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Lou Piniella: Blue Jays raped the Marlins in blockbuster trade over the winter

Lou-PiniellaRetired MLB manager Lou Piniella signed a deal to work as a commentator for the YES Network this year. The regular season has yet to begin, but on Wednesday we got a taste of why someone who is a little rough around the edges like Piniella may be better off in the dugout than the broadcaster’s booth.

During the third inning of a spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the subject of how much the Toronto Blue Jays improved over the offseason came up. Like most of us, Piniella feels that the Blue Jays got the best of the blockbuster deal that brought them Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. Lou just needs to learn how to appropriately express himself.

“Well they just, I don’t want to use the word ‘raped,’ but they basically took a lot of talent from the Miami Marlins,” Piniella said. “Toronto will probably be picked to win the (AL East) by a lot of people.”

Yikes. It was smart of Piniella to not want to use the word “raped,” but the not using it part is more important than the thought itself. If “Talladega Nights” taught us anything, it’s that you can’t just whatever you want simply because you lead into by saying “with all due respect.”

We love you, Lou. We loved your managing style and your uncanny ability to fly off the handle. But the next time your instinct tells you not to say something, it’s probably best to just bite your tongue.

For audio of Piniella’s slip-up, click here.

Lou Piniella’s Tearful Farewell Speech

Whether your last name is Holtz, Brown, or Piniella, there’s something about guys with the first name Lou — they’re all hard as nails coaches. With that in mind — not to mention his 60+ ejections — it was a surprise to see Cubs manager Lou Piniella get as emotional as he did during his farewell speech at Wrigley Field. Piniella had already announced he would retire at the end of the year, but he decided to step away after Sunday’s game to be with his ailing mother. Knowing this would be his last game as an MLB manager, Piniella became emotional. Here’s a video of Lou Piniella crying while announcing his retirement:

Perhaps in fitting Cubs form, the team got crushed 16-5 Sunday. While Piniella may be remembered for greatness and winning a World Series with the Reds, two poor managerial decisions with the Cubs stand out to me. Both occurred in the playoffs, one in 2007 and the other in 2008. Chicago’s 2008 team was by far the best in the NL and should have gone to the World Series. Piniella could have done more with his teams both years and mismanaged things. Other than those moves and the Carlos Zambrano fights, he did a great job with the Cubbies.

Video Credit: YouTube user gaabeo

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.

Sources:
Piniella to Retire as Cubs Manager [ESPN Chicago]

Lou Piniella Is Right: Cubs Need to Live Up to Their Salaries

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella vented his frustration on Sunday by saying that team needs to start winning games and earning their big salaries. He couldn’t be more right. The Cubs have some pretty big names on their roster like Carlos Zambrano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Zambrano used to be praised by Cubs fans and considered to be the team’s ace. That all changed when Zambrano struggled and was sent to the bullpen to make room for Ted Lilly.  Zambrano was not living up to his pricey contract and even though setup men are not usually worth the type of money he makes, so far the move has worked out pretty well. As far as Lee and Ramirez go, they each have struggled mightily at the plate. Piniella wants his guys to play like the players they were when they earned their big contracts:

“They’ve had great seasons, and they’re rewarded for that financially. But at the same time, you’ve got to continue to do it if you want to win. You can’t stop the production.”

I agree with the skipper. When he arrived in Chicago, he was percieved as the one who would lead the Cubs to a place they haven’t been in over a century — the World Series. Now in his fourth year with the club, Lou’s failed to bring them past the NLDS. He’s right to be angry with his players; they were swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates just a week ago and lost two of three to Pittsburgh this past weekend. With the third highest payroll in MLB, they should be much better than 17-22. At least the Cubs have some hope in young shortstop Starlin Castroand other players like Marlon Byrd who have really stepped up. I don’t know how to fix the players’ production problems, but I’m never against sending them to Triple-A to humble them a bit.

