Win or lose, Leyland not planning on retiring
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Sure, manager Jim Leyland said, he'd like to win a World Series for owner Mike Ilitch. But he'd also like to win one for himself to go with his championship with the Florida Marlins in 1997.
Even if the Tigers do win it all, though, it won't put a finishing touch on his career.
"I'm not retiring, whether we win or we don't win," Leyland said Friday. "Now, I mean, [the front office] might have different thoughts, but it won't be mine."
His thoughts, ever since he began signing one-year extensions, have been that he wanted to take it year to year and see how he feels, so that neither he nor the Tigers feel obligated to a contract. He never really talked about retirement in that stretch, but he has liked the flexibility.
Contractually, his year-to-year status isn't going to change. In his mind, though, he already knows he wants to manage beyond this year.
"I mean, I have no intention of retiring," Leyland said. "I feel good. I like what I'm doing. I have absolutely no intention of retiring."
Nor, he said, did he seriously think about going out on top if the Tigers had won the World Series last October.
"A lot of people said, 'Well, if you won last year, would you have retired?' No, I would not have," Leyland said. "That was never in the plan. I don't have any plan on retiring anytime soon, but that could very easily change with how the club does and how [team president/general manager] Dave [Dombrowski] and Mr. Ilitch feel."
Leyland turned 68 last December. He's currently the third-oldest manager in the Majors, trailing Washington's Davey Johnson and Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel. Johnson is expected to retire after this season. Manuel's contract is up next winter, but while there has been speculation about his potential retirement, he hasn't talked definitively about his future.
Leyland is letting his intentions be known. His health is fine, he says, and he enjoys his job. As far as he's concerned, he has no reason to stop.
"Now, three-fourths of the year into the season, I might say, 'You know what, I've had enough,'" Leyland said. "But right now, I have absolutely no intention of retiring. I've got too much energy. I love what I'm doing. I love the competition. I like the good pressure of it. I don't like some of the stuff that goes with it. Nobody likes some of the stuff that goes with it, but you accept that. When you sit in this chair, you accept that. If you don't, you're crazy."