LEYLAND, TIRED OF WORLD SERIES CRITICISM, LASHES OUT
In a "rare outburst of anger and candor," Marlins
Manager Jim Leyland "lashed out at critics" of the '97 World
Series, according to Dan Shaughnessy of the BOSTON GLOBE.
Leyland "seemed to be directing some of his anger" at Acting
Commissioner Bud Selig, who criticized the quality and pace
of play during the first few games. Leyland: "I'm sick and
tired of hearing about New York and Atlanta and Baltimore.
We won it. We are the teams that are supposed to be here,
and it makes me puke when I continue to hear people talking
about the Marlins and the Indians." More Leyland: "This
game has a hell of a lot more problems than the (expletive)
TV ratings" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/24). Leyland added that MLB
should start its World Series games earlier: "[I]n my
opinion, we contradict ourselves a lot in baseball. We're
trying to get the youth involved, for God sakes. Most youth
are sleeping by 9 o'clock, and more importantly, so is the
guy that works from 7 o'clock to 4 or 5 in the afternoon.
The blue-collar guy is tired. ... The ratings of this World
Series (are) not very high on the list of problems we've got
with baseball" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/24).
REAX: In Washington, Thomas Boswell noted both the
comments of Selig and Leyland: "Is baseball finally coming
out of its denial phase? This may end up being the worst-
played, least watched World Series in history. But it also
could be a watershed in candor. For the first time,
baseball is admitting publicly the depth and number of its
problems" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/24). In Philadelphia, Bill
Conlin called Leyland's remarks "one of the great bursts of
compulsive truth-telling ever heard in a sport in which
lying is an accepted art" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/24).
In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes Leyland spoke "honestly, and
from the heart, without editing himself. ... His rant turned
out to be better than these games, and moved along much
quicker" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/24). Also in N.Y., Tom Keegan
called Leyland's remarks "refreshing" (N.Y. POST, 10/24).
RATINGS: Reaction continued to the Series' low ratings.
NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay writes the "big reason" for the
interest drop "is that we're seeing the continuing residue
from the bitter strike" and cancelled Series of '94. Zipay:
"The casual viewer left and never came back. Simple as
that" (NEWSDAY, 10/24). In Toronto, Stephen Brunt writes
the Series "has to win an audience anew each and every year.
And all of the things that wouldn't have mattered so much
when it was a cultural institution -- the late start times,
the long games, the bad play, the lack of entertainment
value -- matter a great deal" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/24).
An editorial in today's PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: "Wake up,
baseball. Move up the starting times and speed up the
games" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/24).
ROUND-UP: In NC, Caulton Tudor writes the '97 Series is
"yet another reminder of the sport's mortality." Tudor:
"Once entrenched as the national pastime, baseball has
become a rebel without a cause, clue, compass or conscience"
(Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/24). But in Philadelphia,
Jayson Stark writes, "In the '90s, life is different and the
World Series are different. Too bad some folks just haven't
figured that out yet" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/24).