He was a guy that could take on the world. He was a guy who could take criticism from the media while smoking his cigarette and have a look like he could care less. You never thought Jim Leyland was ever going to leave; he was going to stay through the end of civilization making questionable bullpen decisions and making you feel like you were in a love/hate relationship. Sure you yelled at your television; sure you loved to hate him; sure you said to everyone you wish he was gone, but now that he is actually gone you are just left with an empty feeling.
Jim Leyland was like a Detroit Tigers fans’ version of a piñata; he was there to be hit when you needed to release some anger. Some of the anger directed toward Leyland looking back was probably unfair, and some of it was pretty warranted. He was a guy who couldn’t manage a bullpen to save his life, but he could manage players to perfection always seeming to have a locker room without drama and with players committed to playing for him. He wasn’t perfect, but now that he is gone you start to realize maybe he wasn’t so bad after all.
It remains to be seen whether the Tigers get in a better managerial relationship or are left begging for the days when Jim Leyland would smoke his way up and down the dugout. The Tigers now face a gigantic crossroads and they no longer have their man standing in front of the firing squad. Who is going to step up now that its face of leadership has now ended his managerial career? Hopefully Tigers fans don’t have to learn about being careful in what they wish for.