Results tagged ‘ Tony La Russa ’

Belichick, Leyland finally meet

JUPITER, Fla. — Boy, it sure would’ve been nice to be a fly on the wall at The Capital Grille in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on Monday night. That’s where Tigers manager Jim Leyland, along with Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley all sat together in what seemed like a roundtable discussion between some of the most historic winners in sports (together, they share seven championships).

But although Leyland and La Russa go way back, Detroit’s skipper found himself spending most of his time talking to Belichick. Leyland said the two had spoken many times on the phone, but never had a chance to meet — until Monday.
“The conversation went a long time — a little later than we thought it was going to be — but it was fun,” said Leyland, who expects to meet with former Indiana men’s basketball coach Bob Knight on Tuesday. 
“He’s a brilliant guy and so down-to-Earth. I couldn’t have been more impressed. I was waiting for that day, to be honest with you. … He’s always been an interesting guy.”
Leyland said they mostly talked about the difference in philosophies and preparing for a game between MLB and the NFL. He also talked about the similarities between the kicker in football and the closer in baseball. 
Then, Leyland told Belichick about how he could’ve been a contributor to his three Super Bowl titles.
“I told him when I was in high school I could’ve played for him,” Leyland said. “I was pretty fast. I used to run back kicks, and I used to get called for roughing the kicker.”
— Alden Gonzalez

Tuesday happenings

JUPITER, Fla. — Here are some quick pregame notes that came out before the Tigers-Cardinals game at Roger Dean Stadium:

* Joel Zumaya (shoulder) played catch in Lakeland, Fla., today. Manager Jim Leyland said he’s more than likely going to go ahead and pitch him an inning during an intrasquad game on Saturday — which will also see Jeremy Bonderman pitch. 
* Backup catcher Matt Treanor was originally scheduled to make the trip to Jupiter, Fla., but Leyland scratched him because of lingering issues with his offseason sports hernia surgery. The Tigers’ manager said he isn’t sure how long he’ll be out, but for now, it’s just for precautionary reasons, and it doesn’t seem to be that serious at the moment. Besides, he has no idea what’s on those medical reports anyway. “I’m not a doctor,” Leyland began to joke. “I know I’ve got a heart, it has a beat,
and that’s about it. But other than that, I don’t know anything about that. … We’re going to take it slow [with Treanor].”
* Leyland stressed he isn’t tipping his hat, and that Zach Miner — Tuesday’s starter — still has as good of a chance as anybody to land that No. 5 spot in the starting rotation. But the skipper did have something interesting to say about the 26-year-old right-hander before his outing: “I think he needs to maybe prepare himself for relief. I’m not talking necessarily about right now. … We know he can start — we think he can start and do a decent job. He hasn’t shown for sure that he can relieve as effective as he should. So he needs to do that. … In his case, I think there will always be a situation where somebody may be looking for a little bit more of an edge from the starter, so he needs to learn how to make the adjustments to pitch out of the bullpen.”
* Tigers left-hander Fu-Te Ni is back from pitching with Chinese Taipei — which lost its only two games — and is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday. Ni gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings in the Classic.
* Leyland and Tony La Russa have always enjoyed a great friendship — ever since La Russa brought him to the big leagues as his third-base coach with the White Sox, in fact. Before the game, the Cardinals’ manager had a little fun with Leyland, sending him a lineup with Cardinals greats likes Ozzie Smith, Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds and Stan Musial, with Bob Gibson pitching. “It was pretty good,” Leyland joked. “If those guys don’t hit today, I know the world’s coming to an end.”
* Score update: It’s the bottom of the third right now, with the Cardinals leading, 2-1. Chris Duncan hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, and Marcus Thames hit a solo shot in the top of the second for Detroit.

— Alden Gonzalez