UPDATE: Leyland responded to the comments. Beck has the transcript and the audio is here. And it looks like Grilli has responded back.
This really was a rant for the ages. Leyland’s gone off before, but it has been to players with only terse summaries for the press afterwards. This was out there for everybody and I think he was 100% right in what he said. You’ve got to listen to the audio for yourself if you haven’t heard it yet. It ended with “Beck. If you write a horse— article you don’t blame John Lowe.”
Also, I wouldn’t expect Nightengale around the clubhouse for awhile. I did talk with people familiar with baseball clubhouses and there was nothing out of the ordinary that night. It’s normal baseball behavior and when you get to the park 5 hours before game time there is going to be downtime. Grilli is saying he was misquoted which could just be CYA backpedaling. But I do find the Guillen quote out of character. And I can’t help but wonder how many, if any, players Nightengale spoke with that indicated no clubhouse problems but it didn’t make the story.
Hey, you may have heard there was an article today about the chemistry in the Tigers clubhouse. I know there has already been a lot of discussion about this in another post, but I wanted the chance to address it. Please read the article first because the points I’m going to hash out below assume you will have read it.
- There are quotes in this article that I do find very disturbing. The Sheffield quotes and the Inge quotes don’t bother me too much. Sheffield probably said what he was thinking and in a day or two he’ll explain what he meant. As for Inge, he seems to say lots of things. What bothered me the most are the Guillen quotes in which he seemed to imply that the expectations were unfair. Bull—-. While a 1000 run offense expectation may not be fair, expecting to be a good team was completely in line. The fact that this came from someone who is perceived as a team leader is bad.
- Bob Nightengale wanted to paint a picture here. I’ve never been in a clubhouse before a game (or at anytime) but if I pictured one it would be players hanging out, checking fan mail, reading, listening to music, and even sleeping. This doesn’t seem odd to me at all and yet it is painted as a negative. Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez were singled out for not watching a tape of Dan Haren (leaving the impression that Cabrera had done no preparation). Cabrera homered and Ordonez had 3 hits. I don’t know what the players do to prepare. Maybe they actually did nothing, but to assume they did is quite the leap.
- The MLBPA tried to ban Nightengale last year because Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield claimed that Nightengale took quotes that were off the record and printed them, leading to potential punishment from the commissioner. But then Sheffield talked to Nightengale for this article so I don’t know what to make of it. Nightengale also reported that Magglio Ordonez wanted to be traded in 2005.
- It isn’t surprising that this story came from a national writer. In one respect you should take pause because he’s getting a snapshot of the team. In one respect you should give it more credence because he doesn’t have the same pressures as a beat writer having to go in there everyday.
- Jason Grilli shouldn’t be talking. He complained of cliques. Of course there are going to be cliques on a team. Most likely they break down along positional and racial lines. In the Tigers case many of those lines are related. Look at the infield – all from Latin America. Four-fifths of the starting rotation is white. I also thought it was interesting that Grilli singled out Sean Casey and Brandon Inge as the type of player they needed. Perhaps other guys from his clique?
- Read this article. (It’s different than the other one)
Look. I know stuff is broken with this team. They are playing like crap and way below their abilities. I don’t know why. But I know there is a more that I don’t know. I don’t know what these guys do on a daily basis to prepare. I don’t know how much they care and I know I can’t tell by looking at them what is going on in their heads. I don’t know if they are lazy because of their contracts or if the only thing they care about is winning. I don’t know if they like each other or if they hate each other. I don’t know if they’ve tuned their manager out, or if they are trying too hard, or not trying hard enough. And frankly I don’t care. I just want to see them play some decent baseball damn-it.