Leyland Appreciates Fan Conversation … Sort Of
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By Ashley Dunkak
By and large, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland is okay with the second-guessing. He does not mind the conversation. He appreciates the suggestions and the thought processes behind them. He knows the attention and criticism are indicators of fan interest, and that means people care.
He even concedes that some of what is being said is understandable and logical.
“There are some people that make very legitimate points from a fan standpoint when they Twitter, tweet to you guys, whatever the hell they call it. There’s some legitimate points on talk shows,” Leyland said. “There is a lot of good thought processes by the fans, and I have no issue with that.”
Leyland even validated the chatter about possibly moving starting pitcher Rick Porcello to the closer spot to replace the struggling Jose Valverde. Leyland said he would not mess with the starting rotation because it was doing so well, but he gave the idea credence.
“It’s not so far-fetched,” Leyland said. “I don’t think that’s silly, but right now is not a time for that.”
Though he admitted the idea of switching Porcello to the bullpen had some hypothetical merit, Leyland later asked members of the media to stop asking Porcello about the possibility of closing.
The manager recognizes the bullpen has issues, but he said he just does not know the answers now and has not heard viable solutions from anyone else either. It is the exchange that ensues from that kind of situation which frustrates him at times.
He equates that conversation with the following one:
‘Hey Jim, you’re kind of bald.’
‘Well, no s—, but can you tell me how to grow hair?’
‘Well no, I don’t have any idea how to grow hair, but you’re kind of bald.’
‘Well no s—.’
The bottom line appears to be that the manager does not have a solution for the bullpen situation and has not heard a workable one from anyone else either. The silver lining here is a long season, almost 100 games still to be played and adequate time to discover an answer and work things out.
In the meantime, the Tigers are 10 games over .500 and still leading their division.
“I don’t have a magic formula right now,” Leyland said. “Just have to wait and see, but all through this process, we’re doing okay.”