Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Leyland Outburst Might Have Been Necessary

It’s the dog days of spring training. The initial feeling of starting camp and playing games for the first time in awhile has gone away. And it is still fairly distant to opening day. I have done that Lakeland to Vero Beach trip a number of times. It is a long one. It can’t be the most pleasant bus ride. So it almost seems trite that Tigers manager Jim Leyland would go off about how apathetic play will not be tolerated on his team after a game in Vero Beach. From my experience, a veteran player would hear that and start rolling his eyes. I would dismiss it as typical manager rhetoric - except I thought the exact same thing last April when Leyland went off on his team following an early season loss to Cleveland.
I thought it was too early to go to the proverbial whip. It turned out to be just the right time. What I like about Leyland as a manager, more than anything else, is that he has an uncanny feel for his team. Last year during the playoffs, it was brilliant the way he inspired confidence in his team by downplaying, in a simple, matter-of-fact way, his team being an underdog to the Yankees. He has been really smart in his dealings with Ivan Rodriguez, massaging his ego at the same time as fitting him into roles that are better suited for the team. The message Leyland sent to his team last April proved to be necessary. Maybe this one is, too.

Random Thoughts

- Kyle Calder has been an excellent addition for the Red Wings. For the second game in a row, during Tuesday’s win at Nashville, he set up a goal by outfighting an opposing player along the wall and keeping the puck in the zone. That type of effort was wasted in Philly this season, but could prove to be very valuable to the Red Wings - especially during the playoffs.

- Yes, I do think it is disturbing the only players the Lions seem to sign as free agents are ex-Rams and former Buccaneers.

- Michigan won the game, but is losing the war. To have only 3,000 for one of its games - any game - is a testament to how low the program has gone. If that doesn’t send a message to the administration that Tommy Amaker just isn’t working out, nothing will.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Brian said...

Pat,

This is off topic, but what have you thought of Edward Campusano so far. It sure would be nice to keep him if his spring is a good indicator of what we could potentially get from him in 2007. Then again, I've just seen his numbers and heard him on the radio so I don't know if he's as good as those indicate.

12:21 PM 
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Excellent observations on the Tigers and Wings, Pat. Not trying to turn this into a love fest, but I think this is a real strength of yours. You have a really good knack of being able to read situations with teams and providing examples to back up your thoughts ... it's good journalism.

As far as Leyland, I think the man just loves baseball so much that he absolutely can't stand it when its played poorly or thoughtlessly. I just hope he doesn't go to the well too much as far as his tirades. The players will tune him out after awhile.

In terms of the Wings, I haven't watched them much this year, but I did tune in for the third period of last night's game. I was really, really impressed with Fillapulla (sp?). The dude looks like a stud. Between him, Zetterberg, Datsuyk and Kronwall, I think they have a stong nucleus for years to come.

12:28 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Brian,
I saw Campusano pitch when I was in Lakeland and was impressed. I know his resume suggests inexperience, but he looked like a big leaguer to me. He seems to have good command of the baseball, good off-speed pitches and isn't a soft tosser. I saw he pitched well again. I have a feeling, if he keeps it up, he is going to make the team and contribute this season.
Caputo

12:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Thinkingman,
It seems like Leyland is trying to get them to bond like they did last season. He was shouting at the Red Sox dugout when the benches cleared. It's good because he isn't complacent, either, and got a lot of kudos after last season, too.
Caputo

1:00 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Pat nice time at drop-in at the onyx with you

3:00 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Book,

My crocuses are blooming and I'm pretty sure I heard a turtle cry. As far as Leyland being miffed with his players apathy, and make no mistake about the fact these ballplayers are his until the last pitch in the fall (hopefully classic), even managers have to hone their skills after a winter lullaby. I'm pretty sure that the Wizard of Woodward is making sure that both he and his "boys of summer" are properly prepared for the trip north.

As for the Winged Wheel, I got a feeling there is gonna to be need of a big bandwagon for the spring fling. I especially like the odds of Datsyuk blooming into a playoff performer. If I remember right, both The Captain and fella by the name of Sergei Federov had reputations of being flowerless in the spring prior to '97.

3:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Shhhh. Don't tell any one. I try to be as incognitio as possible when I play hockey. LOL
Caputo

12:35 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
That is a good point about playoff performers in general. Look at Kenny Rogers. I only took one big postseason and that monkey is off his back forever.
Caputo

12:36 AM 
Anonymous Zac said...

Hey Pat,

Yeah, your right on about Kyle Calder. I remember when Chicago traded him to Philly and saying, "Wish we could have gotten him." He has tons of potential. Isn't it great how certain players like Calder, Samuelsson, Cleary, and even the undrafted Brett Lebda come here and have the success they have?

Don't know if you caught the game tonight, but the Calder/Lang/Hudler line is awesome. Calder brings tons of energy to the team, and it is obvious that it is rubbing off on the players, i.e. Lang.

The only question I have is, who's going to sit once everyone is heatly again?
Thanks,
Zac

1:59 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Zac,
Ellis, Bootland, those type of guys. They needed a second line to perform well and that line has gotten it done. Lang has awaken from his slumber and Hudler is playing better than I thought, honestly, he could. Calder, obviously, is the catalyst. I just wonder what line Bertuzzi would play on. That Zetterbereg-Datsyuk-Homstrom line was rolling pretty good before Hank got hurt.
Caputo

10:13 AM 

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