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Jim Leyland: Baseball’s Nice Guy?

Adam recalls meeting Jim Leyland, manager of the Detroit Tigers.

Before I start off this blog, I would like to say thank you to everyone that read my . Thank you for all of the comments and feedback!

If you haven’t been following any baseball this week, then you have missed a lot! Indians’ closer Chris Perez, called out the fan for “Being so negative.” After taking some time to think about what Perez said, he was right; I have been very negative lately. In the last few blogs of mine, I told you about how much I hate one of America’s favorite teams, The Boston Red Sox. Then I managed to hurt the feelings of Dollar Dog Night lovers and say that it’s not worth it. I have been extremely negative and Chris Perez says "no more."

Since Perez‘s Tribe just swept division rivals, the Detroit Tigers, I will keep my promise and stop being negative. So, since I have been taking subjects that people love and have been hating on them, I’m going to do the reverse this week. I’m going to talk about someone in baseball that has a reputation of being an angry, scary, old man and show you that there is a heart inside the monster.

With that being said, please put me on record by saying that Detroit Tiger’s skipper, Jim Leyland, is one of the nicest guys in baseball that I have met!

For those of you that don’t know me that well, I am two months away from graduating from Kent State University. During my four years in college, I was very involved with my fraternity and the Greek community.

Every November, we have a philanthropy called “Songfest,” where a sorority is paired with two or three fraternities and perform an act on stage; singing and dancing with some acting. The money collected goes to a different charity every year and we normally raise around $30,000. 

Leyland’s daughter joined a sorority in the beginning of the year and he and his wife attended Songfest. One of my fraternity brothers pointed him out to me right when I got there. At first, I didn’t recognize him because he was out of a baseball uniform.

Then I decided to go up to him.                                                                        

The first thing that I said was “Excuse me, are you Jim Leyland?”

Right away, He was like “Yes, yes I am.”

When I shook his hand, I saw a ring on his right hand index finger. I immediately thought to myself, “Great, I just touched his 1997 Florida Marlins World Series ring that should be ours!”

The ring was actually the 2006 Detroit Tigers American League Champions ring. Thank God.

I did bring up the 1997 World Series to him and his response was, “Yea, you guys came close.”

I then asked him if we could take a picture together. He was 100 percent fine with it.

Thoughout the whole night, we kept on running into each other. At one point, he was talking to a group of us, us being my fraternity brothers and I. He was saying that Cleveland has a lot of great talent and he likes Vinnie Pestano a lot.  After this last series between the Tigers and Indians, Leyland probably does not love Pestano as much as he did in November. In case you did not know, Pestano pitched some lights out baseball against the Tigers!

After talking to the group of us, Leyland asked me where he can go smoke a cigarette. I pointed him to the down stairs door. According to Leyland’s Wikipedia page, he is known to be a heavy smoker. Even though I do not support chain smoking, I did think it was funny that I helped him find a place to smoke.

A few months later, I had the opportunity to meet the Indians’ manager, Manny Acta. When I met Acta, I showed him the picture that I took with Leyland.

When Acta looked at my picture, he said something like, “Hey! It’s Jimmy! I like him a lot. When I got my first manager job in baseball (Washington Nationals), he was the first one to call me and congratulate me.”

Truth be told, before I met Leyland, I thought he was an angry, loud-mouth manager. Now, I think that Leyland is still an angry, loud mouth manager but he is also one of the nicest guys that I have ever met. He will always be the same manager that he was 20 years ago and stay that way forever. He is very out spoken and loud, but he loves the game.

I hate the fact that he beat the Indians in the 1997 World Series and that he is the current manager of the Detroit Tigers. I do respect him overall as a manager and as a person. I hope him success with the rest of his career…as long as it is not against my Cleveland Indians!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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