DETROIT—Friends and associates of the American League manager say that, even though Jim Leyland had never rooted for the Detroit Tigers prior to this season, he "suddenly began following the team" once they started winning in early April. "In all the years I've known Jim, I don't think I have once heard him mention anything about the Tigers, but now that they're good again, he's walking around in a Tigers cap every day," said Roger Lussier, a longtime friend who noted that Leyland is not from Detroit and didn't even know who Mike Maroth was before he started the year 4-1. "Now he tells me he 'truly believes' Jeremy Bonderman is one of the best pitchers in baseball. He's such a fair-weather guy—I specifically remember him being a huge Florida Marlins fan back when they won the World Series in '97." Lussier predicted that, should the 20-13 Tigers return to form and begin to slide toward the bottom of the division, Leyland would quickly lose interest in the team.
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