This week the San Francisco Giants completed a sweep of the Detroit Tigers to win their second World Series in the past three seasons. Even though the Rockies were nowhere near playoff contention and are trying to dig out of a gargantuan hole themselves, they still had an impact on the World Series. Here’s how.
The Rockies broke Jim Leyland. Or at least that’s how it seemed at the time, way back in 1999. In one woeful season as the manager of the Rockies, Leyland led the team to a bumbling and depressing 72-90 record. He wore his disenchantment with on his face and in his mannerisms, looking disinterested and disgusted for most of the season.
Mind you, I was a mere whippersnapper when Leyland managed the club, a spry 13 year-old who couldn’t imagine anybody being anything less than thrilled-to-the-bone excited to spend their days in a Major League dugout. Even with that naive outlook, it was painfully obvious to me that dude did not want to there. He hated Coors Field and he was mad that his buddy Bob Gebhard was on his way out as general manager. He predictably walked away from the final two years of a lucrative contract and called his time in Colorado the “biggest embarrassment of his career.”
Need more proof that he left Colorado a broken man? He took seven years off from managing. When he started in Colorado he was less than two years removed from a World Series title with the Marlins, and just that one year pushed him out of the dugout for seven years. That’s staggering.
Leyland’s time in Detroit has been characterized by success, with every season except one equal to or above a .500 record. That also includes two World Series appearances. Leyland has shown the ability to manage challenging teams that contain challenging characters with the required patience and discipline. That shows me a man who was rejuvenated and refreshed by his return as a manager, so much so that he will return for another season in Detroit in 2013.
In order to be rejuvenated, you have to be beaten down. Jim Leyland was down because of the Colorado Rockies. That’s one way the Rockies affected the 2012 World Series.
You’re welcome, Detroit.