For thousands of persistent fans, their hard work and determination pays off.
DETROIT -- Tigers' president and general manager Dave Dombrowski wasn't planning to fire manager Jim Leyland any time soon, but a first-time visit to the team's Facebook page quickly convinced him otherwise. So after reading the well-argued logic of the many commenters, he made the decision to fire his longtime manager.
"I always thought that Jim's been pretty good for this ballclub since he got here in 2006, but I honest-to-God had no idea how bad he was at his job until I started reading these fan comments," Dombrowski explained. "After reading about 5-10 comments, I was nervously entertained, after 15-20 comments, I was concerned, but after 75-100 comments it was a 'no-brainer' -- ick, I have to stop using that phrase."
Die-hard Tigers fans have been calling for Leyland's firing for a long time now, but Dombrowski maintains that he was unaware of how volatile the situation had become. "The players on the team seemed very happy with Leyland as their manager," says Dombrowski, "so how was I supposed to know how utterly inept he was? I'm just grateful that these fans had the guts to speak up and say something. This is why our fanbase is the best in the world."
Dombrowski conjectures that he might very well have let Leyland continue managing the Tigers ballclub indefinitely, had he remained unaware of the overwhelmingly negative public opinion. "I saw absolutely no reason to change managers for the foreseeable future -- I mean, if you look at the facts, in the span of eight years with the team, Jim has posted a .538 win percentage and won us two American League Championships, and the Tigers have been in first place for approximately 80 percent of this current season, so why would I feel the need to get rid of him?"
But exposure to the majority view of the public made Dombrowski think twice. "I get that people can sometimes get upset over the way Jim manages the bullpen once in a while, or disagree with a one-off decision to call for a hit-and-run with Martinez on first and Don Kelly at the plate, but I didn't realize some of the bigger issues at stake here."
When pressed for further details, Dombrowski elaborated, "It's the fundamental stuff that I hadn't noticed, like how Leyland doesn't play his 'best nine' all the time, how he regularly creates weak 'Sunday lineups,' how his super-relaxed attitude -- which the players have always said takes the pressure off them and lets them perform better -- actually creates a 'we-don't-care-if-we-win' attitude in the clubhouse."
Dombrowski ultimately decided that a change was necessary. "I can't have a manager working for me who apparently fails to inspire the team, who doesn't know how to light a fire under their butts - wait, can I say 'butts'?"
In the wake of Leyland's termination, Dombrowski announced to the press earlier today a rather unorthodox decision. "I've decided to replace Jim with an actual monkey," Dombrowski explained, "And that might seem like an odd choice, but if you'd seen the number of fan comments that say a monkey could do Leyland's job
, I think you'd understand the logic here." Dombrowski explained his rationale further, "If you think about it, Leyland's win percentage basically amounts to a 50/50 coin flip, and that's not much different from what you'd get from a monkey. A monkey might call for Joaquin Benoit in the ninth inning of a close game, or he might call for Phil Coke, which -- as I understand from these fan comments -- is basically what Jim would do on any given night anyway. At the very least, a monkey isn't going to call for a bunt on a 3-1 count, unless the monkey is drunk."
As far as the upsides to replacing Jim Leyland with a monkey, Dombrowksi defended his choice by saying, "If a real-life, honest-to-God monkey can't inspire this team to play their best, then it's all on the team at that point. I mean, who wouldn't want to bring their 'A-game' with a monkey literally running the show?" Dombrowski continued, "At the very worst, it's a zero-sum game - the fans can't complain about a monkey managing the team, because, let's face it, it's a monkey. If we win the World Series, I look like a genius, and if we don't, well ... what did you expect? I let a monkey manage the team. At least monkeys don't try to sneak cigarettes into the clubhouse."
In the aftermath of the shake-up, Leyland's only comment was, "[puff-puff-puff] Weeeeellllll, y'know, some days you get to manage a (bleeping) club [puff-puff-puff] and some days you don't, and this is just one of those (bleeping) days that you don't, so ... I'm a pretty (bleep) customer, I just need to turn the (bleep) and try to get back out there and (bleep) one tomorrow."