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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jim Leyland on Tigers fans: 'The loyalty and the support has been unbelievable'

The Detroit Tigers have already announced that they'll pass the 3,000,000 fan plateau sometime in this final homestand of the season. They came into Friday night's game with official attendance of 2,781,222 through 74 home contests. 

Manager Jim Leyland appreciates the fans who have come out for the games, even if the Tigers have been disappointing. 

Here were his thoughts before Friday's game:

"I think it speaks for itself. These people have been unbelievable, the loyalty and the support has been unbelievable. It’ll be the third time since I’ve been here that they’ve reached 3 million. I’m happy to be a part of that," he said. "I’m not saying I have anything to do with it, but I’m happy to be a part of it. That’s a thrill. That’s a big number. That’s a big number when you’re talking about workmanlike people and the economy not so great, that’s a huge number, so they can be proud of themselves. That’s loyalty. 

"But we’ve talked about this. There’s no question that St. Louis and Detroit, pure baseball fans, have the best. That’s just my opinion, and I know you probably upset some other cities, but it’s unbelievable really. 

"I think that part of that is what Mr. Ilitch talks about. I think you’ve got a couple stars, three stars. I’m sure that has something to do with it. That’s not to downplay anybody else, because I don’t mean it that way. When you’ve got Verlander, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, that’s like having Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux and (Tom) Barrasso. I don’t know all the Red Wings or I would have said them. 

"I had an old pitching coach who you would remember, a lot of them probably don’t, John Gardzicki. He said that’s the only true description of a superstar. A superstar to him, the only superstar was when he played there was 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 extra people. That’s a superstar. That’s what was to him a superstar. That pretty much sums it up I think. 

"But that’s a fantastic number. That’s a big number and I can’t tell you how grateful we are for that. There’s no question about that."


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