Showing posts with label lou piniella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lou piniella. Show all posts

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!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Again? Really?

I thought I'd seen the last of this crap when Mariotti left. But I forgot one important thing: Rick Sutcliffe still exists.

When you look back at the Cubs the year before Lou Piniella took over as manager, they lost 96 games.

That's true. The team had a .319 OBP. Juan Pierre logged 699 at-bats. .245/.271/.339 Ronny Cedeno had five hundred thirty-four. Derrek Lee, the best player on the team, was hurt a lot and only batted 175 times. 80 starts were made by a pitcher with an ERA 5.32 or higher. They were very, very bad.

Two years ago, Piniella's first year, I was in uniform with the Cubs during spring training. We had a four-run lead in a spring training game and a lot of the guys that were on the field weren't going to be part of the team by April, but most of the team was still there sitting on the bench. Next thing you know, we started kicking it around out there and we'd given up the lead. I'd never been in the dugout for one of Piniella's eruptions, but he got up and started going up and down the line saying, "That's those Cubbies that lost 96 games! Now it's all coming out. Now, I can see what they were talking about. Boys you can't win baseball games like this. You've got to pay attention! Is anybody paying attention?" In other words, he went off.

That's how you turn around a baseball team, all you managing hopeful! Make crazy gestures with your hands! Ask if people are paying attention a lot!

Even the coaches came up to me afterward and said "Now you know, man. That's Lou."

How inspiringly irrelevant.

But Piniella was making the point that if they were going to keep playing like that, they were going to have him all over them every day.

While he certainly knows how to motivate, it's Piniella's ability to evaluate that's helped this team evolve from 66-96 to where they are today.

The additions of Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Jim Edmonds, Reed Johnson, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto, Rich Harden, and ::gasp:: Jason Marquis had nothing to do with it, I'm sure.

This is the first time since 1908 that the Cubs have gone to the postseason in back-to-back seasons. If you had to just pick one person responsible for the transformation, it would have to be

Derrek Lee being healthy? Soto breaking out? Ryan Dempster putting together a stellar season out of nowhere? Carlos Marmol emerging as a force in the bullpen?



A couple of years ago, Piniella noticed Ryan Theriot starting to press a couple of weeks into spring training. Piniella took him aside and told him to relax, that he was coming to Chicago with him. When everyone was focusing on Theriot's limitations, saying he had a weak arm and no power, Piniella looked right at me and said that he knew Theriot was the kind of guy he could win with.

HAH! Those crazy suckers that thought Theriot had no power and no arm were.....exactly right.

Theriot is slugging .351. That's Scott Podsednik territory. He has a very good .375 OBP, and coming out of 2B or SS, he's fairly valuable. But given all that, his complete and total lack of power reduces him to being a league average hitter, even at that OBP clip. He's also not a good defensive shortstop by any means (which isn't really his fault, he should be playing second base on any team with a shortstop than can hit better than Ronny Cedeno). All of this makes him one of the 15 or so most overrated players in baseball.

And if you look at Theriot, he's won championships in college at LSU and in the minor leagues.

This is not a big deal at all.

He reminds me a lot of Craig Counsell or David Eckstein.

Ya don't fucking say, shithead.

When you see a big inning from the Cubs these days, he always seems to be right in the middle of it.

Gotta love this statement. You can't disprove it! And I guarantee you it holds absolutely no water.

Piniella also recognized the problems with the starting rotation he inherited with Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. He knew something had to be done. They parted ways with Prior, but he saw something that told him that Wood could be the closer. It was his idea to put Ryan Dempster back in the rotation and move Wood to the bullpen, knowing Wood's arm couldn't hold up to the innings needed out of a starter. Piniella figured if he was only going to be able to throw two innings effectively, why not make it the last two.

That move was pretty smart, but it completely takes whatever say Jim Hendry had out of the equation, and also negates the fact that Ryan Dempster has pitched better this season than ever in his entire career. Piniella does deserve some credit for making the move, but you're fucking acting like Piniella is pitching for Dempster or something.

Piniella would be quick to tell you that the players deserve the credit.

Because he likes saying accurate things.

But the one thing a good manager does is put the players in a position to succeed. Take a look at center field, for instance. Back in May, Piniella saw that they had only five home runs from left-handed hitters. He said they couldn't win like that. That's when he decided to give Jim Edmonds a try.

WOAH WOAH WOAH. Stop right there. You're acting like Piniella had this nobody named "Jim Edmonds" just rotting away in triple-A or at the end of the bench and was like, "you know, nothing else is working, let's run this kid out there and see what he's made of!" Jim Edmonds was signed by Jim Hendry. Does Jim Hendry get any credit for any of this? Any at all?

Now, if you look at their production out of center field since the All-Star break, it's completely changed, and they're doing it with two guys that had been released in Edmonds and Reed Johnson.

Reed Johnson was also snatched up by Jim Hendry, not manufactured in Lou Piniella's "Players-I-Need-O-Matic Machine" (TM).

He's not throwing Johnson out there every day, especially against the tough right-handers. That's where Edmonds comes in. Likewise, Edmonds doesn't have to face the best lefties. They are put in a spot where they can succeed.

Woah...careful everyone. Sutcliffe just stumbled upon the idea of a "platoon". It's a very vague concept and entirely new to managing. Very few managers can pull off this hyper-creative and complicated tactic.

As great a job as Joe Torre is doing with those characters in Los Angeles, Piniella is my National League Manager of the Year.

This is so ridiculous. Not so much the Manager of the Year part, but how can you be completely and totally ignorant to how much better the intrinsic quality of the players on the Cubs has become over the past two years? Do you know what a difference a healthy Derrek Lee makes? How about having one of the best catchers in baseball just break out before your eyes? Is that Piniella? What did Lou Piniella have to do with snagging Rich Ha-(Hold on a second, "Home Improvement" just ended, and it has been replaced on the television by "George Lopez." This needs to stop before I can finish that word)-rden? Don't get me wrong, the man has pushed a good amount of the right buttons in his time on the North side, but there are umpteen more important reasons to why the Cubs are good. You, Rick Sutcliffe, are the quintessential example of why ex-players should not be given writing jobs simply because you used to play baseball.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Alfonso Soriano: Selfish, Solo-Home-Run-Hitting Asshole

The Cubs are 16-10, and have fared slightly better over the last 14 games, during which Alfonso Soriano has not played. So naturally, it's time to freak out about him, and bring up curses and hexes and jinxes and dippity-doos. Now appearing for the first time on this site ever, Jay Mariotti.

Fukudome/SI jinx? Nah, the issue is Soriano

I totally agree, Jay. The concern of a player starting off the season slow is way more important to the team than the cover of a magazine. But isn't it fun that Jay is entertaining the thought that the opposite might have a legitimate argument?

The Sports Illustrated cover doesn't bother me. That's because the Japanese phrase above Kosuke Fukudome's steely-faced photo -- translation: "It's Gonna Happen" -- is from an inaccurate sign waved by one of his bandana-wrapped fans in right field.

Inaccurate? Gee, Jay, it's April! Isn't it a little bit early to write off a first place team?

Briefly there, I thought he was trying to one-up Ryan Dempster, Sam Zell and Ronny Cedeno in their inane game to create World Series fever in April.

I am so sick and tired of hearing about this. I read Jay's columns every day. Literally the only thing he's written about baseball this season (presumably because the Sox and Cubs have played well) have been complaints that Dempster, Zell, and Cedeno are trying to arouse excitement in the fans. Boo fuckity hoo.

But it turns out The Fukudomer wasn't even aware of the 100-year spell when he signed with the Cubs, meaning he has no interest in burying it with boasts.

Let's throw out the fact that nothing in this sentence is irrelevant to everything. That doesn't even follow by cause and effect. Observe.

Step 1: "The Fukudomer" signs with the team, unaware of the 100-year spell.
Step 2: Mark DeRosa, apparently fluent in Japanese, tells Fuck You, Do Me! that the team hasn't won the World Series in 100 years.
Step 3: The Fuck-You Dome thereby increases his motivation to end said curse.
Step 4: Riding the wave of the team's and his own early successes, Fukudome is now interested in predicting a World Series win to fire up the city.

Contrived? Yes. Impossible? No.

Yet when Fukudome himself has interpreted the so-called "It's Gonna Happen" banner to mean "It's An Accident," just how seriously should we treat any of this stuff?

Not seriously enough to even print it in a newspaper.

If John Madden ever expands his video-game empire to include baseball and places him on the cover, then you can fret about a Fukudome jinx.

Got it. SI cover = pseudo-jinx. Madden cover = MEGAJINX.

Until then, the biggest worry on the perpetually paranoiac planet known as Cubdom is Alfonso Soriano. During his most recent two-week stay on the disabled list, this time for a right calf strain, the Cubs missed him about as much as, well, the San Francisco Giants miss Barry Zito in the rotation.


It isn't fair, I realize, to compare a slow-starting, $136-million Soriano to the $126-million pitching bust that is Zito, who might represent the most disastrous signing in professional sports history.

Why is this not fair? Those two signings are so similar it's sick. Both were above average, if unspectacular players at the time of the signing. Both were severely overrated by the teams who signed them. Both contracts are too long and ridiculously expensive. For the record, Zito also has a bit of a history of being a slow starter. And after 6 starts in 2008, you're calling it the most disastrous signing in professional sports history?

But successive stumbles out of the gate, along with lingering injuries and his playoff stinker against Arizona last fall, are prompting media and fans to ask if the Cubs -- and no one is even whispering it -- are better off without Soriano.

Which further prompted me to ask, "could the media and fans offer up any better proof that they lack the ability to think?"

Why are we talking about a "playoff stinker"? Yeah, he was 2-for-14. That's also 14 at-bats. I'm just sayin', I've seen larger sample sizes. Aramis Ramirez didn't have a hit in the series. You want him gone too?

This as they stumble through a rough stretch, with a 10-7 loss Tuesday night to Milwaukee giving them four losses in five games.

This is evidence against your point, Jay. Not for it. You should have written this column a week ago.

At the very least, why risk clogging up a potent lineup by keeping him in the leadoff hole,

Clogging up the....lineup? I've never heard of this phrase before. You sure you didn't mean...bases? No, can't be, Soriano's fast and never walks. We'd better fly Humperdink McBuggins down from Toronto to use his lineuplunger.

where he has slugged an extraordinary number of solo home runs

Sooooooo selfish.

but performed few of the job's fundamental functions?

This is a very valid shot at Soriano's OBP abilities. But it's almost as if Jay thinks that there is some better outcome to Soriano's at bat than a solo home run when no one is on base.

In one mighty span during his absence, the offense scored 65 runs in eight games, including seven or more runs six times.

Oh my God! I think Jay discovered "variance" for the first time ever!

Hey Jay, what happened the next 5 games, hmmm? Oh wait. Those don't prove your point. So they're irrelevant. My bad.

It gave Cubdom a chance to fall deeply in love with Reed Johnson, who successfuly led off and cemented his place in cult lore last week with a catch so spectacular, the YouTube mechanism paused in shock.

If they like winning, they'd better not get used to Johnson. Johnson is great for a 4th outfielder. Probably top 5 or so in baseball (only better ones I can think of off the top of my head are Coco Crisp and Ryan Spilborghs). But he does not belong in the lineup every day.

Wrigley folk always love the Reed Johnsons, Ryan Theriots and Mike Fontenots of the world

Wrigley folk love bad players. And they wonder where they get their stereotype for being stupid.

knowing them as underdogs who define the Cub existence better than a free-swinging, selfish outfielder who signed the sport's fifth-richest financial package ever.

What the hell has Soriano done to earn this "selfish" label? I'm sorry, that's bullshit. Soriano is who he is. He has a lot of power and little walking skills. Why does that make him selfish? You don't make sense.

So, when Soriano returns as the leadoff man and left fielder Thursday, Cubdom will have its first official crisis of 2008.


If he no longer is a unique force capable of 40 homers and 40 stolen bases -- the reason general manager Jim Hendry spent so much coin on him -- why not bat him fifth or sixth in the order and maximize his power abilities?

This is actually a very legitimate point. Too bad Jay's probably cheating off of his neighbor's paper. And by his neighbor I mean "everyone in Chicago."

How many steals do his fragile legs have left in them?

Who cares? Soriano gets caught enough to the point where his steals barely help the team.

How often is he not uncoiling that rubber-band-man swing and trying to launch a pitch over the fence?

Home selfish. Home runs don't help the team win. They only help Fonz.

Isn't he just a solo artist playing as a warm-up act for a superband?

Well hey there Jay, it isn't his fault that there aren't people on base when he hits them. You can thank 7-8-9 for that. Or Lou Piniella, for batting him 1st. That's the problem I have with all of this. If Soriano was batting 5th, he'd probably have the same fucking approach, and you wouldn't deem any of it selfish, just because you expect that kind of stuff from a 5-hole hitter.

Is any of this selfishness really conducive to winning?

Home runs are very, VERY conducive to winning. Soriano's selfish .278 career EqA is far more conducive to winning than Reed Johnson's .254.

Wouldn't he be an explosive complement to the monstrous Derrek Lee, who now has eight homers, and the likes of Fukudome and Aramis Ramirez in the crunch of the order?


As yet, Lou Piniella isn't budging. He has no desire to use Soriano anywhere but atop the order, even though he's known as an innovatator open to any option.

If Piniella really does have this reputation, people need to wake up and realize this isn't the case. He pulled Mike Fontenot from shortstop after ONE INNING in which he made an error. If Soriano moves to the 5-hole, my guess is that a strikeout in his first at-bat results in him not going out into the field the next inning.

It suggests that Soriano, whose statistics are appreciably better as a leadoff hitter, has a verbal understanding with Hendry dating back to his signing that he prefers leading off. Or, perhaps closer to the truth, Hendry is trying to force-feed the continuing 40-40 fantasy as a way of justifying Soriano's staggering price at a time when Zell and Tribune Co. are reeling.

Interesting, interesting. Let's see how you fuck this up.

When a shift in the lineup makes this much sense -- based on Soriano's inconsistent first season, bad postseason and a second season in which he's batting .175 with two homers and two steals -- it's curious to see Piniella so adamant when his expertise is rooted in flexibility.

No, no, no, no, NO! First of all, I have absolutely had it with using the word "inconsistent" as a knock against a hitter. It's not like a pitcher. If a hitter has a bad game, it doesn't completely fuck over your team. If you've got one hitter that has a .275 EqA and then a wildly "inconsistent" hitter that has a .275 EqA, it doesn't fucking matter. With the second guy, your team simply wins DIFFERENT games than it otherwise would have. Not necessarily more or less.

Second, we've been over the fucking postseason. Why are you justifying a lineup move based on 14 fucking at-bats? This is senseless. Why does David Ortiz still get to hit 3rd? He had an AWFUL first 20 games.

And third, you're absolutely flipping about about this year's stats, which are not only a small sample, but so wildly out of line with his career performance that even you, Jay Mariotti, have to understand that the guy's gonna bounce back. People like you make me want to explode.

"If we hadn't been winning, they'd say, `Boy, these guys really miss Soriano.' It was unfair," Piniella said. "These guys have all done a nice job here, but if Soriano had been in there, we'd be playing the same way or a little better.

::gasp:: Whew. Thanks Lou Piniella. I really needed that non-dumbassedness.

"He gives us more power. He can put runs on the board with a swing of the bat. He brings speed to the equation, plus he has fun. That can be infectious for us. He can carry you when he's hitting the ball the way he can."

But Lou, he's selfish! He makes a lot of money!

We saw as much last September, when he earned his money with 14 homers, 27 RBIs and a .320 average.

Stupid, unclutch, selfish asshole. I'm really doubting the Cubs make the playoffs without Soriano in September.

We saw as much last June, too, when he hit .336 with 11 homers. But between a strained right quad last August and the calf strain this month, Soriano seems vulnerable to injuries at all times. "If I play the rest of the season healthy, I can steal 30 bases," he said. "My speed is there."

At $136 million, no one is in the mood to hear disclaimers.

That isn't a disclaimer. You know for a fact that this is not how Soriano meant it.

What's maddening is that Soriano told the media that he'll accept anything Pineilla wants. "I'm like the military. Whatever he wants, I'm open," he said.

Selfish fucking asshole.

He also expects to be batting in the middle of the lineup in a couple of years. So if he's amenable to a dramatic change, why aren't Piniella and Hendry?

Selfishly selfish of him to be amenable to that dramatic change. You're basically pointing the finger at Piniella and Hendry, so where, where do you get the conclusion that Soriano is so me-first?

I really don't like Alfonso Soriano that much, but Jay's got me rooting for him, just so Jay can be wrong. Again.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Need To Find A Way To Record And Play Back Audio Off My XM Radio

Because as I'm quickly learning, their "MLB Home Plate" channel is a fucking gold mine. And I want to be able to quote their fantastically dunderheaded analysts verbatim.

Like I've posted about a couple of times recently, you've got Rob Dibble running his mouth for three hours a day in the afternoon. I've also recently gotten into their morning show, which features Mark Patrick and Buck Martinez. The two shared a great exchange this morning, re: (who else?) scrappy white guys. This is all paraphrased because, as the title states, I don't have a way to record any of this nonsense yet. Mark will be (mostly) playing the role of "just the facts" guy, while Buck stands tall as the grit-loving quasi color commentator.

Mark: Interesting development for the Cubs yesterday- Lou Pinella dropped Alfonso Soriano to number two in the lineup and plugged Ryan Theriot in at the leadoff spot. Now... I understand Lou is trying to juggle around whoever he's got, and Theriot is a guy who plays hard. But I just don't know about having a guy at the top of the order who batted .266 with a .326 on base percentage last year.

Buck: (flustered, wanting to disagree without making a big deal about things because he loves small white guys) Well... yeah... but people would say the same about David Eckstein.

Yes, they'd say that. And they'd be right. It's sad- people who love Eckstein are now using him as justification for putting other short white guys who aren't very good into the same role he used to fill. This will inevitably lead to some people using Barry Bonds as an example that proves Shawne Merriman is a victim and people are only attacking him because he's black.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Well, I can see this place totally suffered, crashed, and burned with me gone (not that I'm suprised). Sarcasm aside, there is one thing this Fire Jay Mariotti JayBlog is JayMissing when I'm not Jay. I mean here. You guessed it: Jay.

Over-under: How many Imp-Lou-sions in '08?

ROFL ROFL ROFL! I have to say, in the offseason, I truly missed these al-Lou-sions to Lou's name. Oh shit! He's got me doing it!

We're gonna simply skip to the highlights on this one, because it's not all that offensive other than that it's a completely stupid non-sports related topic to write about.

The question is whether his motivational methods work internally.

Jay is under the serious misconception that screaming at adult human beings can make them play better than they are capable. Oh well. Jay's the chief offender of our "managers don't do that much" label anyway.

And while I still maintain to some degree that his dirt-kicking, mama-cursing, ump-bumping nuclear reaction last June was just a coincidental factor in the Cubs' turnaround

If by "some degree" you mean "highest degree in the history of anything," you can maintain non-wrongitude here.

you can't argue this: Their record that afternoon at Wrigley Field was 22-31, and they went 63-46 thereafter to win a division title.

No, you can't argue against that, and you also can't argue that Lou Piniella kicking dirt on an umpire somehow made the Chicago Cubs are a better baseball team. There couldn't be less of a connection between the two.

Real reason: The Cubs were outscoring their opponents, so it was just a matter of time.

So it's hardly a small news item when Loopy Lou, in a matter of 18 weekend hours, transformed from a perturbed manager consumed in a quick-trigger fit over Jason Marquis' complaints to an apologetic teddy bear who said he overreacted.

Actually, it's a terribly small news item. Never a good sign when you have to spend the first third of your article convincing people that they should care about what you're writing

As the popular You Tube parody goes, with apologies to the Rihanna girl who sings the real song, ``Ella, Ella, eh, eh, eh, under Sweet Lou Piniella, Ella, Ella, eh, eh, eh, under Sweet Lou Piniella.''

Forget Rihanna, how about some apologies to the real journalists who get their readers stolen by this asshole? This is such garbage.

Time to switch off Jay for a moment. Jason Marquis is about to get stupid here.

The latest drama escalated when the erratic Marquis, who must have established some sort of major-league record in being left off successive postseason rosters, said Saturday he'd rather be traded if he doesn't win a spot in the rotation.

``I definitely want to stay here. I signed here for a reason, but I also signed here to be a starter,'' Marquis said after a lukewarm two-inning stint. ``I think that's where I help the team the most, and obviously we'll see what happens when it's time for them to make their decision.

Marquis is under the false pretenses that bad pitchers help teams by starting games and increasing their innings total. WRONG!

So as much as I want to be in Chicago and love it -- I love the fans, I love the stadium -- I also have a family to worry about, too.

And....this family suffers somehow if you aren't starting ballgames? You're already guaranteed way too much money over the next two years regardless.....

So I can take my services elsewhere, if that's the case, and I can help another team in that capacity as a starter. My value doesn't lie in the bullpen in my mind."

WRONG! Okay. Enough of Jason.

Far as I'm concerned, the Cubs can trade Marquis right now for Coco Crisp, the veteran insurance necessary in center field if Felix Pie turns out to be a no-tool player and Sam Fuld is a figment of Jim Hendry's imagination.

Wow. Jason Marquis for Coco Crisp. There ya go Jay. Hey um.....Theo Epstein....does he get a say in this trade or anything? Coco Crisp is one of the best defensive CFs in baseball, and a non-awful bat. That makes him very useful. Marquis is about as useful as Casey Fossum.

Last I checked the Red Sox already have 6 starters, all of them better than Jon Lieber, the current Cubs 5th man.....and you think that this will somehow solve the "I'm not starting games" complaint by Marquis? What possible need would the Red Sox have for Marquis? Deceptively, this is one of the dumbest trade suggestions of all time.

Just as his June explosion had a cause-and-effect purpose, his Marquis outburst reminds players of a powerful truth in Year 100 since the last World Series title: There's no crying in Cubdom. I'm glad Lou laid down the law.

Here is the cause and effect purpose.

Cause: Lou Piniella screams at an umpire and kicks dirt on his legs.

Effect: Lou Piniella is ejected. The umpire's pants now contain more dirt than before.

That's all.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Now the Cubs are Really Screwed

In honor of our new friends at, I've decided to take some valuable (sarc) time out of my day and pick on the latest Jay article. Cub fans, whatever shred of hope you still had remaining should be gone. Yes friends, Jay is throwing in the towel (after 3 months of sucking Piniella's dick).

You want me to roll out the gush and the goo, the ``Go Cubs Go'' chorus, the Pat-and-Ronnie bop. You want me to suggest an emergency Bill Murray visit, an Ernie Banks pep talk, a Harry-and-Jack seance and all those desperate devices Cubdom pulls from its tail when 99 Seasons of Fear on the Wall are about to become 100.

First off, "Fear on the Wall"? Has "Cubdom" been terrified of something through all of these past 99 seasons? This, ladies and gentlemen, is why Jay Mariotti sucks at writing. I'll even throw out that Jay is wrong about 99 about to become 100, because it's 98 about to become 99.

Here's how that little phrase got in there. Jay realized that it's been (or going to be) 99 seasons of losing. His brain searched for a phrase with the number 99 in it. "Hmmm....99 bottles of beer on the wall, maybe? 99 seasons of....something on the wall? I need a word that rhymes with beer. Cheer? No, that's the opposite. Queer? No, that's what I had to convince the world I'm not after Ozzie made fun of me. Fear? Hmmm...seems like the best one. But it doesn't really make sense. Ah well, I'll toss it in there and hope people just read it as a clever phrase and don't think about it."

Too bad.

But why would I do that?

Gee, Jay, because you've been saying nothing for months but that Piniella is a baseball Yoda who will carry the Cubs to the promised land, first past the Arizona "Smoke-and-Mirrors" (as you have been calling them for weeks). I don't know, I'd think a dude with any sort of spine would stick with his prior convictions and maintain some sort of shred of hope. But you don't have a spine. (BAD JOKE ALERT!) That's why you flop on every issue.

You say the Cubs are due. I say they're too deep in doo-doo.

Jay, can you imagine yourself saying that terrible play on words out loud, like on Around the Horn or something, in front of thousands of people? You're a fucking embarrassment.

It's easier to make a case why Bartman should throw out the first ball today than why they'll win Game 3 behind erratic Rich Hill, win Game 4 behind a short-rested Carlos Zambrano and then return to Arizona and conquer the Diamondbacks behind The Mad Leather Whipper.

Really. The Cubs still have like a 10% chance of winning the series and you think it's easier to argue that Steve Bartman, a man upon whom most at Wrigley Field wish serious harm upon, should step out into the middle of all of them and throw out the first pitch of the game?

Meh, you've never really made sense before, not like I expected you to start now.

The Cubs need to sweep the next three games. I'm thinking January thongs on Oak Street Beach are a more likely scenario.

Right, if I might be of the opinion that you're overreacting juuuuust a tad, you wouldn't hold it against me, would you?

The Cubs haven't even been competitive in crawling into their 0-2 crater.

Really? Wasn't Game 1 a 1-1 tie until the late innings? Ask Carlos Zambrano if he was competitive that day.

Sure, they do. Rule No. 1: Pitch the ball out of the strike zone and make a lot of stinkingly wealthy hitters look silly, striking out 23 Cubs in two games. Rule No. 2: Make the Cubs' pitchers pay by scoring on four of six walks Thursday. Rule No. 3: Play grinder ball, throw down a suicide squeeze, have fun and apply even more pressure to an uptight team that is feeling the weight of 99 years.

Grinderball????? That's how the DBacks are doing it?

Game 1: 2 solo homers, then walk-double-sac-fly

Game 2: single-walk-sac bunt(rendered meaningless by...)-homerun. Single-triple. Single-walk-triple. Walk-walk-single. Okay, we've scored 7 runs and we're up by 5. Now let's play some fucking GRINDER BALL and lay down a suicide squeeze. GRINDING IT OUT. That's what the Diamondbacks are doing. GRINDING for all these runs. Look up the fucking definition of GRINDER BALL, would you? I mean, you'd have to look it up in a fictional dictionary containing stupid media-invented terms that don't mean anything, but for the love of shit, ask yourself, "when you are putting down a suicide squeeze after scoring 7 runs (hence, proving you don't need to "grind out" runs) and attaining a 5 run lead, is this GRINDER BALL?" IS IT?????

The only saving grace: The games are on TBS. No one's watching.

Yes, no one is watching baseball, because baseball becomes less interesting when it's not on a major station, where we could hear Joe Buck and Tim McCarver struggle through broadcasting while the former doesn't know shit about baseball and the latter spews ridiculous expressions that don't make sense. I mean, yes, the audience is more restricted, but most people owning a TV have basic cable, Jay.

As if life's odds aren't already stacked against the Cubs, examine the history they must overcome. In the wild-card era, no NL team has come back from an 0-2 hole and claimed a best-of-five series. When the Cubs have started 0-2 in a postseason series, they've lost all five times dating to 1910. There is a shred of hope involving Piniella, who overcome an 0-2 deficit in 1995 to beat the Yankees. But he was managing the Mariners then.

What does past Cubs teams failing in this situation have to do with the chances of the present Cubs team? No. Tell me. Why the fuck does what the Cubs did in 1946 (year picked at random, don't sue me) have anything to do with the odds of the 2007 Chicago Cubs beating the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 National League Divisional Series in 2007???

Okay, brace yourselves everyone, because for the first time ever, Jay is about to do some analysis, and it's actually interesting and informative and shows that he's researched something.

Should the Cubs find their thrill on Rich Hill, Zambrano returns Sunday on three days' rest at home, where he is wildly inconsistent. When Piniella tried Big Z on three days last month, it didn't work out. Nor does the three-day theory succeed much in the playoffs. When managers have brought back starters on short rest in best-of-five series the last 10 Octobers, those teams have lost nine of 14 series. Expand that to all rounds, and teams have gone 4-17 in short-rest games.

See? That wasn't so hard, was it? Good paragraph, Jay! (except for the thrill/Rich Hill wordplay) Just think, if you made sense like this more often, the entire city of Chicago wouldn't want to dump a large container of hot tar on you!

I'm actually guessing that this was written by either Jay's editor, Jeffrey, or Jay's secretary, Rachel.

When asked if he'll view the year as a success if elimination comes quickly, Piniella said yes. ``Look, this team finished last in the division last year, the most losses in the National League, and here we are in the postseason in one year,'' he said. ``If that's not a success, well, I really don't know what it is.''

Then, a minute later, he waxed philosophical about what this all means in the grand scheme. ``It's only a game,'' said Yoda Lou. ``It's not life or death.''

If the Cubs lose tonight, he'll come to realize how many millions think otherwise.

I'm guessing the latter quote is taken totally out of context. And also, I assure you that zero people in Chicago feel that Game 3 is of life-or-death seriousness. Millions of people, however, think you should be thrown out on your fat ass, because the Sun-Times is getting less talent per dollar spent on you than the White Sox are getting from their players! BURN! PWNED KENNY WILLIAMS!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Won't Somebody PLEASE Fire Jay Mariotti Already

In this column, Jay proves himself wrong about something he's claimed billions of times, then claims it again.

The seventh inning Wednesday night brought one such agonizing moment. Not to tap into the dark past, the black cat and the billy goat and the Bartman, but would someone explain why a baseball -- which also starts with a 'b,' as in black magic -- suddenly rolled in from the bullpen to the third-base area just as Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was lining a shot down the line past a diving Aramis Ramirez? I'm not saying this at all affected Ramirez's concentration, because Brooks Robinson wouldn't have caught Braun's laser that went for a break-open two-run double. But to witness two baseballs passing in the night, on the same damning play, is just too creepy.

The seventh inning Wednesday night brought one such agonizing moment. Not to tap into the dark past, the black cat and the billy goat and the Bartman, but would someone explain why a baseball -- which also starts with a 'b,' as in black magic -- suddenly rolled in from the bullpen to the third-base area just as Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was lining a shot down the line past a diving Aramis Ramirez? I'm not saying this at all affected Ramirez's concentration, because Brooks Robinson wouldn't have caught Braun's laser that went for a break-open two-run double. But to witness two baseballs passing in the night, on the same damning play, is just too creepy.

If you know what I mean.

If you know what I mean.

I didn't make a mistake here. Jay actually printed that twice. OK. Let's parse that. Keep in mind, Jay is paid to write.

The seventh inning Wednesday night brought one such agonizing moment. Not to tap into the dark past, the black cat and the billy goat and the Bartman, but would someone explain why a baseball -- which also starts with a 'b,' as in black magic -- suddenly rolled in from the bullpen to the third-base area just as Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was lining a shot down the line past a diving Aramis Ramirez?

Sure. I'd be happy to. The Cubs have a shitty field where the bullpen is located down the line where a batter could smoke a foul ball and severely injure the catchers (who face away from the plate). A wild pitch was thrown in said bullpen, and it got on the field. Why the hell is this so complicated/worth paying attention to?

Oh yeah, and because "baseball" starts with a 'b' (linking it deeply with 'black magic'), this is yet another mark of a cursed team. Hold on a second while I explode here.


Ahem. It is my belief that Jay is not a good writer, because the things he writes are useless.

I'm not saying this at all affected Ramirez's concentration, because Brooks Robinson wouldn't have caught Braun's laser that went for a break-open two-run double. But to witness two baseballs passing in the night, on the same damning play, is just too creepy.

I'm putting the probability of Jay overreacting about this at about 71 percent.

But seriously guys, isn't it interesting that "baseball" and "Bartman" start with a 'b'?

Not that the Cubs weren't contributing to their own misery in a 6-1 loss to Ben Sheets and the Brewers. This wasn't exactly a textbook lesson on how to take charge of a flimsy division race -- not with Ryan Theriot dropping a relay on a sure double-play ball and opening the floodgates to a four-run seventh for the Brewers, not with the Cubs leaving runners on base all night in another display of impotence, not with Carlos Zambrano failing again and doing little more than snorting and stomping around for his new $91.5 million contract.

Right, a few of the Cubs players played poorly.

All of which serves as another reminder that Lou Piniella is the most important factor in whether the Cubs win a division title. Having turned chaos into contention this season, can he now work a bigger miracle the final five weeks? From the dugout, can he manufacture enough runs to rescue his feeble hitters from themselves?

Let me get this straight.

1) Carlos Zambrano, a player, pitched poorly in an inning
2) Ryan Theriot, a player, made a poor defensive play.
3) Conclusion: These things indicate that Lou Piniella, the manager, is the most important factor in whether the Cubs win a division title.

Not Zambrano pitching better.
Not Theriot being flawless with the glove.
Piniella giving people the bunt sign from the dugout will be the difference in the pennant race.
Piniella needs to "manufacture" runs because he has "feeble" hitters like Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Derrek Lee.

Jay, you literally gave PERFECT reasoning why Lou Piniella is much less a factor in the pennant race than the players by illustrating how poor performances from two PLAYERS costed the Cubs the game. I am beginning to go beyond believing you merely have the cognitive ability of an 8-year old bastard daughter of a Nigerian crack-whore. No. It's worse than that. You don't think at all.

And to sum it up.....we've heard Loupy Lounacy, Louphoria, Loubik's Cube, and several others. Jay tops them all here.

It wasn't long ago when he was IncogniLou, wearing dark glasses and a ballcap so he wouldn't be noticed on Michigan Avenue.



Thursday, July 5, 2007

This Guy Fills Out the Lineup Card With the Best of Them

Mariotti was wrong when he said that Piniella was the reason behind the Cubs sucking it up for the first two months. He's also wrong now about Piniella being the reason the team has turned around. The turnaround in the Cubs' season could have been expected due to their early bad luck, but I'm sure Jay's right when he says that it was all part of Piniella's master plan.

Lou-nacy to Lou-phoria

Piniella knew what he was doing all along, identifying the players who fit his plan best and changing the Cubs' woebegone culture

I have an absolutely wonky theory here, Jay. It's crazy and makes no sense because it's based on "facts" rather than "unsupported claims", but I'll go ahead and embarrass myself and state them anyway, just so you can see how stupid I am.

On June 1st, the Cubs had a Pythagenport of 27-25. Their record was 22-30.

Right now, the Cubs have a Pythagenport of 44-39. Their record is 42-41.

Over that time span, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez have been slugging .575 and .630, respectively. Zambrano has a 1.42 ERA. Three of the Cubs' four best players have had great months, while the fourth still maintained a .400 OBP over that span. This can account for much of the increase in runs scored vs. runs allowed.....very good players having a hot month. The actual record rising is some combination of that and the fact that the Cubs were not going to play 162 games scoring more runs than they allowed with a .423 winning percentage.

He duped us. Behind the need-a-nap eyelids, the Wannstedt-like stammering, the postgame outbursts and a temporary burst of insanity in which he treated an ump like Pigpen from ''Peanuts,'' Lou Piniella knew something we did not. I figured he was a 63-year-old wanderer who, like so many other managers who confidently assume they can solve Cubdom, had no idea the ivy was poison.

Who knew he actually was plotting a cultural coup, an attitude takeover?

Or....attitude takeover? That's what wins baseball games? Attitude? Not scoring runs and preventing them? I wish I could get a whiff of that serious attitude coming from Boston.

''The biggest job a manager has coming into this situation is to change the culture,'' he said at one point, when we weren't listening. ''If I don't change the culture here, I'm not going to succeed as a manager, period. It's a tough job, not an easy job. I've found that out. But you have to change the culture. And if not, there will be a new staff in here in whatever period of time.''

Whatever. Can't blame Lou for trying to point out the subtleties of his job. And I have to love how Jay uses "we" in "we weren't listening", as if collectively, the city of Chicago agrees with the things he says.

I'm not sure we've seen a wackier first half in the long and psychotic history of Chicago baseball than the one just experienced by the Cubs.

Tell me why there Jay....

Mark Prior and Kerry Wood faded away.

Cool. Guys that haven't been good in a few years because of injuries....still aren't good now. Wacky.

April and May brought 29 losses.

And what's that you say? A traditionally losing team only winning 42% of their games through two months? I can't fathom anything wackier!

Carlos Zambrano turned Michael Barrett's face into his personal pinata. Piniella grew desperate, abused an ump and was suspended for four games. Derrek Lee, normally a calm presence, brawled with Chris Young and was suspended for five games. Barrett was traded for the purpose of clubhouse preservation. A fan in khaki shorts hopped the wall, ran within a bunt of Bob Howry and wanted to ask the reliever why he allowed a home run. Every day brought a new lineup, a new controversy, a new mental blunder, a new conversation.

Oh yeah....that stuff. Your list was long enough without the first two things.

We thought we were getting Sweet Lou. What we got was Lou-nacy.

And tell me it hasn't worked out in some inexplicable, impressive way.

It hasn't. The Cubs are 42-41. There's very little inexplicable or impressive about that record in a bad division.

With 20 wins in 30 games and 10 in their last 12, the Cubs have been the best team in baseball the last four weeks, something they haven't been at the end of a season since 1908. This is all about the vintage work and relentless tinkering of Piniella, who surveyed the scene, took mental notes, weeded out undesirables, rewarded hustle and consistency and ignored clubhouse whispers that he was losing his club.

No. This has almost NOTHING to do with Piniella. Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano (who, by the way, play every day regardless of whether or not Ryan Theriot is in against a certain pitcher, or what defensive position Fontenot plays, or which pitchers Bowen is paired with), absolutely have torn it up since June 1. You can argue that Zambrano got better because of Barrett's departure, but Zambrano has been a very good pitcher for a long time, and he was bound for a recovery from that crap beginning of the year. Piniella deserves credit for one thing: keeping Fontenot in the lineup despite being a new face. Which, some insane people might argue, is a no-brainer when the dude slugs .596 during a 30-game span.

Rewarding hustle and consistency is what the Dodgers did when they paid Juan Pierre too much money. You gonna give props to them too on a great move?

He easily could have chucked it all and returned to the broadcast booth, but as he said when he was hired, this is his final job in a potential Hall of Fame managerial career. He left Seattle early and returned home to Tampa Bay. He left Tampa Bay early because the player payroll was lower than promised. But he wasn't going to quit Cubdom, even if the scrutiny and pressures of a 98-year plague drove him daffy. ''I didn't come here just to make a little more money and go home when the time comes,'' he said.

I can't believe what a hypocrite you are. I mean your columns basically begged him to quit for weeks.

He came to win. And finally, he is doing just that, having installed his program and unearthed the players who can make it work. When Barrett was an irritant to Zambrano and others, Piniella purged him and watched his ballclub go on a not-so-coincidental roll propelled by Zambrano's resurgence.

It was pretty coincidental. Zambrano has pitched better, but that only accounts for a 5-1 record over 6 games, not far from expected considering he's your best pitcher. The rest of the starters have all been worse during this time span than during the beginning of the year. And if you're suggesting that Barrett's jerkoffishness has anything to do with Ramirez, Fontenot, and Soriano playing awesome, you're dead wrong. And by the way, Barrett's replacement, Rob Bowen, has one hit since being on the team.

When Jacque Jones, Matt Murton and Cesar Izturis couldn't cut it, they were yanked. He found inspiration in energetic kids, Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot, and pretended they were two David Ecksteins.

Now you're just BEGGING for trouble. Theriot doesn't take much imagination to turn into Eckstein (coincidentally, he's not a very good offensive player!), slugging .351, but Fontenot? You ever hear of Eckstein slugging anywhere NEAR .600?

He rode his stars -- Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Lee, Zambrano -- and demanded their best.

As opposed to other managers, who don't care whether players try.

Theriot and Mark DeRosa might bounce around the lineup five ways in five days and have no choice but to deal with it.

Because they're utility players. It's their job. DeRosa never whined in Texas....that was left for Kevin Mench.

When Fontenot committed a first-inning error at shortstop, Piniella moved him to second base an inning later. If players were upset by the constant swirl, he didn't want to hear it.

You're arguing that this is a reason why the Cubs have been on a tear? Because Piniella changes a player's position after ONE ERROR? This is not only an overreaction by Piniella, but incredibly insignificant as well.

''I don't care about feelings,'' Lou snapped.


This is called changing a culture. If it's a fresh concept in Cubdom, realize it's why Jim Hendry hired Piniella. Dusty Baker's plan had long run its course, turning lethargic after the heartbreak and burnout pitch counts of 2003 and blame-the-broadcasters dreck of 2004. For Lou, a ballclub is a lab experiment that requires the right dosages of passion, smarts, talent, versatility and a team-first approach. It took a while, but the scientist has cooked up a formula that should keep the Cubs competitive in a watered-down National League at least into September.

The formula: Have your best players hit the crap out of the ball and have your best pitcher be ace-like. Get luckier than before, and have one suprise guy in your lineup on a mega-hot streak.

As they were winning two of their first three against the Nationals in Washington, Piniella recalled examining his lineup last Sunday at Wrigley Field.

''We had two players -- the first baseman [Lee] and third baseman [Ramirez] -- who were there at the start of the season at their respective positions,'' he told the traveling media. ''That's a lot of movement in a three-month period. And it has been working out better.''

How well a player hits has to be pretty darned close to independent to which position on the field they're currently playing. Barrett being gone does help the defense, though.

The urgency of the recent surge can't be understated amid an ownership change. Cubs management won't admit it, but there were nervous folks in the executive offices as the White Sox won a World Series and gained a stronger marketing foothold. But the Sox have blown much of their momentum, allowing the Cubs to re-establish their predominance as the hallowed baseball experience in town. Piniella has been the bridge to a new era, and while he certainly can explode like Ozzie Guillen, he has class and perspective that the Blizzard needs to study and try to adopt.

Obligatory Ozzie = Blizzard of Oz reference.

Who ever thought Piniella's summer challenge would be to temper enthusiasm? Cubdom is drooling again after a series of highly charged, joyful moments -- the stunning Ramirez home run to beat the Brewers, the season-defining blown lead and comeback win over the Rockies,

Both clearly a result of Piniella's management skills.

the suicide squeeze on the South Side that reminded Sox fans of how Piniella stole a playoff series in Seattle in 2000.


That series was SWEPT by the Mariners. Swept. The Sox were down 2-0 in the series and looking helpess to hit baseballs. The score was 1-1 in game 3, and there was a runner on 3rd with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning. If you're telling me that the Mariners won this series because Piniella had Carlos Gulillen lay down a bunt, then you have set the record low on every single aptitude test that asks you to identify "cause and effect".

Between the victories and sideshows, the Cubs have been a must-watch revue. But don't tell Piniella they've been the best team in baseball lately.

''I don't know about that,'' he said. ''I do know we're playing good, aggressive baseball, and it's translating into wins for us.''

Which is all you've ever wanted in Cubdom, when you think about it.

That and you fired. "Soxdom" too.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

If I Appreciate One Thing About Jay.....'s that he writes a bad column every day, rather than someone like Celizic who does so just every so often, or Joe Morgan who does one dismal question and answer session per week. It's not only the quality but QUANTITY of Jay's writing that makes him a fun target, and remember kids, if you want to be like Jay, the theme is.....?

Jay's Golden Rule: Work harder on finding (sometimes) clever ways to disparage people, and hide behind that so that you'll never have to actually do some research to de-ignorantify yourself.

As much as I would prefer not to defend the Cubs, Jay begs me to defend anyone who he ignorantly slams

So now, Lou Piniella is just turning silly. We've seen his tired-old-grandpa phase, his straitjacket phase, his teacher-at-work phase, his tear-into-writers phase and his ''let's-talk-about-bikinis-and-surfers-in-La-Jolla'' phase. Tuesday, apparently running out of ways to reinvent himself for an increasingly agitated Cubdom, he chose to defend the cheap concept that being 22-28 in a sickly division is a good thing.

Do I sense someone twisting words about here? I'm pretty sure that not even 'let's-talk-about-bikinis-and-surfers-in-La-Jolla' Lou could be happy about that. Ah well, I'm a glutton for punishment, so I'll keep checking out how badly your "you said whatever I wanted you to say" spin was applied here.

That's what the man said, despite having watched the Cubs play a brand of ball best characterized as dumb and erratic even by their rock-headed standards. He is asking for your patience, oh great sufferers and masochists, and upon hearing his plea before a 9-4 loss to the Florida Marlins, I promptly adjusted the over-under date on my Lou Flees Wrigleyville Meter.

The new wager: He doesn't last past Labor Day.

Sir, by the 4-year longevity of Dusty Baker's managership, I'll take the "over" end of the wager. If you win, I'll listen to a 3 hour lecture from you on Chicago sports, and I'll have to pass it on to 20 people within 72 hours, lest I endure bad luck and broken relationships for all eternity. Oh, and I have to mow your lawn every weekend from May through September for the next 10 years while you dump sticky hot cider on me at your leisure. If I win...hmmm...what would be equally bad for about a public statement that Ozzie Guillen made one good managerial decision?

''Nobody should throw in the towel here. No, no, no, no,'' he said in a rambling speech that sounded part Jimmy Swaggart, part George W. Bush and part Howard (''I'm mad as hell ...'') Beale. ''The players aren't. The manager and coaches aren't. This organization isn't. We've just got to keep playing and get this damn thing turned around. Nobody's going to feel sorry for us. All these other teams don't give a damn if we're struggling. But we've got to turn this around, and we've got to keep working at it. And we will.

''The word 'patience' is a beautiful word. You know? You need a lot of patience. The problem is that in this business here [at Wrigley Field], patience is every night, you see? And for the fans especially, they get really involved in this. And they come out and support us in great numbers. There's so much excitement in this ballpark, and they want to see the home team win. I can't blame them. But at the same time, we've only played about roughly a third of our schedule. And we're five games out of first.''

''Forget our record,'' Piniella barked. ''We're five games out of first place. The Cardinals last year won 83 ballgames and won the world championship. So, look, let's not put this thing out of perspective. Are we happy with the way we've played? I don't think so. But look, this is not gloom and doom. This can get better, and it should get better.''

There. For those of you that didn't take time to read this, Lou said very reasonable things. Nothing crazy. Particularly note this.

Are we happy with the way we've played? I don't think so. But look, this is not gloom and doom. This can get better, and it should get better.

So out of this, Jay Mariotti got that Piniella was claiming that being 22-28 in a sickly division was good? This, Jay, is an overdose of your anti-Chicago spin.

Let's see how Jay reacts....

Why would I think that, Lou, knowing all about a wretched bullpen and shoddy baserunning? Don't sell us a pile of garbage. You were honest in the TV booth, and we expect the same honesty in the dugout.

Now just hold on one gosh darn minute Jay. Lou's right! And whether he was thinking of these statistics to prove it or not, you are wrong. Look at the Pythagenport expected won-loss record of the Cubs (X W-L) column. It's 27-23! Their record is 22-28! Their Pythagenport is the best in their division!

For the unfamiliar, the Pythagenport W/L record projection is usually correct to within 2-3 wins by the end of the season, and it is based solely on the number of runs a team has scored and allowed. It is very accurate, and a team with one significantly better than their actual record is in this situation for 1 of 2 reasons

1) They have been getting unlucky (most common).
2) Close games have been poorly managed.

My case is for #1. But here's a golden opportunity for Jay to show evidence for Lou mismanaging the club, and to cite examples, but he never does! All he does is call him crazy and bash his postgame speeches. Is this analysis? No. No it is not.

If the Cubs were in any of the American League divisions or the National League East, they'd already be out of it.

They're not. And Lou was taking this into consideration when he was talking, so you have no point.

Look, when you've spent $300 million and haven't won since dinosaurs drank at Bernie's, you shouldn't get your jollies rooting for Milwaukee -- a small market obsessed with sausages and beer -- to keep losing. The Brewers, by the way, now lead by six games.

I'm sorry Jay, do you remember when you quoted a certain something a few paragraphs ago? I'll copy it again in case you forgot.

We've just got to keep playing and get this damn thing turned around. Nobody's going to feel sorry for us. All these other teams don't give a damn if we're struggling. But we've got to turn this around, and we've got to keep working at it. And we will.

See? Lou doesn't give a shit about the Brewers. He's internally focused, as he should be.

They aren't chanting ''Looooooooou'' at Wrigley.

They're bringing out the big, old ''Boooooooooooo.''

Piniella keeps the faith anyway. Blind faith. ''What we need is to get a little bit of a streak, get ourselves up around .500, and we go from there,'' he said. ''The players are trying like hell to get the job done. And there is a lot of baseball to be played. No one's throwing in the towel. Nobody's looking to next year. We feel we're gonna turn this thing around.''

Uh, which year are we talking?

This year, Jay. They are talking about this year. A team with the best Pythagenport in their divison is talking about winning the division. A team with the highest positive run differential in the division is talking about not throwing in the towel.

It really has little to do with players being off their projections. There's about as much underperforming (Zambrano 5.24 ERA, Soriano 4 HR, Murton .375 SLG, Howry 5.11 ERA) as overperforming(Marquis 2.93 ERA, Lilly 3.20 ERA, Guzman 2.96 ERA). The fact of the matter is that the Cubs have not been lucky in terms of when they've scored their runs. Any team at this point in the season that has scored 20 more runs than they've allowed while posessing a losing record can expect a turnaround, and therefore, so can Piniella. Remember this article, Jay, when you said the Cubs would finish 87-75? That's exactly what Pythagenport would suggest they're on pace to do. Quit constantly flip-flopping and blowing everything out of proportion. Seriously.