OAKLAND -- In the heat of the moment, in the joy and adrenaline rush of a four-out save that preserved the Tigers' Game 1 win over Oakland in Game 1 of the American League Division Series Friday night, Detroit closer Joaquin Benoit let his emotions get the better of him.
"I feel like we're on the verge of the World Series again," he said.
In the bright light of day Saturday, he realized how that sounded, how it could be taken as bulletin-board fodder for the Athletics, how it was premature, at the very least. So as he walked through the visitor's dugout at O.co Coliseum before Game 2, he paused long enough to explain what he meant as opposed to what he said.
"The message was taken the wrong way. We went to the World Series last year. What I was trying to say was that this is the feeling we would like to have, and [if we do], we can go back to the World Series," he elaborated. "It's really tough when you're trying to say something and it gets taken the wrong way. If it was taken the wrong way, I apologize. I didn't mean to say that we're going to go to the World Series. There's a lot of baseball to be played."
By then, the comment had already gotten the attention of old-school Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who, predictably, loved the can-do attitude but would have preferred that Benoit hadn't said it out loud for the whole world to hear.
"I always tell my players that, you know what, in these situations, because of the national media attention, it's probably best to say less. The less said is probably better. Sure, I like a confident team. I don't know that you need to go on stage and talk about it, but I like a team that's confident and I think you show that by the way you play.
"I don't expect that we are any more confident than the Oakland A's, so I don't like to hear any teams talk about it too much. I just like to watch 'em go out and play, and they usually show their energy and confidence and everything by the way they play. If guys want to talk about it, that's fine, more power to 'em. They're grown men. I don't tell anybody what to say and or not to say. I don't give advice, but I do say there is no sense in fueling fires. We don't need to do that. We just need to go play."
Benoit was asked if he thought he needed to speak to Leyland to clear the air.
"I already heard about it," he said with a small smile. "I already clarified it with him."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.