Sources:
Piniella Addresses Cubs Struggles [AP/ESPN]

Rod Blagojevich Shared Batting Lineup Advice with Lou Piniella

I’m pretty sure the cartoon above reads “That SOB is Lou Piniella. He’s the Rod Blagoyevich of Major League Baseball.” As the Chicago Tribune shares, Blagoyevich sent a note to Piniella after seeing it when it ran two years ago. The note, pictured above, reads:

Dear Lou,
I saw this in this morning’s Sun-Times. What a great compliment to me.

P.S. Have you thought about batting Soriano third, Lee fourth and Ramirez fifth?

As if having all of sports talk radio, half the newspapers, and the thousands of Bleacher Bums criticize your every move wasn’t enough, Piniella had to get it from the corrupt governor. Makes you wonder how much Obama’s going to be in Kenny Williams’ ear regarding White Sox transactions. If the Cubs had ever run an auction to “manage the Cubs for a day” I now have no doubt who would have won the bidding.

Lou Piniella Screwed Up Yet Again; Mismanaged Playoff Rotation

Last year at this time I was criticizing Cubs manager Lou Piniella for his decision to yank Carlos Zambrano after six innings in Game 1 of the NLDS with the score tied 1-1, while Arizona elected to stick with ace Brandon Webb for another inning. At the time I criticized Piniella before the series ended, saying he was wrong for getting ahead of himself; he wanted Zambrano to be rested for Game 4, forgetting you must win a game in order to get to Game 4. Well, it struck me that the same mentality in this year’s playoffs doomed the Cubs yet again. It all would have been worked out had they listened to me last year when I said such a move was a fireable offense.

Anyway, Piniella ordered his rotation for the NLDS against the Dodgers to go Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, and Rich Harden. Now I’m not about to blame Piniella for his team booting the ball around the infield and not hitting for a few games, but I will blame him for not throwing his top two aces in games 1 and 2. To me, it is ABSOLUTELY INEXCUSABLE to not throw Carlos Zambrano in Game 1 of a playoff series if you’re the Cubs. Plain and simple, end of story, no questions asked — you ALWAYS throw your ace in Game 1 of a playoff series whenever possible (and it was possible). Secondly, if your number two pitcher happens to be Rich Harden, who is filthier than Zambrano but just not as much of a “Cub” as Big Z, you have to throw him in Game 2. No questions asked once again. I don’t care how amazing Ryan Dempster was this year, I don’t care what his home splits were at Wrigley Field. If you have Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden in your rotation, you throw them in Games 1 and 2 of the playoffs respectively, unless your three other starters happen to be named Josh Beckett, Johan Santana, and Tim Lincecum. Last time I checked Lou’s other options were Dempster, Lilly, and Marquis.

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What the **** Was Lou Thinking?

Let me go on record here: before the home run ball was served up, I was vehemently questioning why Lou Piniella, in the middle of a complete pitcher’s duel, screwed with the rhythm of the game and yanked his starter. I just couldn’t believe what he’d done. It was completely beyond me. There is no possible logic that justifies his decision. And for his stupidity, the Cubs could have to pay.

Even if they move on, I won’t forget this call. They will have had to play longer in this series because of that poor decision. You simply cannot be thinking about Game 4 in a best of 5 series. That is just faulty logic. Thinking about Game 4 in the middle of Game 1 leaves you with your pants down, your pucker exposed for the opposing team to take aim with penetration. And that’s exactly what the Diamondbacks did. Beating Brandon Webb could have ended the series right there. After that, who does Arizona throw, Doug Davis? Livan Hernandez? Micah Owings? Hardly an intimidating group. Taking out Brandon Webb would have all but squashed Arizona’s chances, and it should have been to priority for the Cubs. You really telling me Lilly and Hill can’t beat Livan and Davis? Please. Lou grossly mismanaged the situation, to the point that it makes me sick.

Should the Cubs lose this series, I would consider Lou’s move nothing less than a fireable offense. I cannot believe he made that dumb of a move.