Monday, March 05, 2007

Leyland motivates Tigers with vaguely gruff mumbles

Spring Training '07 Preview: Detroit Tigers

Jim Leyland, the master motivator whose barely-audible strings of authoritative cliches motivated the Tigers all the way into the World Series last year now faces an even greater challenge: motivating his team again in 2007.

"We had a good year, lot of good young players," mumbled Leyland, his cigarette-soaked voice seemingly coming from his moustache. "We can't be lazy, we've got to be good again this year, do some good things, good players, and play some good baseball."

Leyland's managerial style of occassionally saying things about stuff may be a radical departure from what every other manager in the league does, but the young Tigers are not shy about praising their usually inaudible leader.

"He gets me so goddamn motivated," beamed righty Justin Verlander as he unleashed a barrage of highly motivated 98 MPH fastballs during a bullpen session. "Before he got here, I was throwing in the low nineties and hanging breaking balls all the time, but when he became our manager and started mumbling things like 'big game today gotta look alive' or 'Verlander, nice something something of the something,' I just instantly started pitching so much better. I'm pretty sure one of those 'somethings' was a swear word, too."

Though Leyland's reputation as a motivator is well-known, he is more than humble when asked to explain his success as a manager.

"I don't know," Leyland admitted, "maybe other teams' managers don't say things ever or toss occassional witty quips to the press? It sure worked last year, I guess. I also [bleep] find that throwing in a bleeped swear word where one couldn't possibly belong in a sentence makes for good sound bytes. I figure that probably got us like an extra five wins."

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