Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jim Leyland Swings a Big Stick

There was an article published in the USA Today yesterday about the Tigers and their clubhouse. Former MR pitcher Jason Grilli (traded to Colorado) popped off about the clubhouse being stagnant. Gary Sheffield said the team is too relaxed. Carlos Guillen, suddenly one of the most error prone fielders on the team, has the audacity to insinuate that a team with the second highest payroll in baseball was suffering from unfair expectations.

Look, the Tigers have been inexplicably bad this season. Their level of suck in churning out the American League's worst record has been, in a word, epic. And 2006's magic man, manager Jim Leyland, has had absolutely no answers for it. It's baseball. It happens. Yet, whatever ails the team on the field, one thing you couldn't accuse Leyland of doing is throwing his players under the bus. You don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but at no point this season (or in the last three) has he called out players in the media.

The USA Today article, though, saw him walk right up to the edge. This audio clip (look at the list of audio links on the right of the linked page) of Leyland taking a huge swing at players talking to the press is simply awesome (especially towards the end of it). At several points he just rips Jason Grilli to shreads:
Grilli should worry about Colorado. And if Jason Grilli’d done a better job, he’d still be here. So I don’t wanna hear any weak s**t from Jason Grilli right now either, because he belongs to somebody else.
But he also fires several warning shots across the bow for the rest of the team:
I’m not lookin’ for problems here but I’m a f**kin’ man, I look in the mirror, when I’m horses**t I’m horses**t and right now I’m horses**t and there’s a few f**kers in that clubhouse right now that are horses**t too, and they need to look in that mirror. Don’t look in mine, look in theirs. And don’t look at the f**kin’ guy next to ‘em, look in the f**kin’ mirror yourself. Don’t be pointin’ f**kin’ fingers over here and there… that’s all weak s**t, really [bleep], some of the other s**t I read in the paper today, that’s weak f**kin’ s**t. WEAK.
But that's not my favorite bit. That was saved for this exchange with one of the team's beat writers, Jason Beck (who is damn good at what he does):

What d’you think, Beck? You write a f**kin’ horses**t story, you don’t blame [Detroit Free Press writer] John Lowe, do you?
That comes at the end of the clip and the assembled reporters just flat out crack up at that point. It's gold, Jerry! GOLD! Anyway, Leyland's dead-on ball's accurate with this one. I'm not saying it'll give the team the jumpstart it needs (though they beat the Mariners 12-8 last night), but like "Big Stick" Leyland says, it sure as hell can't hurt. If you have five minutes to kill, listen to the whole audio clip, which can also be downloaded from here.

(A big tip 'o the cap, by the way, to Roar of the Tigers for transcribing all the best kibbles and bits.)

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