10/21/06 6:55 PM ET
Jim Leyland pregame interview
Manager is 'thrilled' to be in World Series with Tigers
By / MLB.com
JIM LEYLAND:Well, I think you have a little better knack of how to prepare, because your first one is always a little more helter skelter, I guess, than the second one. But it's basically the same. You just try to get all your thoughts and all your preparation down. Normally if you play better than the other team you win, and if you don't, you lose. It normally all figures out the same in the end. Obviously it's just as exciting. I don't know that there's a lot of difference, but I think your first one is probably a little more nerve wracking in that you don't know what to expect yet. You're not used to all the media, you're not used to all the things that go with it. I think you learn -- I think I learned a little lesson from the last one, make sure you take care of the things you're supposed to take care of and things like that. But it's really no different in a lot of ways.
The '97 team you brought in (Darren)
Daulton, it seemed like he had a presence in
the clubhouse that I don't know if it was lacking
before, but this team didn't seem like you had
to do it. It seemed like these guys had a
different kind of camaraderie; is that correct?
JIM LEYLAND:Yeah, in one sense. But I think the biggest thing we always forget is we brought Daulton in because he was a good player, not really to baby-sit the clubhouse. What went with him was part of that, yes. But for the same reason we got Rogers and Jones and Casey. We think they're good players, and that's the main reason you pick people up or you try to acquire somebody at the right time. I don't think you're trying to upgrade the chemistry in the clubhouse, you're trying to upgrade your team on the field. And I think Daulton obviously did that, and the guys we picked up this year have done a good job at that.
Over the course of the year the team
that scores first generally wins the ballgame
more often than not. Does that become more
important during the World Series on this
JIM LEYLAND:I don't really know -- I never really emphasize that, because I think you set yourself up for disaster when you talk about stuff like that. It's kind of like goals. I've never been a guy that told my team in Spring Training, we've got some goals we have to try to reach, because I think at some point you realize you can't reach them, and then you've got a lot of problems. I'd hate to think if we get behind 1-0 or 2-0 the game is over. I wouldn't want my team to say, the manager said that whoever scores first wins. I think it's a fact, I think there's a statistic in baseball that there's a lot of truth to, it's been proven. Hopefully we're going to play nine innings, nine tough innings, and whoever scores first won't necessarily win the game.
Who is DH tonight?
JIM LEYLAND:Sean Casey is DHing tonight, possibly tomorrow. And he will, unless something goes wrong, these next two days, he will play first base in St. Louis on Tuesday night. So everything looks okay, and he will play first on Tuesday, like I said, unless -- you're never sure with the cold weather, it's going to be a little uncomfortable for everybody, and the next two days, tomorrow doesn't look very good at all. Unless something happens, he'll be the first baseman Tuesday night.
In '97 with the Marlins you had
talked to your team I think during the playoffs
how you felt Muhammad Ali was an
inspirational figure for you. I think you may
have talked about it to your players again this
year, maybe, during the playoffs. Why is that,
what is so special about him to you?
JIM LEYLAND:Well, I'd rather save that for after the series.
JIM LEYLAND:If things go right I'll tell you. If they don't go right I'll tell you anyway (laughter.)
Rick's question about how this is
different from your first World Series, is
there a difference, do you feel, in the way
the community is embracing your team as
opposed to obviously the situation in south
Florida has never been --
JIM LEYLAND:You always ask tough questions. I want to make sure I don't offend anybody here, because certainly the support for the World Series in Florida was tremendous. There was 67,000 people, but truthfully, I'm not going to duck that question. I'll answer it this way, I think because of the longevity of this franchise and what a tremendous sports town this is, and Michigan people -- in Florida there were a lot of people obviously from somewhere else that ended up in Florida, so I think that obviously -- let me put it this way, there's definitely more tradition in the Detroit franchise than there was at that time in the Marlin franchise. Hopefully that will, maybe at some point, change for them, too. But I would definitely say there's more tradition, obviously, with this. So it's a little bit more rewarding for the fans here probably than it was for the fans in Florida, to be honest with you.
In June you and Tony talked about
managing against each other and that it was an
uncomfortable feeling --
JIM LEYLAND:I'm not talking about Tony and Jim, we're talking about the players, here. This is the players' show, with all due respect.
Just to follow up, how do you feel
about being a part of that? Do you feel like it's
a special thing for you to have come in here
and done this, either for these people or with
JIM LEYLAND:Well, you know, I feel better, to be honest with you, than the people that suffered here for the last 12, 13 seasons, whatever it was. I mean, am I happy for me? Sure, I'm happy for me. Is it a nice little story for me personally? Sure. I signed in 1963. I was an executive 18 years in the Minor Leagues, and I never got the opportunity to be a Big League coach. The manager's job was taken by Sparky Anderson. They made a pretty good choice there, I'd have to say. So, yeah, this is a thrill for me. I'm from just down the road, 60 miles, and my family, most all my family was always Tiger fans. I was a Cleveland fan when I was a kid, to be honest with you, but most of the rest of them were Tiger fans.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.