It would seem to most MLB observers that it’s absurd to put pressure on any manager to win an All Star game. But it’s in the best interests of Detroit Tiger manager Jim Leyland for the American League to win Tuesday night’s game.
Many Tiger fans are insisting that Leyland manage the Tigers to a World Series victory if he’s to return next season. That’s actually an unfair expectation because managers basically gear all their energies for a regular-season run and a berth to the playoffs. What happens after that is usually out of their control because some of the best performers on their team usually falter to some extent in the playoffs.
But Leyland might face too much criticism if his Tiger team, with all the high-prized talent, isn’t holding the World Series trophy by the end of the season.
Leyland has had the Tigers in the 2006 and 2012 World Series and has a 1-8 record. Perhaps having home-field advantage would help the Tigers’ chances should they make it to the World Series again this series.
That’s when the all-star game takes on incredible importance for Leyland. If he can coach the AL to victory and get home advantage, and because it looks like the Tigers will win their division, then they just focus on winning the divisional and league series. Then, thanks to the All-Star game win, if that occurs, they would have home-field advantage for the World Series.
Obviously, home-field advantage doesn’t guarantee a World Series win. But Leyland would be wise to try to get it. That’s why he needs to win tonight, maybe even to save his job.