Tigers manager and his priest brother both shepherd winning 'teams'
By Kristin Lukowski, Catholic News Service
DETROIT, Mich., Oct. 19, 2006 (www.catholic.org) - There are many ways in which managing a baseball team is similar to managing a parish, said Father Thomas J. Leyland, brother of Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
In a sense, they are both shepherds to their "team," with Father Leyland's team being an active parish with 8,000 parishioners and a school and Jim Leyland's team being the Tigers, who beat the New York Yankees and were battling the Oakland (Calif.) Athletics in the American League Championship Series.
In either role, the leader must affirm people, encourage them to do their best, encourage them to work as a team toward a common goal – all while keeping the teammates' different personalities in mind. Also, Father Leyland said, it's important to keep in mind where your team is going, and what its vision is.
Father Leyland has been pastor at St. Rose Parish in Perrysburg, Ohio, just south of Toledo, Ohio, for more than seven years. It is the parish in which he and his family, including his six siblings, grew up. He disagrees with the idea that he has a harder job than his brother, considering the number of people they shepherd. Jim Leyland has to deal with media exposure, Father Leyland reasons.
Although sports has become a kind of religion to people, especially considering that sports keeps some people away from Sunday Mass, sports also has positive aspects, such as bringing people together, he said.