Jim Leyland gets emotional after AL Central clinching, thanks Tigers fans with tears in eyes

David Brown
Big League Stew

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, as he seems to every season no matter the result, tried unsuccessfully to keep from crying as he reflected on his team clinching the AL Central title on Monday night. He became especially emotional about becoming the first Tigers manager since Hugh Jennings to take the franchise to the playoffs three times after some had been calling for his job.

And he got really sentimental about Tigers fans — the 3 million mostly from an economically troubled region who came out to Comerica Park, and those who couldn't afford to go in person.

"This was about the three million and probably a lot of them who couldn't afford to come and didn't show up, but were with us in spirit every night. I thank you for that," Leyland said while choking back tears.

That's a pretty classy and real response by Leyland, who spent most of the year serving as a punching bag for Tigers fans, whether on Internet message boards or on signs that were brought to the stadium (and later confiscated by Miguel Cabrera). It really looks like he cares about his Tigers fans and that's not something you can say about everyone in baseball.

Are you ready for the postseason?
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