Lee Elia's famous rant still makes Jim Leyland giggle, 30 years later
The 30th anniversary of former Cubs manager Lee Elia's legendary postgame rant was Monday, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland — who's uncorked a few doozies of his own in his time — was asked about it before Tuesday's game.
It didn't take much prompting for him to start laughing. [If you've never heard the rant, click here. Warning: NSFW, NC-17 language.]
"Oh, one of the greatest. One of the greatest I’ve ever heard. It was unbelievable. I mean, that’s Pulitzer Prize (stuff). Or whatever they say. Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize. Whatever the (heck) you guys get," Leyland said. "Absolutely beautiful.
"I have to admit, as a spectator, I thought it was spectacular."
That's not to say Leyland agreed with the sentiments in Elia's rant. Not at all. Just the fact that — as every manager has at some point in time — the Cubs skipper lost it in volcanic fashion.
"And I don’t mean that as an offense against any Cub fans. I’m just saying the thing itself was — I mean, I’ve heard all those. Somebody had a tape at one time or another of all of them: (Tommy) Lasorda’s, Elia’s, Earl Weaver’s, Frank Howard’s. You know, if you’re a manager, you can have a great appreciation for all those," Leyland said.
"I mean, I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it, but I can’t say I wasn’t laughing my (butt) off, because I was."
"I’m not going to do that, I can tell you that. Not like that.
"Believe or not — trust me when I tell you this — we don’t look for fights. But sometimes ..."
"Most of the time, you guys understand. You’re looking for news. You know if a manager’s agitated, so you agitate him along a little more, to try to see if you can get him stirred up, get something out of him. I don’t blame you. That’s your job.
"I try to avoid that, if I can."