It Was Time for Piniella to Call it Quits

On Tuesday, word leaked that Chicago Cubs skipper Lou Piniella would be retiring at the end of the 2010 season.  Piniella said that he made this decision at this point in the season so that GM Jim Hendry would have ample time to find his replacement. I say it’s about time.

Piniella’s four years in Chicago have been interesting to say the least. In his time with the Cubs he led them to back-to-back NL Central titles in 2007 and 2008. Whether it was the pressure of the playoffs, bad managing, or the mythical goat curse on the Cubs, they failed to win a postseason series. They had a disappointing 2009 season and presently sit 10.5 games out of first place and 10 games under .500. I think it’s fair to say that Sweet Lou stopped managing a while ago.

I don’t blame him. I would be frustrated too. The Cubs have a very talented roster and have even had some surprises this year with the success of Carlos Silva and the performances by rookies Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin, yet they can’t seem to put the puzzle together. Fans are frustrated, players are frustrated, and obviously Piniella is just tired of watching the boys in blue and white go out and stink day after day.

Piniella is going to be 67 years old — he doesn’t need to watch this anymore. Like I said, I don’t think he’s been contributing much this season anyways. Now the real job will be for Hendry to go out and find someone who can shine a light on the Northside of Chicago and give the Cubs at least a shot a winning something.

Piniella to Retire as Cubs Manager [ESPN Chicago]

MLB’s New Strasburg Ad Is Just Stupid

Oh, MLB. You never cease to amaze me. And you didn’t disappoint with your new ad featuring Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The new ad shows clips of MLB greats Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan. You know, three pitching legends. Then after we are graced with a glimpse into history, we see Strasburg standing on the mound. Um, what?

Check out the video of MLB’s Stephen Strasburg commercial courtesy of Capital City Goofballs via Deadspin:

The kid is a phenomenon. I’m not denying that. He is extremely talented and I’m not saying that he won’t, with time, rank among the big three. But he has only pitched seven games at the major league level. Are you telling me that he already a first ballot Hall of Fame candidate?  I told you a couple weeks ago why I didn’t think he deserved to make the All-Star Game (which thank goodness he didn’t), and I can tell you right now that he does not deserve this commercial.

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Why LeBron Is No Longer “The King”

For most of his career, LeBron James has been referred to as “King James.” Well, I don’t want to hear that anymore. I’m not bitter about the fact that he won’t be wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey — it was a far-fetched dream anyways. But I’ll give you some reasons why he is no longer basketball royalty in my books:

1. Head Games: Granted, LeBron isn’t the only one who played head games with everyone during this free agency period, (Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are just as guilty) but it was all completely ridiculous. I mean seriously, what a crappy way to announce your decision. LeBron set things up in Greenwich, Connecticut about 10 minutes away from the New York Knicks training facilities. He also requested an address change for a branch of his company from Cleveland to Chicago, and I’m sure there’s more but my head still hurts with anger. If you’re leaving, fine. Leave. Don’t be such a diva about it.

2. The “Decision”: Again, I was stricken with anger when I heard about this hour long special that ESPN hosted for LeBron. Please tell me why that was necessary? Everyone was already hanging on your every word to begin with. And don’t give me the whole “it was for charity” crap because he’s so rich he could have given them just as much money while avoiding the spectacle and it wouldn’t have impacted his bank accounts at all.

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Cleveland Paper Has Bitter Front Page

The news of  Lebron James’ decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and head for the Miami Heat is still fresh in the minds of every sports fan–especially if you live in Cleveland. The front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Friday morning shows just how bitter the fans and people of Cleveland are about James’ decision.

Pay close attention to the little arrow pointing to James’ hand. I don’t blame the people of Cleveland for being bitter, although Dan Gilbert could have handled it a little better. One of the best things about their city just decided to publicly humiliate them and leave for sunny South Beach. Of course they’re upset. Check out the cover of the Cleveland Plain Dealer the day LeBron announced he was leaving:

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Brees Gets Personal in His New Book

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is coming off a Super Bowl win and spent part of his offseason writing a book. The book is called Coming Back Stronger and it takes readers through Brees’ career from high school to the NFL. In the book, Brees talks about his career-threatening shoulder injury from 2005 and bring us to the present day where he led the Saints to a Super Bowl victory. All in all, it gives the reader a personal insight into the life of not only Drew Brees the superstar athlete, but also Drew Brees the person.

Brees faced a difficult situation when his mother committed suicide in August 2009. In the book, Brees ponders whether he could helped to prevent the death. He devoted an entire chapter to her in hopes that others who have lost someone can gain some insight from his thoughts:

“I felt like it was very appropriate because I feel like so many people deal with that, be it the relationship with a parent or death of a loved one, whatever it might be. I wanted to address it in a way that was very sensitive to my family but also very truthful, hoping that if somebody else has gone through that, or not gotten over it, or is not sure how to handle a situation like that. Maybe this can help.”

Kudos, Mr. Brees. It’s not easy to talk about your feelings to anyone, let alone the entire world. Not only that but talking about something as difficult as the loss of your mother could not have been an easy thing to write about. I already respected Drew Brees as an athlete, and now he has gained even more respect from me for just being a genuinely good person. It’s refreshing to see that some NFL players aren’t just focused on making dumb decisions and that they can use their fame to reach out to people.

Brees Opens Up in New Memoir [AP/ESPN]

Prospective Teams Got Played by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh

For the last six days, fans in New York, Chicago, Miami, Cleveland, New Jersey and other areas have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the decisions of three men — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James has kept his silence pretty much since the Cleveland Cavaliers were knocked out of the playoffs, but Bosh and Wade have been anything but quiet.

Twitter was their medium of choice, as both used the social media to update the world regarding their free agency meetings. The duo both made comments about how choosing their new team wouldn’t be easy, but now it kind of feels like they had their minds set up on playing together a while ago.

Even on Wednesday morning Bosh wrote the following on his Twitter page: “What’s all the fuss about this morning? I woke up to a ton of emails, texts and missed calls.”

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Chicago Challenges LeBron James to Play for Bulls

It’s only been five days since the NBA’s free agency period began and I’m already pretty tired of hearing about it. The one thing that did get my attention this weekend was the “challenge” that was dished out to LeBron James.  In short, he was being asked to step out of Michael Jordan‘s shadow and cast a bigger one upon the city of Chicago. It was the work of a Chicago based ad agency called Leo Burnett Worldwide that obviously wants LeBron in a Chicago Bulls jersey. They presented their challenge with a series of four items sent to LeBron beginning on Monday last week and ending on Thursday, the first day of free agency.

On Thursday, a two page ad ran in the Akron Beacon Journal, LBJ’s hometown paper, with a question addressed to him. It was a picture of the Chicago skyline with a very familiar shadow cast over it. The shadow looked like Chicago’s most famous superstar — Michael Jordan, of course. It said “LeBron, the fans of Chicago have a question for you. Can you cast a shadow this big?”  Personally, I think that’s awesome. It’s telling LeBron that yes, you would be coming to the city where thee greatest player ever spent most of his career and that you shouldn’t be afraid of his shadow. But that wasn’t all that LeBron got.

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