Did Van Slyke's Tigers Tell-All Get Him Fired In 2009?

Former Tigers first base coach Andy Van Slyke has a new book coming out, a novel about a first-place Cubs team making a playoff run. But it's Van Slyke's previous writing effort, a nonfiction account of the Tigers' 2008 season, that may have given him time to write in the first place.

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If you didn't know about it -- and as far as I can tell, it was scarcely promoted in the metro Detroit area -- Van Slyke and the Oakland Press' Jim Hawkins collaborated on a diary of the Tigers' 2008 season called Tigers Confidential. You might remember how much was expected of that team, with the additions of Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria. Many thought that was a World Series team. Obviously, so did Triumph Books, who commissioned the book.

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Of course, things didn't work out so well. The Tigers started 0-7 on their way to a 74-88 last-place finish. But Van Slyke and Hawkins still had a book to write, and apparently Van Slyke was a little too honest about the failings of that season. At least as far as Dave Dombrowski was concerned.

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Here's what Van Slyke told Baseball Prospectus's Bob Hertzel:

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"He wasn’t happy I didn’t ask his permission,” Van Slyke said. “I didn’t think I needed permission. I’m trying to write about our season, which, of course, was terrible. I did a good job of painting it better than it actually happened.”

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Did this factor into Van Slyke "pursuing other opportunities" after the 2009 season? Maybe, maybe not. Neither he nor the Tigers ever clarified whether there was a firing or resignation. But it provides a possible explanation that was strangely lacking in October of 2009.

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