Wha Hahppund: Are The Tigers Done Because Leyland Is?

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leyland.jpgBob Nightengale wrote a really great piece in today's USA Today about the Tigers that reads as a psychological profile as much as it does a sports story. It opens with Jim Leyland (that asshole), his overflowing ashtray and string of profanities. But they're not the kind of angry profanities he'd use after say, barreling into a teenager, they're the resigned kind. The kind you say with your head propped up on your palm after a lousy day at the track, or after your kid gets expelled again.

"I'm embarrassed. We all are," Leyland says. "I really can't believe this is happening, to be honest with you.

"I'm not going to throw any players under the bus, but at the same tine, I'm not going to b------- them either. You have to tell it like it is.

"And we have played h--------. I say we, not them, because I'm responsible."

I'm not going to "blow" them? Is that what that first redacted expletive is? Jesus, thanks for the nightmares, Jim. If you see something contradictory about the phrases "I can't believe this is happening," and "I'm responsible," then you're a lot like me. Also, you're probably a lot like Nightengale who took one look around the clubhouse and made some rather prescient observations on what was happening.

Sheffield looks around the clubhouse. It is two hours before game time against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and video is being shown of Dan Haren, the opposing pitcher.

No one is watching.

Cabrera, who had never faced Haren, is asleep in a chair. Magglio Ordonez has his back turned to the TV and is reading a magazine. A handful are playing cards.

I'll never get on my highhorse and try and prescribe a cure for a clubhouse. I'm as bad a judge of what a team "needs" as anyone else that's never played in the big leagues. But it's no coincidence that in a story where Nightengale paints this horribly lackadaisical picture of the Tigers, he's also got a bunch of quotes from players complaining about the dead vibe of the team. There's a glaring disconnect here. Are the Tiger players blind? They may be playing like it, but I don't think so. Are they dumb? Not in baseball terms they're not. Are they lacking the proper motivator? Could a downtrodden clubhouse be better spurred by someone other than a chain smoking septuagenarian who suddenly prefers sulking to a reporter instead of getting guys off their asses? Those seem like more likely answers.

Of all the issues I've had with Jim Leyland as a manager and a person, fire and a passion for winning have never been two of them. Now, I'm not so sure.

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16 Comments

A handful are playing cards.

Who let Rickey Henderson and Bobby Bonilla into the Tigers' clubhouse?

"Blumpkin." Leyland is saying he's not going to blumpkin them.

/worse image

To be fair to Cabrera, it's hard to stay awake after eating an entire litter of pigs.

I am not sure what the "h------" is. At first I assumed it was "horse shit" but that wouldn't really work there. If he said "we played like horse shit" then it would work. Do you think he said "horse shitty"? I am just confusing myself now.

The lack of "fire" or "passion" is what's bugged me about this team since the 0-7 start. There never really seemed to be an urgency about them to get it corrected. Then Leyland has a tirade, Granderson comes back, and for three weeks, they play very good ball and turn 2-10 into 14-15. A sweep by Minnesota and suddenly it's the start of a 3-12 stretch. When they pulled the high socks thing on Saturday it looked like, just maybe, they were having fun again. Follow this up by the pant legs being back down to the ankles and the looks of dejection when they couldn't figure out Johnson the next day. It's easily the most frustrating Tiger team I've ever watched. As bad as the '03 team was record wise, I enjoyed going to the Copa every few weeks because it was a bunch of young guys and has beens having fun.

He's not saying "horseshit." He's saying "Booo-urns."

As go the Tigers' pantlegs, so go the accidental turds down the Tigers' pantlegs.

Maybe the Tigers could use a good clubhouse presence....someone like Sean Casey

When they started 0-7, my stomach was in knots every day. I spent hours worrying, and teasing out what could possibly be wrong, and how would they fix it? But now I'm finding I'm much more Zen about it all. If they just continue playing h-------- baseball, I'll just have more time to read and garden this summer.

You could grind corn into fine meal with the skin of that man's face.

How bad are the Tigers this year? I can't even convince myself to pick up Jeremy Bonderman in my fantasy league, a problem I've never had before. He's just adorable, the little scamp.

I don't think this has ANYTHING to do with the crackdown on PEDs. Not at all.

/lives under rock

WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE OF THIS DISCUSSION TO CONSIDERATIONS OF THE HUMAN CONDITION

HEY! JERKWHEAT! I see you cheating over here. You keep the faith! Don't make me post the emo tiger again.

Also, since I pretty much used this USA Today piece for birdcage liner, I'll respectfully disagree.

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