Tigers manager Jim Leyland, the cigarette king of America

Jim Leyland smoking cigarettes dugout
Tigers manager Jim Leyland rips butts during batting practice in the dugout at Kauffman Stadium earlier this year. Credit: Getty Images

I’ve long been of the belief that baseball should not try to market itself as hip. It should accentuate the positives, hide the negatives. The positive: baseball will always be the North American sports leader in nostalgia. Even though it doesn’t hit home with kids on the surface (games are too long, games are on too late, wooden bats and gloves are expensive etc.), by the time these kids are older, they’ll likely be nostalgic for something they didn’t even really like in the first place. Think Saved by the Bell or Frosted Mini-Wheats.

Baseball is just different and it needs to own that fact. It needs to corner the market in nostalgia and what triggers nostalgia more than smells?

The smell of freshly cut grass? Baseball’s got it. The smell of hot dogs and sausage fresh off the grill that reminds you of a more innocent time in America’s history, when hot dogs and sausage weren’t entirely thought of as a health hazard and immediate heart attack causer? Baseball’s got it. The smell of stale beer that reminds you of grinding with husky girls on the dance floor in the basement of a college frat house? Baseball’s got it.


Baseball’s also got Jim Leyland, the manager of the Detroit Tigers, whose team is currently playing the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. Leyland looks and smells like he smokes cigarettes in the dugout, frankly because he SMOKES CIGARETTES IN THE DUGOUT (see photo above). With America currently in love with cigarette nostalgia (Mad Men, anyone?), MLB should take advantage and market itself as the only sport where it’s acceptable to smoke cigarettes while watching, or hell, while playing (just kidding … sorta, kinda).

Leyland could be baseball’s modern day Marlboro Man, or at least its Joe Camel. His face could be plastered on every outfield wall in the majors, vaguely implying that baseball stadiums are a smoker’s friend. This won’t happen, of course, because of things like laws. There are no cigarette ads to be seen on TV, all cigarette machines have been removed from your favorite dive bar and most smoking sections at ballparks have been removed.

At Comerica Park in Detroit, smoking has been banned since May 1, 2010, but according to Detroit4lyfe.com, Leyland got in one last dig at progressive America. He smoked the last cigarette at the ballpark. Partially for nostalgic purposes, but mainly because he needed it to survive.

“I’ve got till 6 a.m.,” Leyland said the day before the ban went into effect. “It might be two cartons. I don’t know.”

Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…