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The [Piniella] Papers

This is called The [Piniella] Papers but it might as well have been called The Same Old Cubs. Or, just to get out ahead of the signs we'll be seeing at Wrigley Field in two years, In Lou We Boo.

"It's like Hendry & the Tribune brass are genetically imprinted to make the wrong choices at the wrong time." Beachwood baseball affairs editor Don Jacobson says. "Piniella will be a disaster. And they're taking him even though the perfect candidate, Girardi, 'interviewed well.' It's like, what more can you do to make hiring Girardi obvious? Piniella? I'll mark down April 20, when the Cubs are off to a 5-11 start, when the first blow-up with a reporter happens. Lou's not exactly tolerant of free and open inquiry. At least there won't be same kind of expectations on him as there were on Baker. Still, dinosaurs are dinosaurs, whatever their particular species.

"What the Cubs need to do most is rebuild their organization from the bottom, not keep shuffling the chairs up on the topdeck. Girardi could have helped done that with a long-term commitment to developing players, drafting well, deciding which prospects to keep and which ones to deal. You need someone with a lifetime commitment to the city and the total rebuilding of the oganization to make the Cubs a consistantly winning team, and Piniella's just another marquee topper in the Cubs' current baseball-as-showbiz approach.

"Of course, that's really Hendry's job, so I guess what I'm saying is that Hendry's the real problem, not the Cubs manager. But hiring Piniella is not the answer."

1. "You know, [Washington has] got a team that's going to be building for the future," Piniella said at McAfee Coliseum, where he [served] as an analyst for Fox during the American League Championship Series. "That's a situation that's really not for a guy like me. I think they're going to go for a young manager - and rightfully so."

Nationals record last year: 71-91.
Cubs record last year: 66-96.

2. "The player development in this organization is good," Piniella said at his news conference Tuesday. He must have been thinking about his fantasy team.

3. "Lou Piniella is like an angry Dusty Baker," says Al on Bleed Cubbie Blue. "I just don't want another sixtysomething recycled manager. Didn't work very well the last two times (Baylor & Baker)."

4. "So what kind of manager is Dusty Baker?" the Tribune once asked. "His strength is emotional preparation more than in-game strategy."

Oops, sorry. That was about Piniella, and it was in today's paper.

5. "In 1996, [Piniella] was ejected three times during a 10-game span. And in 1998, Piniella kicked his cap five times after being ejected, finally flinging it into the stands - where it was tossed back onto the field by a fan."

Next year for Halloween, just dress in this year's Dusty Baker costume - diapers and a rattle.

6. "Given the Tribune Co. mandate to be competitive as quickly as possible - which quite possibly could be a costly miscalculation by ownership - there was no question Piniella was the available manager best suited for the monumental challenge," the Tribune's Phil Rogers writes.

Costly miscalculation indeed. Unless the Cubs are willing to outspend the Yankees, John McDonough's promise that the Cubs would win a World Series next year was foolhardy, re-setting high expectations just when they had been acceptably lowered. Tribune management fails to grasp just where this organization is. There are times when a team is close enough that management should be urgent and go for it, and there are times - like these - when a completely collapsed organization has to start from scratch. This is one of those times. This is the worst team in the National League. That fact has to be accepted.

7. According to Rogers, Hendry wasn't satisfied with Joe Girardi's single year of experience (and several years as Joe Torre's bench coach) as a manager.

Girardi's record with the Marlins last year: 78-84
Piniella's record with Tampa Bay: 63-99; 70-91; 67-95.

8. "He's proven he can win with a Reds line-up that just murdered everybody and a bullpen that ended games in the 6th inning? Or did he prove it when he had a team with Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, and Alex Rodriguez? Any manager would have won with those teams! I got the opportunity to watch Pinella down here in Tampa. He's Dusty Baker all over again. He insisted on playing old retreads over promising young players, even when contending was not a possibility. The 70 wins he 'got' out of [Tampa] were because of some serious young talent he finally let play. Pinella is not a good manager. He's just a good old boy who gets hired for his old school attitude. I'd like a little more fire in our manager, but it has to come with a clue about in-game strategy, handling a pitching staff, and a willingness to play the best players.

- by Rotodaddy on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 4:10 PM CT, Bleed Cubbie Blue

9. "Piniella is a moron. He and Baker share the exact same baseball philosphy. Also, he has no clue how to use stats. I'm not asking for a statistician as a manager, but he really doesn't even know what OPS and WHIP are!"

