Lifetime of smoking finally catches up with Tigers’ skipper

Tigers manager Jim Leyland was ejected by the home plate umpire during a loss to Boston earlier this month, though it wasn’t for arguing balls and strikes, as originally suspected.

“He told me I wasn’t allowed to smoke on the Comerica premises,” said Leyland. “When I explained to him that I wasn’t actually smoking, he bumped me and some of my ash fell on him. He threw me out and flicked me back into the dugout.”

Leyland, who has been smoking since he picked up the habit during Prohibition, has evolved into a Marlboro Red cigarette over the course of the season.

“I knew it was coming sooner or later,” Leyland said as he ashed his head into a nearby sink. “When my feet grew filters, I knew the rest of me would soon follow.”

Leyland, who is known to smoke in the dugout, on his way to the mound and when he thinks about baseball, said the transition has been bittersweet.

“I’ve set fire to several hotel pillows during the night,” Leyland said. “But, when you can simply light your own head on fire instead of paying $8 per pack, well, I’d have to say I’m adjusting pretty nicely to my new life as a tobacco product.”

From the June 2009 issue by Adam Williams