Jim Leyland didn't avoid the question when he was asked – Leyland missed the game, missed the excitement. After two straight tough seasons in 1998 and 1999, Leyland thought he had enough, and walked away.
But now, he's ready to get back. And he'll return with the Tigers, an organization that hasn't even had a winning season since 1993. The same organization that started Leyland's career as a player, coach and manager more than 40 years ago.
He'll be taking over a group that needless to say, had its fair share of struggles in 2005, as Alan Trammell lost complete control of the group, including notable leaders suspected to be Pudge Rodriguez and Dmitri Young.
Of course, Leyland is no stranger to dealing with star egos, having managed the likes of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Gary Sheffield before. Dave Dombrowski is likely hoping Leyland can bring that veteran leadership to the clubhouse and restore order to a team that seemingly threw in the towel shortly after the trade deadline passed and the team shipped away closer Kyle Farnsworth.
Leyland hasn't made any indications about whom (if anyone) from the current staff he'll keep, but that will likely develop in the coming weeks as a manager with more than 30 years of experience in baseball has a very extensive network of knowledgeable baseball people, some of whom he'll likely reach out to complete his staff.
For now, the Tigers can focus on moving on quickly from Trammell, the manager who averaged 100 losses per year over his three year stint. The team gave Trammell his shot, but it was clear this time around, Dombrowski wasn't going to beat around the bush; hence the completion of the deal in less than 36 hours.
Since Sparky Anderson retired from the job in 1995, the managerial job in Detroit has been a revolving door, ranging from Buddy Bell to Luis Pujols to Trammell. The Tigers are hopeful that this time around though, they got the right guy.