USA TODAY Sports’ Jorge L. Ortiz recaps the championship between USA and Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium.
USA TODAY Sports
Jim Leyland donned a uniform for the first time in more than three years and, after just two weeks, he vowed — again — his managing days were done minutes after he led Team USA to an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic championship.
“I’m going to stay retired,” Leyland told reporters after Team USA claimed its first WBC title at Dodger Stadium late Wednesday night. “That I can promise you.”
Leyland, 72, retired as a manager in 2013 after his eighth season with the Detroit Tigers and 22nd season overall as an MLB manager. He’s served as a special assistant to Tigers general manager Al Avila since.
Leyland, never one to hide his emotions, dedicated Team USA’s title to military service members.
“I had the honor of managing for our country, you know, the coaches having the honor of coaching for our country, the players have the honor of playing for our country, but this is really about the men and women that serve our country,” Leyland said. “That’s who this is for.”
Leyland’s pre-tournament task was finding a team that, well, actually wanted to represent the U.S. and match other countries’ intensity in the WBC.
“I don’t mean this to sound wrong, but up until this point, the other countries were probably into this event a little bit more than the United States,” Leyland said. “But we had players that wanted to be here, and that’s the players you want.’’
Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was among those Leyland reached out to in the months before the WBC.
“Just being asked to play on this team is a huge compliment,” Kinsler told the Detroit Free Press. “To be able to wear this jersey and be part of something like this, it’s a lot of fun and it’s a great experience and it was a very easy decision.”