e arrived on a double-decker Greyhound bus, craning his neck as it passed old Henley Field to catch sight of any ballplayers.

The year was 1964.

With the beginning of spring training Tuesday, Tigers' manager Jim Leyland began his 50th season in professional baseball.

There wasn't much new to the day: pitchers taking grounders, going through the time-tested routine of getting started.

"It went off without a hitch," Leyland said. "It was perfect. Everyone was in the right place."

But it was a milestone day all the same — taking into account then and now.

"There's no more '15 jumping jacks, play catch and let's go,'" Leyland said. "It doesn't work that way anymore. They do stuff that makes me hurt just watching them."

But when asked what else was different between the first day of spring training in 2013 and the first day in 1964, Leyland said it's almost entirely the same.

"I'm not a trick guy," Leyland said. "What are you going to do, come in and try to act smart with something brand new?

"No, we're going to work on stuff that happens in every single game. If we make every double play we're supposed to make, get every bunt down that we're supposed to get down and hit every cutoff man we're supposed to hit, we'll win a lot of games.

"That's the stuff which happens every day. I'm not a guy who wants to make camp more interesting by coming up with something crazy. I don't do that.

"Pitchers taking groundballs is done for a purpose — because pitchers don't handle the ball enough. It might not seem like much, but it is.

"I like sound, fundamental baseball."

Chances are the pursuit of fundamental baseball was what the Tigers were doing when Leyland arrived in Lakeland for the first time

"It's been a good ride," Leyland said of starting his 50th year, "but I'm still riding. Fifty years in the game isn't bad for a .222 minor-league hitter."



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130213/SPORTS0104/302130307#ixzz2Kn5029Uf