Monday, May 15, 2006

Jim Leyland: the one that got away

The Tigers under Jim Leyland are a half game out of first place in the AL Central and have the second-best won/lost percentage in baseball. Leyland could be home in Pittsburgh for half of the summer with his family if the Pirates had hired him instead of the kindly Presbyterian minister from a small town in Ohio who now manages the team.

Many people believe that managers don't matter much. Those who said that about McClendon now find confirmation in the Pirates' performance under their new field leader. Leyland has always reminded me of Billy Martin, an intense, driven, self-destructive guy who had a remarkable record of improving teams whenever he was brought in to manage them, before he would invariably do something to self destruct and get himself fired. Leyland is not nearly as extreme a personality type as Martin, but like Martin, he is a real leader, and real leaders are capable of getting results. I can't say with certainty that Leyland is entirely responsible for the Tigers' early success or that the Pirates would have a better record under Leyland than they have under Tracy, but that is what I believe.


Blogger Deen said...

I would've paid to go see Leyland managing the Bucs again. If they hired the Pittsburgh native, Ken Macha, that would've made sense too. Macha had a record of winning with a low payroll and young talent. Why go with Tracy, a manager who struggled to win with a 100 million dollar payroll in LA (average of 5 years: 85 and 77). I just don't get the logic. Oh, that's right, there was no logic--Littlefield and Tracy were buddies.

1:02 PM  

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