10/18/2012 8:21 PM ET
Oct. 18 Jim Leyland postgame interview
Q. Jimmy, could you talk a little bit about Coke and what he did for you this series, coming through as an emergency closer when I am sure he wasn't expecting to be in that role?
JIM LEYLAND: No, he wasn't. That is probably the good thing about it, he didn't expect it. He didn't have a lot of time to think about things and reacted and pitched.
Nobody knew it would play out this way. You know, I don't know what's going to happen from this point on. Obviously a lot of people are going to saying save with Coke now, but we will play it by ear.
You are right, I think probably the fact that it wasn't ‑‑ it was a spontaneous thing, that he jumped in there, we put him in there, really didn't have a lot of time to think about it, and he reacted unbelievably.
Q. Jim, I think the starters gave up two earned runs the whole series. How much did that set up everything else for the rest of your guys?
JIM LEYLAND: They kept the pressure off us. Obviously the starters were worn down pretty good. I think really the key, to be honest with you, it is a funny series. It will go down as a series that the Yankees won't get any credit.
I believe in the first couple of games we caught some breaks, we really did. A couple of bloop hits here and there, caught a couple of breaks, were able to take advantage of it.
I think Game 1, as it turns out, was huge. After we blew the save and came back and won that game, that was huge.
So early on in the first couple of games we caught a couple of breaks, and then today we hit a little bit more like the Tigers.
Q. Jim, to be part of the first team to sweep the New York Yankees in three consecutive series, you've been the manager for each one of those teams, I know you don't like to blow your own horn, but it is a remarkable accomplishment and I wondered if you'd comment on it.
JIM LEYLAND: I would like to say I had something to do with it, but I didn't. It just worked out that way.
Nobody has more respect for the Yankees than I do. I have been a Yankee fan as far as, you know, not cheering for them, but as far as them being a class act. They are always a class act. They do things right. Joe Girardi is a tremendous, tremendous manager, and Brian Cashman is a friend of mine.
I have the utmost respect for them. If someone would have told me we would sweep the Yankees in this series, I would have told them they were crazy.
A little luck, some pretty good pitching obviously, and a couple of hits at the right time, and sometimes you get on a roll that's pretty good.
Q. Jim, you said all through the year you have a good team and you had faith in your team and everything. When it was three games down with 16 to go, it got a little hairy around here. Talk about the redemption factor, the fact you are going to the World Series when a lot of people counted you out.
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I had people the whole year, 16 games is almost 10 percent of the schedule. So, you know, that's a lot of games left. And I just reminded everybody when we took our punches all year, you know what? Let's just wait till the end, and then if we have underachieved, I will be the first one to admit it. But let us play out the schedule to see if we underachieve.
So hopefully we've quieted some doubters now. The guys just stepped it up when we had to. We caught a couple breaks when the White Sox couldn't win a couple of games they needed to win.
They really answered the bell all year long. Right to the end they did a tremendous job, Robin Ventura. We were very fortunate, but we never lost sight of what we were supposed to do. And I kept reminding everybody of that on a daily basis: Don't get too excited. We're going to take our hits, we have to take our hits. We have them coming. Let's wait until the 162 is played and we will see how it plays out.
Q. Jim, congratulations. The first manager here in about 70 years to win two pennants. Can you just sum up what it means for you being here and being the manager during this time?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, obviously there are some times when you think about your own selfish moments. I don't talk about stuff like that. I kind of leave that, put it in a memory bank somewhere and some day enjoy it, look back on it.
But I don't really ‑‑ to be honest with you, I never talked about the Manager of the Year awards or World Series. I don't really care about stuff like that. I appreciate it, but I don't care about it. The players need to be the focus, and I always tried to leave it that way.
I think all good managers have one thing in common: When you win, you credit the players, and when you lose, you shoulder the responsibility.
Q. Jim, what can you say about the job that Delmon did throughout this entire series?
JIM LEYLAND: No, he got hot last year in the playoffs. Unbelievable. I think he had five home runs last year maybe. You know, he got hot again this year at the right time for us. And, you know, he stepped it up under the big lights. Not that they are not bright all year, but they are a little brighter this time of year.
He stepped it up two consecutive years for us. And the MVP, what a tremendous honor for him.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Jim.
JIM LEYLAND: Thank you to all of you.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.