The familiar sight of smoke wafting out of the Tigers’ dugout in Comerica Park was strangely absent this past weekend. No, manager Jim Leyland has not decided to quit smoking after all these years—it’s a new Michigan law that went into effect on Saturday prohibiting the salty skipper from enjoying his favorite vice between innings. The new law bans smoking in most workplaces in the state and the ballpark is not exempt.
Frankly, I’ll kind of miss it. Not that I endorse smoking at all (I’m asthmatic, for Pete’s sake – no, not that Pete), but there was just something kind of cool about Leyland siting there, puffing away like a badass Mr. Blonde holding court in Reservoir Dogs while fielding questions from reporters during pre/post-game media sessions. When questioned on the subject Saturday, the 65-year-old’s reaction was classic, crusty Leyland. “There’s been a campaign now for the last several years to make it miserable for a smoker, so that doesn’t really surprise me.” He added, “I’ve quit a couple times, but I’m not quitting. That I can assure you.”
While he has pledged to obey the new law, it begs the question: What’s Jim going to do? Can he last a full nine innings without a single drag? If he does, will he be even ornerier than usual?
We do know one thing: Leyland is a man of his word. “I’m a law-abiding citizen, so it’s just the way it is.” Good luck, Jim.