- Various Styles on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 9:44 AM CT, Bleed Cubbie Blue

"He consistently mocks OBP on the air and his teams were among the worst at getting on base from 03-05. The only times he was near the top was when he had talent (Mariners 00-02, Griffey & A-Rod in the 90s, Yankees in the 80s).

"Piniella, like every other manager, will succeed if he has the right players. He [won't] have them in Chicago.

- by Various Styles on Thursday, October 12, 2006 at 7:45 AM CT, Bleed Cubbie Blue

10. Devil Rays |Piniella Blasts Team's Ownership
Sun, 12 Jun 2005 13:00:29 -0700:

Alan Robinson, of the Associated Press, reports Tampa Bay Devil Rays MAN Lou Piniella lambasted the team's ownership Sunday, June 12, saying they don't care about winning now. The team's 20-42 record is the worst in the big leagues, and the team has been beaten by large margins lately, including a recent 18-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. "I'm not going to take responsibility for this," said Piniella.

Great, another Dusty Baker

Devil Rays | Piniella: Bring In Veterans
Thu, 9 Jun 2005 23:18:09 -0700:

According to The St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Bay Devil Rays MAN Lou Piniella believes bringing in more established veterans would help the team win.

Great, another Dusty Baker.

11. Red Sox | Schilling Lashes Out at Piniella
Thu, 28 Apr 2005 09:21:10 -0700:

The Associated Press reports Boston Red Sox SP Curt Schilling had some words for Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella after the bench-clearing affair last weekend. "The problem is when you're playing a team with a manager who somehow forgot how the game is played, there's problems," Schilling said on a Boston radio station. "This should have been over a little bit ago. Lou's trying to make his team be a bunch of tough guys, and the telling sign is when the players on that team are saying, 'This is why we lose 100 games a year, because this idiot makes us do stuff like this.' They (Rays players) said that on the field."

Devil Rays | Piniella Lashes Back at Schilling
Thu, 28 Apr 2005 09:21:25 -0700

The Associated Press reports Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella called a team meeting Wednesday and lashed back at Boston Red Sox SP Curt Schilling. "Forget how the game is played? I have forgotten more baseball than this guy knows," Piniella said. "On the idiot subject, I'm appalled he would actually say something like that. I had a meeting with my team and to a man they denied it. He's questioning my character and integrity and that is wrong. He's never played for me, never really spoken to me, so he really doesn't know what I stand for. If I were Curt, I would be really embarrassed at the cheap shot he took and get the story correct. I'll tell you I've always admired his pitching ability and competitiveness, but I can honestly tell you I've lost a lot of respect for him. I'm looking forward to talking to Curt myself and get this matter cleared up."

12. "One of the most temperamental men in baseball has become one of the meekest."

13. "Now the Hard Part" is yet another example of hoping that the players the Cubs have will somehow change, rather than changing the players. Kerry Wood is Kerry Wood. Mark Prior is Mark Prior. Aramis Ramirez is Aramis Ramirez. They aren't going to be anything other than who they are. If, if, if . . . The Cubs presently have one outfielder who can't throw, a third baseman who can't think, a first baseman returning from injury, and an All-Star pitcher due for a breakdown. Not much to go on.

14. Piniella's career record by order of finish:

1st place: 4 times
2nd place: 4 times
3rd place: 4 times
4th place: 3 times
5th place: 4 times

Every one of those teams, with the possible - possible - exception of a couple Devil Rays teams, were better than the Cubs team he takes over.

15. If Piniella was Hendry's man from the start, why didn't he hire him last July and get things going? Phil Rogers says Hendry "did the right thing by Baker" in not hiring Piniella sooner. How about doing right by the fans, the team, and the organization?

16. "Piniella is acknowledged as one of the game's top strategists, and frequently plays hunches over the percentages."

Isn't that incongruous?

17. Hendry: "Lou Is the Perfect Guy."

And so was Dusty. And so was Don. And so was Jim . . .

18. The Cubs have targeted Alfonso Soriano was their primary target in rebuilding the team, as well as Carlos Lee. Same old Cubs. Look for Jerome Williams to get a start in June.

19. "The Cubs may have to come up with a new philosophy when it comes to availability of the manager after Dusty Baker was shielded from reporters for most of the last two seasons, and his office was usually off-limits."

I'd kind of like to know more about this.

20. "Lou's thrown some bases, Dusty's thrown some toothpicks," Cubs reliever Scott Eyre said, comparing the two managers."

Indeed. Piniella is being brought in in part to light a fire under these guys. After Dusty was brought in as a players' manager. After Don Baylor was brought in to light a fire under these guys. Two years from now, Mark Grace will be introduced as the perfect person for the job as manager of the Chicago Cubs.

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