Get Off Jim Leyland's Back

Quick post for this weekend, since my output this week has been much more than my normal lazy updating practices that you’ve no doubt become used to and love.

I’ve touched on the recent articles lately calling the 2010 Tigers season a “failure” and how I think it’s a silly statement. And today, on the scourge that is known as sports talk radio, someone called in complaining about Jim Leyland and the coaching staff being retained for the 2011 season and how ridiculous it is. He was calling Leyland a failure and pointed toward the ’10 season as an example of such.

For the ten thousandth time, I’m not a huge Leyland supporter. But I think he’s done a masterful job this season with the cards he had been dealt. Between the rookies, ineffective veterans he was stuck with, and bad luck, the Tigers were doomed to fail no matter whom was in charge this year.

And throughout it all, the team spent 16 days in first place, was 11 games over .500 at one point, rallied from being 5 games under .500 at another point, went 52-29 at home, and had a winning record in the AL Central for the first time in what seems like forever.

You really want to blame someone? Blame the disgusting beast known as the “injury bug”. Take a look back at our Opening Day lineup.

Austin Jackson, CF: Rookie. Stayed healthy and exceeded expectations.

Johnny Damon, LF: Veteran. Battled injuries. Played slightly below expectations.

Magglio Ordonez, RF: #3 hitter lost after July 24th due to ankle explosion.

Miguel Cabrera, 1B: MVP numbers until ankle failure at end of season.

Carlos Guillen, DH: Brittle as a 90 year old. 3 DL stints.

Brandon Inge, 3B: Weaker than normal power #’s, DL for broken hand.

Gerald Laird, C: Inability to hit Will Rhymes’ weight. Hurt at end of season.

Scott Sizemore, 2B: Rookie. Wasn’t fully recovered from 2009 injury. Spent most of year in minors.

Adam Everett, SS: Hit less than Laird. Released on June 6th. May be dead…

Add in minor league stints and/or injuries to Bobby Seay, Joel Zumaya, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer, Zach Miner, Jose Valverde, Ryan Perry, Phil Coke, Fu-Te Ni, Danny Worth, and Clete Thomas and I just can’t see how so many people can continue to fault Leyland for this year’s results.

Last year, yeah, I wanted his head on a stick after the final week of the season leading up to Game 163. But this year? Quit giving the man grief. Give him the pat on the back that he deserves. He managed his ass off in 2010.

Seeya in a few…