Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hey, I've Got a Great Solution to the Problem, Let's Yell at It!

I don't know who of you out there has been following the Chicago Cubs lately, but if you haven't, let me bring you up to speed. Their record is 18-1932, their batting average is -.432, and their team ERA is 3.87. Yup. Pretty good pitching. But anyway, who cares about the logistics. We need a solution! Dan McNeil just got promoted to having his own 4-hour long talk show on the radio in Chicago, and he has the answer: yelling! Take it away, Danny Mac!

We need a new Lou. This one won't do. Lou Piniella just isn't selling the Zen thing. Not to me or to anybody else. Most important, the 25 athletes under his stewardship don't appear to be processing his messages.

Lou Piniella: Hey Soriano, quit swinging at pitches in the dirt!

Alfonso Soriano: ::strikes out by swinging at ball four low::

Lou Piniella: Hey Theriot, quit swinging for the fences and slap it to right, like the good ol' days!

Ryan Theriot: ::swings as hard as he can and pops it up to the pitcher::

Derrek Lee: ::takes strike one::

Lou Piniella: ::Runs out of the dugout screaming to argue the call, now is kicking dirt and peeing on home plate simultaneously:: YOU PIECE OF $#@( what kind of #(@#ing #!#$ $#@! #$@* #$*( #$*$ing (percent sign) #@$! Barbara Streissand's #$@$@!!!!

Jake Fox: Hey, Lou's getting pissed off! I'm energized!

Geovany Soto: Hey boys, we've got this shit!

Cubs Players in unison: HUZZAH!

::Cubs win game 131-4::

And that's how it all went down.

I'm pleased when anybody reads anything, even a cocktail napkin,

You have very low standards.

but those books Piniella said he read last offseason should have been saved for Phil Jackson. He wears a satin robe better.

Joe Torre didn't singlehandedly win all those AL East titles by acting all calm, that's for damn sure.

Try as Piniella might to convince the world he's walking on rice paper without leaving a trace, he always has been most comfortable near the edge. Or completely over it. That's who he is.

Factors in winning a Major League Baseball division, in order of importance.

1) Manager comfortability
2) Yelling
3) Being in the four-teamed AL West
4) Removing bases from their proper locations
5) Runs scored

Unearthing bases. Kicking dirt. Spitting. Scratching. Fighting one of his own players, as he did in Cincinnati with the behemoth-sized Rob Dibble.

6) Fighting Rob Dibble

None of those outlandish behaviors will solve the Cubs' most urgent problems,

At least you admit this.

but when a historically fiery manager ceases to breathe fire, then you have a brand new problem to tack onto the list: resignation.

Or worse: a manager that doesn't instantly verbalize everything he thinks in a hyperpassionate matter. That fucks over the media hardcore.

We want to know you're still in there, Lou. C'mon, Lou.

You know Soto the Pothead is starting to turn things around......maybe you should cheer for him? He actually plays baseb-....ah hell. C'mon Lou.

Time for Piniella to take one of his struggling bullpen arms over the fence, the way the Tigers' Ryan Raburn did Tuesday night, to beat Kevin Gregg in the bottom of the ninth.

The play on words here was just simply effortless.

As Piniella awakens to a call to action, perhaps it also alerts general manager Jim Hendry to a problem on which he may want to act. Who's this team's closer if it's not going to be Gregg, who has blown three saves and is averaging more than 20 pitches per inning?

Good Danny. This is baseball. This is definitely something worth talking about. Maybe we should elaborate on this. Maybe talk about some possible solutions to the problem.

The more cerebral Lou can spare embarrassing Gregg with critical words. Just give him the ball in garbage time at the next opportunity. Actions speak louder than words.

Danny Mac's solution: Embarrass Kevin Gregg.

The original ''Plan B'' was Carlos Marmol, but he also has underwhelmed. I'm all for seeing Piniella wave Marmol in for mop-up duty, too, if there aren't more performances like Tuesday's, when he whiffed three of the four Detroit hitters he faced.

Alright so the nominal two best relievers on the Cubs are pitching with the team 5 runs down in the 4th inning. Danny Mac, you deserved every bit of that promotion.

We need more actions, those like Monday night when Piniella benched Alfonso Soriano for the Cubs' one-night stand in Atlanta. Good. Soriano needed it.

If this was a routine rest day (I don't know for sure), this is very funny.

Next move is to hit him fifth or sixth in the order.

Agreed. Every Cub fan in the universe knows this should have happened 2 years ago.

Of Piniella's regulars, only veterans Derrek Lee and Ryan Theriot have proven reliable. They are the only Cubs position players who should be an automatic when Piniella pencils in his daily lineup.

Kosuke Fukudome: .279 EqA
Milton Bradley: .263 EqA
Ryan Theriot: .263 EqA
Reed Johhhhnson: .269 EqA
Micah Hoffpauir: .262 EqA

You heard the man. Theriot's your lock to play every day. None of those other guys quite stack up.

Without acting, Piniella is running the dangerous risk of creating the impression he's losing interest. I couldn't believe it when he didn't want to talk about his team's habitual struggle to not capitalize on scoring opportunities the other night.

I can't believe that either, man! When your team is hitting .011 on the season with RISP and this is happening pretty much every other game, I can't imagine why Lou wouldn't want to talk to the media about it!

Maybe it's time for the guy to talk about going fishing.


Maybe he should go fishing.


I'm not encouraging Piniella to barbeque his players publicly. It won't mean squat if he rips one of his guys, unloads on an umpire or kicks Roger Bossard's majestic granules of sand all over Bridgeport this weekend.

This pretty much is the opposite of everything you've said thus far.

Nobody is asking for the postgame spread to be hurled against the wall of the clubhouse. Nothing contrived or falsely manufactured is necessary.

It's gotta come from the HEART!!!

Just show us you're not going to lie down and take it. Use the pencil like a carving knife. Messages are delivered when they land right in the gut.

Send a message! Instead of those losers, start Andres Blanco and Aaron Miles every day! That'll show 'em you care about winning!

Find new roles for those not handling their current ones. Keep shakin' up that lineup card and that bullpen. An untrustworthy pen has cost many managers their jobs.

Neal Cotts, you are now the closer for the Chicago Cubs.

So has indifference.

Alright Danny Mac, I've been pretty sarcastic this entire time, so let me level with you. It isn't that Lou doesn't give a shit. It's that unlike you, he understands that throwing an angry hissy fit isn't going to make professional baseball players play better. And if he doesn't otherwise feel like it, he won't do it. You stink.

I'm off to Hawaii, bitches!!!


RWP said...

So lets see here. Lets go through my checklist of "Crappy Articles Written About Managers/Coaches"

1. Infers managers have a more than minor impact on the game.

2. Infers that manager with style X is much better than manager with style Y.

3. States that a scrawny, powerless white IF is an average to above average baseball player.

4. Completely ignores key injury to all-star caliber player (Ramirez).

5. Written by: hat guy, Mariotti, Plashke, Peter King or anyone at ESPN.

6. Blames manager for having terrible players on the team.

7. Ignores real problem in favor of vodooesqque (thanks spellcheck!) short term solution.

8. Makes reference to food, irrelevant pop culture or other non-related items.

9. Cherry picks stats or anecdotal evidence to prove loosely correlated point.

10. Offers no real solution other than do it some way that is different than now.

Well sadly this isn't a perfect 10/10 on my scale, but it's at least got 8 of them.

One final point. I think that if VORM (Value Over Replacement Manager) were to be calculated it might span from -0.5 to 0.5. Anyone who watches more than 10 minutes of baseball can pretty much set a lineup and determine when pitchers need to be pulled. The only difference between Tony LaRussa and myself: I can't give Albert Pujols any tips on how to hit. Oh, that and the drunk driving thing.

Looking back at the past 11 years of WS matchups, the list of managers:

Manuel vs. Maddon
Francona vs. Hurdle
LaRussa vs. Leyland
Blizzard vs. Garner
Francona vs. LaRussa
McKeon vs. Torre
Scioscia vs. Baker
Torre vs. Brenly
Torre vs. Valentine
Torre vs. Cox
Torre vs. Bochy

Well I see 4 guys known for being 'fiery' making 5 appearances total and 10 managers known for being the more quiet type making 16 appearances.

I also see roughly 22 teams on that list that ranged from good to so good the owner couldn't afford to keep any of the players.

Saying Piniella changing his style will affect the Cubs' play is like saying that wearing a blue shirt instead of a white one to work will impact my company's stock price.

Jeff said...

If I were Dan's boss at the Chicago Sun-Times...I'd storm into his office, knock everything off his desk and tell him how much he sucks. Then say "hey, I'm just write better".

cs said...

Jeff - lol

All these guys have that old-school romanticized image of the grisled WWII Captain, chewing on s cigar, stomping up and down the line, yelling at his men, cursing the Japs, grabbing the yellow-bellied radio op, slapping him and calling him a sissy - causing a big ruckus to rally the troops for the big push into the jungle.

Lou's just a manager of s baseball team. Sure its fun to se him flip out, but come on.

Chris W said...

The "hotheaded" manager is pretty much irrelevant in these days where the players are capable of physically destroying any manager, where the manager couldn't pick a fistfight with a player if he wanted to, where the manager makes 1/10th what his stars make, where the manager has very little power to bench legitimate stars, etc.

Back in the day Ralph Houk could say "If you don't like what I say I'll take you out back and straighten you out." Look how well that worked out for Gibbons in TOR.

What's the point of an angry rant when there's no menace to back it up? No point.

rich said...
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rich said...

Is there any way to have Bill Simmons draft diary get ripped to shreds on this site?

Some highlights (sorry about the length of this comment, but it covers the first HOUR of his diary):

"That's the problem with this year's draft class -- too many "Terminator 3" Blu-Rays, only everyone else is so bad, you start talking yourself into them."

Yet, a little later: "Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is going to regret not being more excited about Ricky Rubio on June 25, 2009."

So the draft class is filled with guys that look good because everyone is so bad, but Ricky Rubio has "once-in-a-generation" passing skills and no mention that he may only look that good because this year's PG crop is kind of thin (they all seem to be the same player) and he you know, played against inferior competition .

This is why I think ESPN should make Bill Simmons a GM. Because he would suck at it, the team would be terrible and maybe, just maybe, this douchenozzel would learn some humility. He's the guy that at almost 40 (I know this because he puts his age in the article) he still refuses to believe that he can be wrong. He's the jackass starts statements "I think..." and ends them with "...and no one can convince me otherwise."

"'I'm not worried about what's happened in the past,' Griffin tells Mark Jones. 'I'm only looking forward toward the future.' Isn't that what Mark McGwire said during the congressional hearings? Not a good omen."

Yes, because Blake Griffin and Mark McGwire are the same person. Wait, Griffin wants to talk about the future because he wasn't involved in the past and he can only impact the future? What an asshat.

"Jackson tells us the Grizzlies 'are a team, to me, that needs talent.' I agree. I was just going to say that. By the way, I'm excited for 'Thabeet over Rubio' to become the new 'Darko over Carmelo.'"

Again Simmons points out the obvious. He's an expert because he and Marc Jackson now a team that finished with an atrocious record may need talent. That and wasn't Darko over Carmelo stupid because Carmelo was a pretty well known quantity and Darko was a goofy guy from Europe who no one really knew too much about? So he's hoping a team drafting a known quantity over an unknown becomes the new drafting an unknown over a known quantity.

"The Grizz take Thabeet. Of course they do."

Bill then makes a prediction that Thabeet will basically suck. Today, I learned Bill Simmons is omniscient.

"That's followed by Thabeet's getting the ESPN graphic, 'Must Improve: Offensive Game.' Somewhere, Darko Milicic is screaming, 'I'm off the hook! I'm off the hook!'"

Okay, because no 22 year year old kid has ever or will ever improve his game. In fact, I heard that Dwight Howard sucks because he doesn't have a consistent low-post move and he's clearly too old to learn one. Wait, didn't a guy with "no offensive game" take his team to the NBA finals? Bill doesn't believe defense is played at all in the NBA. He just wants to see the offense, real student of the game.

That covers his insightful analysis of the FIRST TWO PICKS. The rest of it is just as awful (he says that Russell Westbrook is one of his favorite college players, but says that Jrue Holliday's stats are a 'red flag') lists how OKC has about 15 of his "favorite" things and says that if they drafted Curry or Rubio he would start rooting for them, but since they didn't he no longer has the urge to do so.

I'll end with this: after saying that Rubio has "Magic-Bird-Nash-Maravich" genes (forgetting that you can't be a once in a generation passer if there's already a guy better already playing) by criticizing Tyreke Evans:

"Bilas loves the pick but says, 'He's a little bit ball-dominant, he needs to have the ball in his hands, and he's not a good shooter.' Ball-dominant … isn't that a nice way of calling someone a ball hog? Where is my Jay Bilas Thesaurus?"

Bill...isn't that the same goddamn thing that people have been saying about Ricky Rubio? Where is my moron to English dictionary.

Jeff said...

CS I agree with your point that we need more managers cursing out the Japs.

Rich - I'm 95% sure he's making fun of Mark Jackson there. I agree on your point of how you can't compare Darko/Carmelo to Rubio at all. Carmelo was a sure thing. Darko was a mystery.

Alex said...

Jeff. Funny. About the managing analogy.

Well, nothing beats a fiery coach in hockey - especially when they're French-Canadian like Michel Therrien. Who can ever forget his "they soff like I never see soff players" rant a couple of years back? What about John fricken Tortarella? Pierre Page a few years back was a nut case.

Here are some all-time classics: Throwing sticks on the ice, making throat slashing gestures with your hands and standing on the bench yelling like an opera singer.

I'm still waiting for a coach to grab the mic one day and perform a soliloquy brought to its dramatic conclusion with the slashing of the wrists with a skate.

Now that would be reality stuff where life crosses over and imitates art. Or is it the other way around?