,'" he said as those in the room laughed.

The Tigers lost, which I didn't find too funny.

Since when is bunting a runner over "Little League stuff"?

And since when is Boesch above bunting? The manager said that he would "never" bunt Brennan Boesch, who at the time was hitting well over .300.

Boesch has been a major leaguer for less than one full season, pretty much. He's not Miguel Cabrera.

And what about Leyland's decision to save Max Scherzer for the home opener, rather than pitch him on opening weekend in New York against the Yankees?

The manager pretty much got a free pass on that one from those mean old media people.

The sardonically funny irony here is that I look at Jim Leyland's resume and I wonder how he considers himself so smart, and so above everyone else. He's not Joe Torre or Tony LaRussa or Ron Gardenhire, in case you were still confused about that---because I know Jim can try awfully hard to make you think that he is.

Here's what Jim Leyland did before coming to Detroit: he f***ed up NLCS series with the Pittsburgh Pirates three years in a row.

Then he caught lightning in a bottle with the 1997 Florida Marlins, then stole a paycheck from the 1999 Colorado Rockies.

In Detroit, he nearly blew a playoff spot in 2006, bungled a great first half in 2007, didn't have his star-studded team ready to open the season in 2008, blew a three-game lead with four to play in 2009, and saw another team fade in 2010.

That's how smart he is.

Just because you've managed for a long time doesn't make you a good manager.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.


Blogger xman said...

Greg, you continue to hit the nail on the head.
The Marlboro Man is given credit for his handling of bullpens and being a "player's manager," yet he's been a monosyllabic arrogant a-hole since he's arrived with his career losing record. Despite a top 5 payroll for most of his tenure in the D, that career record hasn't improved. He's been given resources - yet still failed to produce our first division title since '87.
His lineups (low OBP's at the top, crazy #3 hitters, "Sunday" lineups), bullpen management and continued "favorite players" (Inge, Sheffield, C-Mo, Mesa, Perez, etc.) eventually gets disgusting.
While players still deserve the vast majority of credit and blame for performance, JL can reasonably be questioned for his lack of results, despite a GM and owner who gives him nearly everything he asks for.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

Thanks, xman!!

12:47 AM  
Blogger Michael Wilson said...

I can completely understand why Leyland doesn't want to talk or deal with people like you and your ilk. You completely took what he said out of context and basically lied about what he said.

Why don't we add the complete quote (or at least enough of the quote to see who he was directing it at)... "I don't listen to talk shows.. guys that don't know bleep about baseball. Everyone forgets we won the game". Funny, unless you are a rampant fan running a radio show or a rampant host of a radio show he doesn't seem to be talking to, or about, you. Where does he mention the people "who scribble on a notepad or bang away on a keyboard". He also didn't "Leyland attacked the media, distinctly placing them in a different category from the fans in terms of their knowledge of the game", he attacked the radio call in hosts, who's sole job is to create controversy on their shows so that they have something (that is really nothing) to talk about day in and day out.

"by process of elimination", why do you need to go by the process of elimination? He told you specifically who he was talking about. "But likely, the slap was directed at others on the airwaves and in print", no the slap was directed at the people he said it was directed at.

"Besides, how complicated is baseball, anyway? Funny how it can be portrayed as very simple---even by guys like Leyland---but when the heat gets turned up, the game suddenly takes on quantum physics-like properties that only a manager can understand."

Well actually, the stats show that he was actually right to take out Porcello, you know, if he wanted to give his club the best chance to win the game (which you eventually ramble along to say that is the important thing to you). Baseball Prospectus has a very nice article about it (

You know, after reading this article maybe Leyland was directing his comment at you. It is this type of uneducated, mis-quoted, hack job that probably gets him so riled up.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

Michael: Nice to know that Jim's press secretary reads my blog! I'm honored!

11:12 AM  
Blogger Michael Wilson said...

