Oct. 27 Jim Leyland pregame interview
Q. It's not new news, but how neat is it for you in your career kind of coming full circle to be back with the team that you were a Minor League catcher for and a manager in the farm system? And does that ever strike you anymore?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think I kind of got over that. I was thrilled in 2006 to be named the Tiger manager, so I'm kind of past that now. But certainly it's a thrill to be in the World Series, actually two World Series with that club. That makes you feel pretty good. But I think that's somewhere for the memory bank down the road probably.
Q. Could you just talk about Anibal Sanchez, how impressed you've been with him in the postseason and your expectations tonight?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, obviously a little concerned because of the layoff, the cold weather. You never know how either pitcher is going to react to that. But I have total confidence in anybody we send out there. When you send out Verlander and Fister and Sanchez and Scherzer, you know, you feel pretty good. You feel pretty good about any of those pitchers, just as I'm sure Bruce did.
I have total confidence in him.
Q. You've talked about how much you love how much of a baseball town this is, whether you're grabbing a burger or what have you. How much do you enjoy some of the interactions you get with people around here?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, it's great right now. It wasn't quite as good earlier in the summer, but it's pretty good right now. Everybody is having a good time, Magglio came in to see him today, I saw Rick Leach at the party last night, some other former Tigers. It's a great time of the year, and for us to be in it, we're very proud of that.
Like I said yesterday, I try to keep it simple: We're two down with five to play, and we're playing the team we've got to catch. That pretty much simplifies it.
Q. As you reflected on Game 2, were you okay with the quality of the at bats? Were you guys still having good at bats?
JIM LEYLAND: I didn't think we did as good in Game 2 as we did in Game 1. A little disappointed in Game 2. I thought Game 1 they were really good, Game 2 not quite as good.
Q. What are you seeing in the at bats for Cabrera and Fielder in particular?
JIM LEYLAND: They're fine. Obviously they're going to be pitched a little bit tougher maybe than some of the other guys, but Prince has hit three or four balls hard, Cabrera has hit some balls hard. Cabrera hit a ball the other night that Sandoval made a great play on. It brought back memories because if people were following us the last week or ten days, Cabrera made about two of those plays to rob somebody of hits in a big situation. That's part of the game.
Up to this point they've outplayed us, but I think those guys are fine. And I think they're going to pitch to them a little bit tougher maybe than they do somebody else.
Q. Mr. Jack Morris told me that you taught him to respect the uniform. I think that phrase carries a lot of weight, a lot of meaning with it. Can you please tell me why it's important for a player to keep that in mind.
JIM LEYLAND: Well, we are professionals, and we do represent the Detroit Tigers. The thing that I've always tried to teach my players is forget the Detroit Tigers, you represent yourself first, and how you want to be perceived. I think that's important. Jack was a great pitcher for me in Triple A. I sent him to the Big Leagues one year and the rest is history, and I don't think he ever forgot that.
So that wasn't exactly rocket science. I think it's like when I came here, and with all due respect, I knew when Sparky came in, he was talking about it was Sparky's way or the highway. And it was fine because it worked and it was a nice little saying. When I came here I tried to emphasize, it's not going to be my way, it's just going to be the right way. We are going to try to do things right. I think we have since 2006 for the most part. We've had our little hitches in the road from time to time, but for the most part I think we've done things pretty good.
Q. Looking across the field, what do you think of Bochy as a manager? And is there anything unique about managing against him specifically?
JIM LEYLAND: No, I never really get hung up in managing against anybody. I never try to out manage anybody, and I don't get involved in being out managed. I try to manage my players.
Obviously his track record speaks for itself. He's one of the best managers in all of baseball, there's no question. Handles his bullpen tremendous; as good as you can handle a bullpen. He's at the head of the class with some other guys, there's no question about that. He's a tremendous manager. He's got a nice, calming influence about himself. You know who's in charge. He's everything that's good about baseball managers, in my opinion. He does it the right way. You never hear Bruce Bochy boasting himself or anything like that. You don't really hear much about him. He's terrific.
Q. I know during the course of the season there was a play where you went against four consecutive left handers, and when you were done with it you were excited to see a right hander. Obviously you're excited to be back at home, but just talk about the ability to not go against a lefty pitcher and getting to use your right handed lineup.
JIM LEYLAND: Well, it is what it is. I thought they made a good move. They read, obviously, and they know our right handed hitting lineup is not as good. So I thought that was smart at their place. It lined up, Zito had been hot. He pitched a great game the game before, so it's pretty much common sense.
So you know, for us to win the World Series, we're going to have to beat a left hander. I think we're very capable of doing that. A lot of people forget, a lot of people have short memories, we just beat CC Sabathia not too long ago in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, so we can beat a left hander.
Q. How much do you think it helps you having younger kids to help relate with younger players?
JIM LEYLAND: Me?
JIM LEYLAND: I think I relate sometimes with the younger players better than the younger players relate. There's a whole bunch of people in our families. Like I said, my dad is one of 16, my wife is one of 11, I'm one of seven. You learn how to deal with people. I don't think that's really a problem for me. I am just grumpy once in a while because you have to be grumpy or sometimes you guys don't get the message. So everybody think I'm a grumpy old man. I'm old but I'm not grumpy.