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Lou Piniella Finally Puts His Foot Down

CHICAGO - MAY 27: Milton Bradlery #21 of the Chicago Cubs watches the flight of the ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 27, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Andrew MillerContributor IJune 27, 2009

The MLB season is a war.

Whether it's injuries or a hitting slump, there are many minor battles that occur over the course of season. But during the Cubs' 6-5 win over the White Sox on Friday, Lou Piniella fired the first salvo in one of the most important battles the Cubs will face all year: the battle for the clubhouse.

The Cubs' clubhouse has undergone a culture shock this year. The departures of Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa, who many consider to be "glue" guys, have drastically changed the mood in the clubhouse and left a leadership void.

Even though the Cubs have veteran players in Lee and A-Ram, they have always been quiet leaders.

Enter Milton Bradley, who has been with nine teams in seven years and is a known disruption when it comes to chemistry. When your most troubled player becomes the loudest voice, problems will undoubtedly begin to creep in.

Bradley didn't do himself any favors early in the year when he accused the umpires of being "out to get him." Nor did he help his cause when he begged Cubs fans to stop booing because he needed positive support to snap out of his early season struggles.

So when Bradley recently acted out again with a failed attempt to break his bat, it was time for something to give.

The result? Bradley, the Cubs' big-name free agent, was given two days off in a row with the Cubs mired in a losing streak.

Yet in a weird twist of events, Bradley showed up in the lineup for Friday's game against the White Sox after Piniella said he would sit. After three listless at bats, Piniella saw Bradley throw his helmet at the Gatorade cooler. After a heated exchange between the two, Piniella finally told Bradley to go home.

There is nothing more embarrassing to a player than being yanked in the middle of a high-profile game. And if Piniella was trying to make a point, he picked the right time to do it.

Maybe Piniella finally sees what I see: a bunch of highly paid cry babies that (attempt to) break bats and attack Gatorade coolers when things don't go their way instead of putting in the work necessary to try to make things better.

So with one-third of the season passed, Piniella has finally put his foot down and sent a message to his team by embarrassing the big-name free agent signing. Say what you will about Lou, but he has managed enough to know how a winning team plays, and more importantly, how a winning team acts.

Hopefully the other Cubs will take notice.

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