JIM LEYLAND: He's just an outstanding
player. He can play third or second, too, if we
needed it. He's just one of those kind of players. I
keep telling him all the time I'm grooming him to be
a manager, I think he's got great instincts, and I
think at some point in his career he'd be able to
handle something like that. He's got a great
knowledge of the game and a great feel for the
way the game is supposed to be played.
Also, Zumaya warmed up the other
day during Game 2. Obviously you had the
excellent performance from Kenny. But how is
his availability? And the other day you said he
could go two, is that still the case?
JIM LEYLAND: He's all right. He's
definitely all right. There's no problem with
Zumaya. He definitely could pitch two innings. I
don't know for sure if I would do that, but he could
do that if I wanted him to.
He's fine, ready to go. There's absolutely
no problem with Zumaya.
Yesterday you said you weren't sure
what you were going to get from Nate
Robertson given the layoff, do you feel the
same way with Bonderman? And how much of
a challenge is it to have this much time off?
JIM LEYLAND: I think it's puzzling, really,
because we thought with the rest that Verlander
might have too much fastball, that might not be in
the strike zone. We were kind of worried about
that. As it turned out, the fastball for him wasn't
really there that night. I don't know if Nate is going
to have a little more fastball. We certainly want
him to throw it.
So I really don't know what to expect. The
time off is definitely a factor, but since day 1 of
Spring Training this organization has no excuses
anymore. So we'll just leave it at that.
As an American League manager,
what kind of things do you find yourself
thinking about late in the game that you do not
think about in the National League and vice
JIM LEYLAND: Well, No. 1 is if you think
you need a double-switch situation. I'm a little bit
different. I think their manager does it probably
better than anybody I've ever seen. But I think the
double switch can be overrated. I think sometimes
if you're not careful, particularly young managers, I
think they fall in that trap of using the double switch
a lot and it makes everybody think this guy is really
working, he's changing this, double switching here
and double switching there. That's all fine and
dandy if it makes sense, but in a lot of cases you
really only double switch in a lot of situations if you
want to slip a particular player up there, the way
the bullpen shapes up. But normally when you
double switch it's because you're short of pitching.
I don't think their team is going to be short of
And a lot of it depends on who you're
double switching with. I think you have to be
careful with it, but it's one of the tools that you have
in the National League that you don't have in the
American League. So it becomes a little more
sophisticated, I guess, later in the game.
You've been in the game a long time
and you've seen a lot of labor disputes and
shutdowns and the cost of a World Series. At
6:00 today they're going to announce a new
labor deal for five years, what does it mean for
the game to have this extended period of labor
JIM LEYLAND: I think the game is
booming. I think you're seeing that. I know it's
booming in Detroit this summer and Minnesota and
places all over the country. I think the game is
very healthy right now and I've always said and I
always will, whatever is good -- I don't get involved
in those agreements. I know nothing really about
them other than what I read. Whatever is good for
baseball is good for Jim Leyland. If everybody is
happy with that, I think it's tremendous.
I think at the end of the regular
season I remember there was a rough start for
Jeremy in the last game of the regular season.
How much more confident are you when you
send Jeremy to the mound now after these last
two playoff performances?
JIM LEYLAND: I feel good about all our
pitchers. And it's not something you're going to
change at this point. They've gotten us to this
point and we're not going to change anything. I
have total confidence that we have good pitchers.
I'm sure Tony feels very confident in his pitchers.
Are they both going to pitch a good game tonight
or is one going to pitch a good game and one is
not? Nobody knows the answer to that.
I have all the confidence in the world in our
staff. They brought us to the World Series. So if
I'm worried about that now, I've got problems. So
I'm not worried about it. I am concerned a little bit,
as I said, because I just don't think you know quite
what to expect when they have had a long layoff.
But once again, we're not looking for excuses, but
realistically I'm not sure. Nate's thrown a couple of
times on the side. Jeremy has done the same
thing. We did simulate some games last week, but
not with those guys. I'm really not sure what to
expect, but I have total confidence in our pitching.
Oftentimes the AL team seems to be
at a disadvantage in the World Series when
they move to the NL city because they lose a
big bat. That seems to be less the case with
you. It seems like it doesn't have as much an
impact because your team is not as reliant on
the DH, is that accurate?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I don't know about
that. I think one of the biggest advantages right
now that swings in the favor of the National
League team is that I know the team we're playing,
and I know how much effort and concentration they
put on their pitchers hitting and bunting in Spring
Training and all year long. I would like to have
started this in July, but I think it might have rubbed
the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins a
little wrong to think we're already bunting in July
and going to the World Series. We couldn't do
those things. I think I am concerned about that.
If you look at this team, Carpenter handles
the bat very well, the guy tomorrow night has
already hit one home run in the postseason. It's a
little bit of an advantage, but I think it's something
you don't really continue to talk about too much
with your players because I think it puts a negative
there, and I'm certainly trying to stay away from
that. But do they get a little advantage there?
Sure, they do.
Just a follow-up on the answer you
gave a minute ago about the state of the game,
how it's booming: You've been in and out of it
over the last couple of years, different
perspectives. If you had to say why is the
game the way it is, why is it booming in so
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think, No. 1, I think
baseball, there's so much parity in baseball today.
Everybody thought that was going to work out
strictly for the NFL or possibly the NBA, and I think
it's worked out more for baseball. You're seeing a
different representative in the World Series from
the National League for something like the last
eight or nine years. Maybe the same team did it,
but they didn't do it two years in a row. The Detroit
Tigers haven't been here since '84. Minnesota
Twins won the division. Oakland won the division.
There are great stories. Toronto made a little run.
You know Boston and the Yankees are going to be
there. There are more teams involved. Thank
God for the wild card.
I was kind of bullheaded and old school at
first, and fortunately we had that wild card because
in 1997 we won the World Series. And if we were
to have to pull it off again, it would be the same
scenario. I think there's so many more teams
involved in the end, you know, if you look at our
division, Chicago and us, and Minnesota right
down to the wire, there weren't too many blowouts.
It's been great.
And the National League, I don't know how
many teams with ten days to go were still in the
hunt. It's exciting for the fans. I just think it's been
great for the game.
What were you able to pick up in
kind of walking around looking at the ballpark
yesterday? Did you watch any video of games
to see how the ball caroms or did you pick up
that when you were a scout for the Cards?
JIM LEYLAND: I think we just worked out.
You're not going to find out all the little details
about a ballpark in one workout session, one hour
and a half workout session. It was nice to get out
there yesterday. The wind was blowing and it was
cold. The ball wasn't carrying near -- the
dimensions are smaller, but the ball wasn't carrying
there as well as it did in our ballpark. I don't know
how the wind will blow tonight or what will happen
tonight, but it's a little bit different.
It's gorgeous, and it's obviously one of the
great baseball cities of all time. So you're going to
see a lot of red here tonight, we know that.
As a guy that's been in the game for
a long time, how have you seen the
relationship between players and the owners
and management sort of change over the
years? It looks like there's going to be a new
CBA extended, no labor issues, have you seen
it get better, that you can tell?
JIM LEYLAND: I think you always have a
better relationship when both sides are making
money. That kind of always seems to work out in
the end, doesn't it, for whatever reason, when the
owner's happy and putting a little in his pocket, and
the player is happy and putting a little in his pocket.
In our case, I guess in our game, a lot in both
pockets. That usually has a tendency to make
people feel real good.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.