1. Haith Speaks. Frank Haith sat down with Steve Walentik for a lengthy interview published in today's Trib.
Q: How pleased were you were able to get [Dave Leitao] this time?
A: I just kept trying to talk to him because we're so close, and I really wanted him here with me, and I think us working together would have been a tremendous combination. I tried last time, and it just didn't work. He wasn't ready at the time. He wanted to experience the NBA, trying to make a run at the NBA stuff, and he did. But the timing was right for him this time, and we're the beneficiaries of that.
Q: As far as familiarizing them with your players, how beneficial are new rules that allow coaches a limited opportunity to work with their players during the summer?
A: I think that's a blessing now with the new changes, that we do have the new rules that allow us to get to know each other. If we didn't have these rules in place, where we couldn't work with our guys in the summer time, it would probably delay that process. Now we have that time, and our kids are here for summer school. We're going on this trip to Europe. We can speed that process up and help in that regard, which I think is really, really important. I'm a relationship guy in terms of how we run our program. Our coaches getting to know our players. Our players getting to know our coaches. Seeing that trust and all that stuff, it's important. The only way that happens is you spend time with each other.
Q: With the Europe trip, is everything set as far as the itinerary and schedule?
A: We don't know games yet. We're going to try to get four to five games in 10 days, and we have our 10 days of practice prior to. I know we're starting in Amsterdam, we go to Belgium and then to France, Paris. In terms of specific times, we do have something. I don't know it off hand completely.
It's going to be a great trip because not only do we get to play games — and it's an Olympic year, too, so hopefully, the competition's pretty good — but the bonding. This is a team-building exercise for us, too. As you look at our team last year, that was a huge part of our success was our team-building in terms of developing trust, developing leadership.
Who are going to be our leaders? We'd like to think we know who those leaders are, as we did last year, because this was a team that was set. But that established after we had some time with them, and Kim English was the leader of that team last year. Well, who's that going to be this year? Is it going to be Laurence Bowers? Is it going to be Phil Pressey? Or could it be a guy like Keion Bell, who has a powerful voice with this team even though he's only been here a year and even though he didn't play? He has a strong personality. Or will it be collectively? But I would like to see somebody emerge in that role and take that on.
2. Awful News. As trripleplay shared last night, Max Scherzer's brother, a Mizzou MBA grad, died a couple of days ago. Here's what trrip had to say at Simmons Field, and here's a Detroit News article about how Max performed last night against Pittsburgh.
Alex Scherzer had a degree in economics, as well as a masters in business administration, each from the University of Missouri. He worked for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Much in the fashion of his brother, a business finance major broker when Max was at Missouri, Alex was known as a statistics wizard.
"It's hard to put into words what he's feeling," Avila said of Scherzer. "He's a tough guy, and we're all here for him. And he knows we're here for him."
Scherzer's exhaustion, emotional as well as physical, led him to decline interviews after Saturday's game.
The Tigers right-hander returned Thursday to his family's home outside St. Louis after receiving news of his brother's death. He rejoined the Tigers in time for Saturday's regularly scheduled start.
"Everyone knows he's dealing with real tough circumstances," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, speaking of Scherzer's personal burden as he took the mound Saturday. "But I'm not going to talk about that publicly. I don't think it's my place to do that."
Keep the Scherzer family in your thoughts.