By: Jeff Riger
It’s obvious the only reason for any media member to travel from Detroit to Cleveland yesterday was to get quotes about Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta — as he just was suspended 30 minutes before everybody gathered at the park.
First Dave Dombrowski talked and when he finished his 10 minute briefing he made sure to tell all listening that there was to be no more chatter about Peralta and PEDS, especially to the skipper Jim Leyland.
“I’ll be the spokesman from the club perspective, Jim (Leyland) will talk about baseball on the field, so you’re aware” Dombrowski said.
That apparently meant that no media member was to ask Leyland about Peralta or the suspension as a throng of about 15 to 20 reporters made their way to the manager’s office.
Leyland was agitated from the get go, pouring himself a cup of coffee and barking “next question” with his back to reporters. After about five or six questions I made my move.
“Jim do you have any comments at all about Peralta?” I asked.
Immediately, Leyland ended things.
“See you guys, see you later, you were told that I wasn’t going to comment on that, see ya! That’s the end of this press conference, see you after the game” Leyland said.
So that was that, Leyland, a man who makes millions and is looked to as the voice of the Tigers refused to comment on the biggest story in baseball. Not only did he not answer the comment, he kicked everybody out of his office after 88 seconds.
Then the Tigers scored 4 runs in the 9th inning after trailing 2-0 the entire game and won the game 4-2 — and Leyland was ecstatic afterwards as he should be.
Most of the local Detroit media had already left the Cleveland area so Leyland was left with the everyday beat writers, myself and a couple of Indians media. The skipper talked about the win, Avila, Prince Fielder’s big double, but talk of Peralta was still missing. I wanted to try again, considering Monday night would be the last time I would see Leyland for quite some time as Detroit’s road trip continues and I was headed back to Detroit.
Eventually almost everybody exited and I started to wonder if an apology to Leyland would get him talking about Peralta.
“Sorry about before,” I said to manager and he quickly replied, “no problem, no problem that’s already over with.”
Chris Iott, a reporter from Mlive.com then continued and the following is what transpired….
Listen to how things went down and then decide for yourself if Leyland should be obligated to say more?