"It's one of the greatest I've ever heard. It was unbelievable," Leyland said.
He doesn't mean he was glad to see it happen to Elia, especially the fallout after it. Nor did he suggest Cubs fans deserved the offense from the then-Cubs manager. For entertainment, though, it was unmatched for him.
It's one of the toughest things for a manager to endure. And yet, when a manager loses his cool like that, it's something every manager can understand on some level.
"I love Lee Elia," Leyland said. "I managed against him in the Minor Leagues. I've known him all my life. I love him to death. And he just obviously lost it. It was not a good thing for Lee to do, but I have to admit, as a spectator, I thought it was spectacular. And I don't mean that as an offense against Cubs fans."
Leyland had an up-close view of the reaction in Chicago when it happened, because he was the third-base coach for the crosstown White Sox at the time.
"I mean, I couldn't believe it when I first heard it," Leyland said. "But I can't lie and say I wasn't laughing my butt off, because I was. You try to avoid those at all costs if you can."
But sometimes, Leyland said, a manager gets agitated enough that they can't help it.
Leyland has never had anything on that level. He has yelled, screamed and implored reporters to write what they saw, as he said last year in Boston. Arguably his most famous blow-up was his on-field shouting match with Barry Bonds during Pirates Spring Training one year.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.