Very strong argument as a defense of your article there champ. At least you have proved that you don't need to be a rocket scientist to start a blog....

11:20 AM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

Michael: Nor does it take one to comment on a blog, either,obviously.

This isn't about Porcello. We could argue that all day (I would have left him in and I'm sure you would have taken him out, but there we go). It's about Leyland's dismissal of those who disagree with him who are NOT fans.

You think Jimbo would last very long in New York? I think the media here has been VERY kind to him over the years for a guy who hasn't really won shit in five years, and who didn't really win shit in the 20 years prior to that, but who has an incredible ability to gag away divisions and NLCS series.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Michael Wilson said...

You're right, it is about who he dismisses, and he said he dismissed radio talk show hosts. You said he dismissed everyone that is not a fan. You are wrong, and articles like the one you wrote that are based on falsehoods are probably why he doesn't like to talk to those types of people. You really have no one to blame but yourself.

As far as what he has won in the last 20 years? 3 manager of the year awards (one of three ever to win it in both leagues). One world series. One AL championship (one of seven to win both league championships).

I am pretty sure his managerial pedigree compares favorably to anyone currently managing.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

What has he LOST?

1. Three straight NLCS
2. A poor effort in Colorado, one that even Jim admits was lackluster
3. The 2006 Central Division, thanks to a 19-31 finish
4. The 2007 division after having the best record in baseball at the All-Star Break.
5. The 2009 division, despite having a seven game lead in Sept. and a three game lead with 4 to play

If one playoff appearance in five years satisfies you, when the Twins (except for this injury-ravaged year for them) seem to outperform the Tigers routinely with teams that are arguably worse, and the Royals (!) annually give the Tigers fits, then God bless you and you deserve Leyland.

Give me Scioscia or Gardenhire or Manny Acta or Charlie Manuel or Joe Maddon or Terry Francona or... (shall I go on?)

1:52 PM  
Blogger Michael Wilson said...

In 2007 he lost the division but won the conference. I would rather have the conference and be in the world series than wind the division and end up not making it to the series... but that is just me looking at the important thing.

The managers you listed have lost three division or conference series in a row as well. Why is it alright for them to lose them but you hold it against Leyland?

You gave a piss poor effort on this article I don't hold it against you. Wait I do. At least Leyland admits that he gave a piss poor effort in Colorado.

Lets get on to your "superior" managers....

Scioscia - 5 post season appearances in 7 years...0 world series appearances in those same 5 appearances. How is that better? He still isn't winning what matters.

Gardenhire - 6 appearances in 9 years... 0 world series appearances.

Acta - Really? Never been in the post season. Never finished above 4th in his division even.

Charlie Manuel - at least you finally got to someone that has won more championships than Leyland.

Joe Maddon - 2 appearances one ring. Looks pretty similar to Leyland to me...

Terry Francona - 5 appearances 2 rings. Again, pretty favorable, and I would expect nothing less with the second highest payroll on the planet.

You could have at least listed La Russa...

3:03 PM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

Leyland apologists amaze me with their idiocy and low standards.

You must admit that he's gotten a pretty fair shake from the media in Detroit, a lot better than he'd get in New York, for example. The mainstream media here also have low standards.

The Tigers haven't won a division in 24 years and haven't won the World Series in 27. When is it time to demand better?

BTW, it's the "league," not the "conference."

Go Tigers!

3:52 PM  
Blogger Michael Wilson said...

And Leyland hater's amaze me with their double standards. Only one of the managers you listed has accomplished more than Leyland in their careers, but they are all so much better in your eyes even though they have done so much less.

You would probably fit in with the New York Media, talent-less hacks that don't bother with facts. I would hope that Detroit media would treat people better than that.

I have nothing against demanding better, but you only listed one manager that has accomplished more (or that has done better), and I doubt he is going anywhere anytime soon.

By the way, it was Radio Talk show hosts, not all media (see what I did there?).

7:37 AM  

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