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Local Sports News

Thursday, 6 May, 2010 0:44 AM

Leyland says Tigers will remain competitive throughout the season

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Detroit Tigers Manager Jim Leyland addresses the Detroit Economic Club on April 30, 2010.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

DETROIT -- Detroit Tigers Manager Jim Leyland and team president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski addressed the Detroit Economic Club at a special meeting inside Cobo Center last Friday. Several of the coaches and the players were in attendance at the meeting. Leyland talked about the team after its first 29 games in the regular season. It was one day before Michigan's smoking ban went into place so Leyland said he would have a huge party in his office before he would have to give up smoking.

Leyland was very exuberant during the meeting. He often tells a lot of jokes and funny stories when he speaks. The Tigers manager is often called "The Skipper" because he resembles the character from the popular TV show, Gilligan's Island.

"There's going to be a hell of a party in my office tonight," Leyland joked with a cigarette in his mouth. "If any of you guys, any of you ladies want to come, you're more than welcome. 11:59, I will send off to my Marlboros. Like I said, we're going to have one hell of a party. If by chance tomorrow you are driving down Woodward Avenue, and you see an old man on a bench, that will be me, do not throw water on me. It's kind of mind boggling to me. I read there was a smoking ban and you couldn't smoke anymore. On the next page and I'm not kidding, some lawmakers are considering to make marijuana legal."

The Tigers are off to a great start so far this season. The team has won 16 games and lost 13. Their home record is nine wins and three losses and their road record is seven wins and 10 losses. As of today, Miguel Cabrera has five home runs, Magglio Ordonez has four home runs and Brandon Inge has three home runs.

"Since 2006, we've had over 2,500,000 fans per year come downtown to Comerica Park to see the Tigers play," Dombrowski said. "Our fans are fantastic. We always appreciate their support. Three of the last four years have been exciting. I think this year has the same chance and opportunity. As you know, this wintertime we made some adjustments and made some changes with the ball club. I think we're in a position to have a good year. We have a nice core of veteran players that have been with us for a while. That's a good place to start because they provide leadership. We also have some new arrivals. "

I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention the passing of longtime Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell. Nobody knew this meeting would be just days before Harwell's heart would stop beating. He lived to be 92 years old, a long life for a great man who was respected across Detroit, across Michigan and all over the United States. Many people remember Harwell for his catch phrases including "That one is long gone!" and "He stood there like the house by the side of the road, and watched it go by," among many others.

"I think Detroit is one of the best baseball towns in the country," Leyland said. "I really like the combination of veteran players with some pretty outstanding statistics and credibility behind their names. I really like breaking in the young players. Normally, you'll find out that over the years the transition for a rookie breaking in is normally dictated by the veteran players. I think we're a very talented team. We're not a great team yet. I think we have a chance to be a champion. That will be decided by the guys in this room."

Detroit Tigers Owner Chris Illitch was scheduled to speak at the meeting. However, he couldn't make it due to prior circumstances.

The Tigers will play the Cleveland Indians from May 7 through 9 and then the New York Yankees will come to Comerica Park from May 10 through 13. Detroit will host the Boston Red Sox from May 14 to 16 and then two games with the Chicago White Sox from May 17 to 18.

For more information on the Detroit Tigers, visit www.detroittigers.com.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A Detroit Tigers player at the D.E.C. luncheon.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Detroit Tigers President, CEO & General Manager Dave Dombrowski, Manager Jim Leyland and Detroit Economic Club President & CEO Beth Chappell.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

D.E.C. President & CEO Beth Chappell welcomes everyone to the meeting.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Detroit Tigers Broadcaster Dan Dickerson

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Tigers Broadcaster Jim Price

 

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