Late Friday night the Detroit Tigers won the American League Central Division Championship by defeating the Oakland Athletics 3-1. The Tigers, now with a record of 88-63, are 25 games over .500 and the first team in Major League Baseball to clinch their division. The last time the Tigers won their division was 1987 when current players Alex Avila and Austin Jackson were not even one years old. Remember their manager in 1987? Sparky Anderson who passed away earlier this year.
Is this a team of destiny? What made this more special was watching Jim Leyland lead this team. Ask his players, they enjoy playing for this man. That was the case in Pittsburgh, Florida, Colorado and continues today in Detroit. Things looked as if they could go bad for the team back in Spring Training when Miguel Cabrera was arrested for driving under the influence. Leyland stood in Cabrera’s corner and helped him during this rough point in his life. How fitting it was for Cabrera to receive the throw from Inge at third to record the final out against the Athletics. Minutes later Cabrera got a big hug from Leyland just like every other player on this team. Leyland, one of the most emotional managers in baseball, had tears in his eyes.
Jim Leyland now has four division crowns on his resume (three with the Pirates and one with the Tigers), two National League Manager of the Year Awards, one American League Manager of the Year Award and has been to two World Series. He is 1-1 in World Series, winning his first as manager of the Florida Marlins in 1997. What will become of the 2011 Detroit Tigers? Stay tuned because with their pitching anything is possible. Justin Verlander is 23-5 and Jose Valverde is 45 of 45 in save opportunities.
The Good In Sports congratulates Jim Leyland and the Detroit Tigers on their American League Central Division title.
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