As the Tigers prepare for their second trip to the World Series under the managerial experience of Jim Leyland, fans are given a few days to relax and reflect upon a roller coaster of emotions during the regular season.
Throughout the season, Jim Leyland was faced with criticism each and every day, from lineup choices to bullpen decisions.
However, at the end of the day, is there really a better manager to steer the Tigers into and through the postseason than Jim Leyland?
There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Jim Leyland will be retained during the 2013 season. There are some who say that if Detroit wins it all, Leyland may walk away on top in much the same way his friend Tony LaRussa did a season ago.
If Leyland chooses to stay during 2013, or if he chooses to stay for the next five years, he should, no doubt, be given the right to do so; he has earned it in every way.
One of the great things about sports is that it can turn grown men into children, both smiling and crying out of sheer happiness.
During the ALCS celebration, cameras were able to catch Jim Leyland getting choked up about the victory. As a Tigers fan, how can you not love the fact that your manager is so emotionally involved with the team and city that he begins to cry?
Leyland doesn't cry so much for the victory, but he cries because he knows the city relies on this team. In a recent article with Mitch Albom, he spoke of how a father may go to work early, get home late, eat quickly, and go to the game with his family, which would be immediately followed by getting up early and doing it all over again the next day.
Leyland went on to say,
That's not easy. I mean, our players work hard. But our fans work hard, too.
Having a manager that truly understands the heart and soul of a city is amazing. Jim Leyland understands that he may make some bad calls and be criticized due to those decisions, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how you start but how you finish.
If we are going to crucify for him for what we deem as bad decisions, we also have to give him a pat on the back for decisions that help lead to victories.
For example, Leyland never went away from his various lineup choices, which depended on the throwing hand of the pitcher. In the end, it was many of the role players, such as Quintin Berry, Jhonny Peralta, and Andy Dirks that lead the way over sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
When Phil Coke was chosen to close out Game 2 of the ALCS, there is no doubt that Tigers Nation took a collective breath. However, Leyland's confidence never wavered, and Coke is now taking advantage of his new, possibly temporary, role.
In the end, there is truly no one better to take the reigns of this Detroit Tiger team, and it is because both Mike Ilitch and Dave Dombrowski stuck with Jim Leyland through the hard times that Detroit is once again in the World Series.