Happy Tigers hope to throw more parties in October

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 26, 2013

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 21: (EDITOR'S NOTE: IMAGES HAVE BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Manager, Jim Leyland #10 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait during Photo Day on February 21, 2009 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Jim Leyland sat behind his desk, his blue-and-orange Detroit Tigers hat covering a lowered head. Amid the din of players shouting and chanting a few feet away in the visitor clubhouse at Minnesota, the 68-year-old manager was asked how that sound of celebration made him feel. ''They're awful happy,'' Leyland said, barely looking up and repeating himself after his voice cracked hard on the first try. Even a gruff, grizzled guy like Leyland can get emotional in moments like these near the end of the 162-game grind. The Tigers simply did what was expected of them, win the American League Central division for a third straight time, but this was still an accomplishment worth celebrating Wednesday after a victory over the Twins to clinch the pennant. This time, after reaching the World Series last season, they're aiming to throw the biggest party of all at the end. ''We plan on doing a lot more,'' right fielder Torii Hunter said. Hunter was the one who took a brief break from the mosh pit in the middle of the plastic-encased room to carry Leyland out of his office. Hunter brought the boss with a bear hug into the fray of the spray of low-alcohol white sparkling wine. Leyland jumped up and down with the group a few times, did a little dance and then disappeared back into his quarters. ''This is their team. This is their clubhouse. I've got my office, and I let them be major leaguers,'' Leyland said a few minutes before Hunter grabbed him. ''I let them be professional major leaguers, but that's something that you treasure.'' Leyland added: ''You have your moments, and they have their moments, and you have your moments with them. But at the end of the day, I think they know how I feel about them.'' They even had a few dozen of their fans in attendance on a late-September weeknight at Target Field, enough to start a ''Let's go Tigers!'' chant as Joaquin Benoit was working on the final out of the ninth inning for Detroit's 93rd win. ''It's a great marriage. It really is. They pay a lot of money to see us entertain them, and I'd like to think the last few years we've entertained them pretty good,'' Leyland said. ''We've got a couple more steps to go obviously, but I just hope that they feel that they're getting their money's worth, because they spend a lot of money. And we appreciate that.'' The schedule fortuitously granted the Tigers Thursday off. Leyland and his coaches planned to golf in Miami at a course he used to belong to when he was the manager there. They play the Marlins for three games this weekend before getting four more days to rest before their AL division series, with Oakland the most likely opponent. The A's have a one-game lead to determine which team would get the home-field advantage. They don't have to worry about that for a few days, though. Nobody cared Wednesday night about the postseason bracket. ''We're brothers, guys we've been in the clubhouse with all year,'' Hunter said. ''You've got the ups. You've got the downs. We're always together.'' Including the manager, who has taken the Tigers to the postseason four times in eight years. ''He lets us go out and play the game the right way. He knows we're going to play the game the right way. He has a lot of faith in us. He comes in, he'll say a couple words, and he goes back out,'' Hunter said. ''He's a great man. ... Why wouldn't you want to play hard for a guy like that who's always on your side, who's always got your back?'' --- Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Is Madison Bumgarner a bully?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Alabama’s opening week starting QB is transferring

Cubs sign Theo Epstein to five-year extension

Marlins players surrounded Jose Fernandez’s hearse during its procession

Jason Garrett: Dez Bryant has hairline fracture in knee

Newspaper runs insensitive headline following Mets win

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Curt Schilling plans to run against Elizabeth Warren in 2018

WATCH: Tebow homers on first pitch he sees in first game

Report: Garoppolo still dealing with shoulder pain, mobility

J.J. Watt placed on IR, reportedly expected to miss rest of 2016

Nationals GM: Strasburg ‘unlikely to pitch in NLDS’

Nebraska regent wants players kicked off team for kneeling during anthem

WNBA semifinals preview: Will the rust show for Lynx, Sparks?

Breaking down baseball’s Cy Young ballot

TailGreater: 'Sterngating' with the Huskies

Can anyone challenge the Cavs in murky Eastern Conference?

2016 Ryder Cup preview: Five things to watch this weekend

Ryan Kesler disappointed with lack of excitement at World Cup

Lesser known MMA fighters who could be ready for the WWE

Box Score: 9/28 - Bosh, FIFA, Ali and Mangenius

Geno Smith deletes Instagram post possibly critical of Jets

Most glaring flaw for each MLB playoff contender

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WNBA semifinals preview: Will the rust show for Lynx, Sparks?

Breaking down baseball’s Cy Young ballot

TailGreater: 'Sterngating' with the Huskies

Can anyone challenge the Cavs in murky Eastern Conference?

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker