DETROIT, MI – There’s a reason why managers like Jim Leyland can’t seem to win the “big one.” The 1997 Marlins, with their “go for broke” assemblage of otherworldly mercenary talents notwithstanding, the only title Leyland has led Detroit to is “most underachieving team of the last decade in MLB.” The fact that Leyland’s Tigers have won fewer than 115 games each of the last 3 years is testament to his “over-managing” style. Like “over-actors” such as Vincent D’Onofrio and the late great Jack Lemon, Jim Leyland is not the curmudgeonly Lou Brown-type leader he is often portrayed to be.
But take a look at the Tigers starting rotation! Justin Verlander (crappy regular season aside), Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Doug Fister. Verlander and Scherzer are Cy Young winners. Anibal Sanchez probably has better stuff than either of them. Fister is no worse than a #2 on most MLB teams.
In Miguel Cabrera, they likely have one of the 3 greatest right handed hitters in history anchoring their lineup. Throw in Fielder, Hunter, and perennial .300 hitting underrated Victor Martinez and you realize they are loaded on offense as well. Defensively, they made a brilliant trade at the deadline in July to acquire the best defensive shortstop in the game in Jose Iglesias.
So why is this ALCS even mildly competitive? Because Jim Leyland is a terrible manager.
With the best rotation in the game; one of the best lineups with the greatest hitter in the game to go to war with, Leyland put the fate of Game 2…in the hands of his bullpen-his team’s weakest link. And like that short lived American version of the Weakest Link game show, Jim Leyland IS the weakest link and must go.
So Max Scherzer was destroying a strong Boston lineup all night. He was overmatching every hitter including making Big Papi look like a child. 13 Ks in 7 innings. With his easy motion and the ball jumping out of his hand with explosive velocity and late breaking movement, Scherzer was on cruise control making the Sox hitters look feeble. Enter Leyland. Exit Scherzer. Bye-bye ballgame. Red Sox will now take this Series in 6.
The other major story over the past weekend was the tragic death of Adrian Peterson’s 2 year old son. This child was 2 years old-a baby. As a father it turns my stomach to even write this, and our thoughts and prayers should be with this poor kid. But here’s where I take a contrarian view, and I’d like you to read this carefully before you jump down my throat.
A father’s primary responsibility is to keep his children safe, and free from danger. The rest of the stuff matters and helps but the bottom line for any Dad is and should always be “Is my child safe?” So using this as the basis for my thoughts, I believe that Adrian Peterson deserves a huge amount of blame for his child being murdered. We all know about the pro ballplayers who’ve fathered 12 children with 12 different women (“Now starting for YOUR Seattle Super Sonics… Shawn Kemp!) and the guys who have their paychecks garnished for failing to make child support payments to their 9 kids (Antonio Cromartie, you’re the next contestant!) And I don’t know how many kids AD has or how many girlfriends, wives, whatever.
My contention is that the reigning NFL MVP could ensure the safety of one of his offspring by opening his wallet and providing childcare for the kid. Your Baby Mama ain’t cut out for motherhood? Whatever. She’s incapable of making the decision that shacking up with an already convicted woman/child-beater is not prudent? Fine. Spend the money to make sure you’re kid is in a safe environment. Hire a full time nanny. Just don’t tell me how broken up you are over your baby being murdered when you’re so narcissistic – or just plain too stupid and detached – to be able to play a football game two days later. There was absolutely nothing brave or noble or laser-focused about Peterson having played on Sunday. I found it disrespectful to the murdered child and to the institution that is Fatherhood. Being a Man means taking responsibility-taking care of your kids. Peterson was a souless coward on Sunday, not even taking time to mourn the death of a child he apparently never knew or cared about.
Angry Ward, who has fathered 9 children by 12 women – all in Detroit since it went bankrupt, tomorrow.