Sports

Jim Leyland Steps Down As Skipper: ‘When It’s Time, It’s Time’

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By Christy Strawser, digital director

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) It’s official: Jim Leyland, 68, will no longer be the Tigers’ manager.

Amid an outpouring of love and support for Leyland on social media, the manager himself made the announcement. Tearful at times, Leyland said if he returned, it would be “for the wrong reasons.”

“When it’s time, it’s time, and it’s time,” Leyland said, adding he will take a different position with the team.

He added he wants to “retire a Tiger” and said the organization “will not miss a beat” with its new manager, whomever that is. With an as-yet-undetermined role behind the scenes, Leyland said he still has faith he’ll get a World Series ring with the Tigers.

“Thank you for having me,” he said at a press conference announcing his change of roles, to a round of applause.

Leyland joined the team in 2006. Prior to his arrival, the team had not made the postseason in 18 years. The Tigers have advanced to the ALCS the last three years — but the World Series crown has remained elusive, as it was yet again in 2013.

“I just felt like we let one get away,” Leyland said about the ALCS. “I truly believe the Detroit Tigers should be playing here tomorrow … This is one that really hurts.”

He apologized for not getting the team to the World Series.

Leyland later added he was “low on fuel … The trips are starting to get tough.” He is healthy, though, he said.

So, who’s the next Skipper?

Doug Karsch of 97.1 The Ticket thinks a phone call will go to Tony La Russa, saying “he’s tight with Jim Leyland.” Leyland said LaRussa, Gene Lamont and his wife were the only people he initially told about his decision.

Other names in the potential manager mix include Tigers’ legend Kirk Gibson and third base coach Tom Brookens.

Leyland said when he started out as a manager he “felt he had to earn the players’ respect.”

“I hope I did that,” he said.

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