Jim Leyland's managerial status has been been a hot topic of discussion for the past couple of seasons. Over the past year, some saw signs the Tigers' manager would retire from baseball much sooner than later.
Speculation began when Leyland didn't want to commit to the Tigers long-term, requesting only one year contracts from the team the last two years. Last September there were published rumors the 68 year old baseball lifer was tiring of the managerial grind and 2012 would be his last season. There has been talk Leyland could leave the game if the Tigers won a World Series, just like his best friend Tony La Russa did at the end of the 2011 season.
Not wanting to deal with any possible distractions this year in regard to his status, Leyland decided to nip any retirement discussion in the bud. Before today's game with the Mets, the veteran skipper declared he's not ready for the old folks home just yet.
The always pithy Leyland was a quote machine, denying retirement was anywhere close to being on his mind. Going into his eighth season with the Tigers, Leyland sounded like a man who wants to manage well into his 70's.
"I'm not retiring, whether we win or we don't win."
"Now, they (owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Dave Dombrowski) might have a different thought, but it won't be mine. I feel good, I like what I do, I have no intention of retiring."
"I don't plan on retiring anytime soon. I don't know about years, but I know I'm not ready to go home. I love what I do."
"You know what, if I went out tomorrow, I wouldn't care how any of you guys felt, I would feel like I went out on top. I was a backup Double A catcher who hit (bleeping) .222. I've managed in the big leagues 22 years, with a world title, division titles, American League championships. Now, what the (heck)?
Now what the (bleeping) (heck), indeed.
The goofy but vocal minority known as the "FIRE LEYLAND" contingent will have to pin their dwindling hopes for change on the longest of long shots which would be an actual firing, instead of Leyland leaving of his own accord. Maybe they can move on to finding a new scapegoat to replace Ryan Raburn instead of pushing to replace one of the reasons why the Tigers are in midst of one of the most successful eras in team history.
With Jim Leyland's non-retirement non-story officially put to bed, can we can get back to talking about the other non-story in Lakeland, the closer situation?