Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Wishing They Were Fogg...and Jim Leyland Sucks
2006-10-19 13:03
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Rockies fans, take heart. Both of the teams in the National League Championship Series would kill for our starting pitching. If either New York or St. Louis had a front three of Aaron Cook, Jason Jennings, and Jeff Francis, they would have won this series already. For Game Seven, the Mets would be deliriously happy to have Josh Fogg instead of Oliver Perez, and the Cardinals would probably be better off with this year's Fogg than this year's Jeff Suppan. And if Byung-Hyun Kim was somehow pitching in these playoffs, you'd have to have a good gut feeling about his chances. After all, there's no way Kim could be any worse in the playoffs than he was in 2001, right? Fate owes him one.

For the moment, our focus is on the National League, perhaps for the last time this year. However, we haven't forgotten about Tigers manager Jim Leyland, for whom the national media have already filed their hagiographic little profiles in advance of the World Series. From now until the end of the Series, regardless of outcome, in a futile effort to somehow counterbalance the mindless wave of incoherent praise for Saint Smokey, we will say at least one mean, very possibly uncalled-for thing about Leyland per day. This is a man who did once after all treat the Colorado franchise in much the same way Denny Neagle treats the ladies of the evening. A man whose unbroken streak of sage, almost precognitive button-pushing for Detroit has not for some reason included the "season-long sulk" technique he pioneered in Denver. A man whose reserves of creativity were such that when the robotic pattern of bunting and hit-and-runs he had blindly followed for his entire career did not somehow breed success with the Rockies he completely gave up on the team and his players, rather than have to suffer the indignity of actually absorbing some new ideas.

Today's item: When Leyland took the job as Rockies manager in 1999, his wife refused to move to Denver with him because of the Columbine tragedy. Leyland was apparently so broken up about her absence that he decided to not do his job and instead steal millions of dollars from his employers and then lie his way out of town after one year of a contracted three. Of course, it makes perfect sense for a woman in her late fifties to be terrified about her potential safety in Colorado (the murder capital of the world) after an isolated incident involving disturbed teenagers. You should also never visit Ireland because the terrorists will get you, not drink Pepsi because you'll get poked by a syringe, never take aspirin because some of them are poison, and take the air bags out of your car because this one time this one dude totally got killed by one.

Your wife is a paranoid loon, and that's why (everybody)...YOU SUCK, JIM LEYLAND!

2006-10-19 13:50:57
1.   RZG
If other Rockies fans acted like you do I'd want out of Colorado too.
2006-10-19 14:02:10
2.   Eric Stephen
The contrarian in me really enjoyed this piece. I'm growing a bit tired of the growing sentiment that Leyland is in fact the second coming of Jesus H. Christ.

Rock on, Mark!

2006-10-19 14:02:50
3.   regfairfield
I'd add that he's possibly the only person in the world who doesn't realize that Todd Jones sucks. This isn't some stat guy thing either. He's got at least two other guys that throw a million miles an hour, and Jones doesn't. Shouldn't that be enough?
2006-10-19 14:12:56
4.   Eric Stephen
I do like the fact that Leyland wears cleats during games. I know it doesn't make him a good manager, or even a good person, but there's a John Wayne / Chuck Norris tough guy feel to it that I enjoy (kudos to Bobby Cox as well, also a spikes wearer).

Also, according to Wikipedia, Leyland "claims to watch the movie Hoosiers at least once a week." That's pretty cool.

2006-10-19 14:22:57
5.   Mark T.R. Donohue
Oh, there are tons of nice things you could say about Leyland. He's as old school as they come, and everywhere he's been except for Colorado he's carried himself with class. And cursing. But the point is, every other baseball writer in the universe has been listing these positive attributes all season. The black mark on his record goes unmentioned. I'm just trying to hysterically overcompensate in the name of overall Fox News.
2006-10-19 15:27:17
6.   Chyll Will
I always figured with FOX and ESPN that if Leyland drove around in an ice cream truck that was blaring the theme from "Halloween", they'd all buy a cone.
2006-10-19 16:28:12
7.   Xeifrank
If the Cardinals and Mets had the Rockies overpaid firstbaseman...
vr, Xei
2006-10-20 17:59:24
8.   GoGetEm
We in Detroit have absolutely no problem with Jim Leyland's Colorado experience. I understand Jim is quite a hockey fan, and no self respecting hockey fan could stomach living there for long. Get your head out of the clouds Mark.

Only two other things to say:
Go Tigers!
Go Wings!

2006-10-22 11:06:14
9.   JimmyLungcancer
Colorado experience? Let's talk about Jimmy Lungcancer's PITTSBURGH experience!

This guy is the most overrated figure in all of sports. He's a guy who should have been canned after a year and instead we're going to hear some people talk about him and the Hall of Fame- a comical description considering his all-time losing record.

I readily enjoyed Game One. Not walking Albert Pujols and then seeing him go yard. Hmmm- reminds me of Game Six of the '91 NLCS- when Jimmy Lungcancer- with first base open- pitches to former All-Star catcher Greg Olsen with Rafeal Belliard on deck (or- if you prefer- a Braves bench featuring pinch hitters Jerry Willard (.214) and Tommy Gregg (.187).

Olsen gets the hit- Bucs lose the game 1-0- and the series the next day.

Or how about Lungcancer making sure his bullpen got work in the loss after the week layoff? Where could he have gotten that from?

Could it be the 1992 NLCS? Remember how off Stan Belinda was when the Braves came back? Belinda was asked to put the Bucs in the Series- but he hadn't pitched in a week- despite two golden opportunities to get him work in victorious routs the previous two games.

Learn from your mistakes, Mr. Lungcancer? Or shall we continue to blame Barry Bonds for the Bucs' woes in the playoffs those years- despite the team was in positions to win EVERY TIME before you blew it!

Lungcancer got his rep by cozing up to certain media types (the Pirates' play-by-play man was the Godfather of his child- the relationship between he and the Post-Gazette's beat writer and top columnist was almost incestous). His final years in Pittsburgh were notable for-

A- Getting General Manager Ted Simmons fired- while Simmons was in the hospital.

B- Leaving Pittsburgh with four years left on his contract (which became a pattern for him) while telling anyone who would listen it was impossible to win there.

C- Putting a halt to a trade of Barry Bonds that would have allowed the Bucs to rebuild- and instead getting nothing.

D- Speaking of Bonds, here is the guy who is going to go down in history- steroids or no- as baseball's greatest home run hitter. And so it really made a lot of sense for Bonds to hit leadoff all those years.

Heck- I remember after four years when Lungcancer finally figured out it might be best to have him in a position to drive in runs. And there was controversy about it- "IS BARRY BONDS REALLY AN RBI MAN?"

Took Lungcancer four years to figure this out.

E- Remember when he played natural third baseman Darnell Coles in right field- and natural third baseman Bobby Bonilla in right? Bucs finished fifth that year. Bonilla led the league in errors for two straight years- one of them while natural third baseman Jeff King was playing first.

He finally figured it out and moved Bonilla back to right- and the Bucs won their division- and Lungcancer's a genius.



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