Lou Piniella Announces Retirement: Send Him Home Now
I guess yesterday's news involving Lou Piniella ending all doubt and saying he will not be back next year is good news for me. I won't have to write anymore "fire Lou Piniella" columns.
But why is he still in Chicago? What is to be gained by that?
The team he has managed is going nowhere. They have been lifeless all year, and now they are playing for a lame-duck manager.
What is there to inspire them to play hard the rest of the way?
They know Piniella won't have any say if they're around next year. Jim Hendry will be evaluating them, and according to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, he will be back next year.
I don't know how much hope that inspires in Cub fans, along with the news that team president Crane Kenney will help with the managerial selection.
Despite the fact that everybody was brought back last year, I was hoping for wholesale changes after this dismal, disappointing season.
Unfortunately, the new owner is grading on a curve (Funny note: I first typed curse by accident. We know there are no curses here).
He's not judging on the past, and like his "Year One" ad campaign, I guess it's also Year One for Jim Hendry, so past failings are swept away and he started with a clean slate.
Ricketts is impressed with the offseason moves of adding free agent Marlon Byrd and acquiring Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley.
He is also impressed by the farm system that is finally starting to bare fruit after a two-decade slumber. But are there any stars in the system?
I know, I shouldn't be greedy.
Starlin Castro has had a nice rookie year so far, and Tyler Colvin has exceeded everyone's expectations, including the guy who drafted him, Tim Wilken.
While interviewing Wilkin in 2009, he mentioned that Colvin was a disappointment, and he sounded like he didn't think he was much of a prospect anymore.
The Cubs didn't either, and that's why they signed Xavier Nady.
Colvin shocked them coming out of spring training and they were forced to add him to the team.
That's one of the problems with this organization. They can't even evaluate their own talent.
Geovany Soto was not even considered a prospect at one time. Ryan Theriot was close to being cut while he was still a switch-hitter at the Cubs' request. On his own, he decided to just bat his natural way, right-handed, and he became a prospect.
Back to Piniella. He didn't even want to play Colvin more than a couple of games a week until he got into a run-in with former Cub announcer Steve Stone, who criticized him on a local sports show for not playing Colvin more.
The Cubs are allowing Piniella to retire on his own terms because of the respect they have for him and his career. But what respect has he ever had for the organization?
He constantly refers to the Cubs as "they," as in "One day, they're going to win it all," or "They have a nice team here."
Does that sound like a guy who has been connected to the team? He has little contact with the players in the clubhouse, preferring to let his coaches interact with them.
Even though he's retiring at the end of the year, it seems like he's been retired for at least the last year-and-a-half.
What has he done here to earn respect? Win as many playoff games as everybody reading this.
He came here to take the Cubs to the World Series. Just making the playoffs and surrendering meekly to inferior teams wasn't what he was brought here for.
He harassed the media anytime they asked him a difficult question in postgame press conferences, like, "How dare anyone question the great Lou Piniella."
Well, I have news for him. He's not so great as a manager.
He doesn't deserve respect and he shouldn't still be managing this team.
My choice would be Ryne Sandberg, who went down to the minors and rode the buses for three and a half long years to have a chance to manage the team he was a Hall of Famer for.
He's hungry and he wants it. Looking at Piniella, I think his appetite has been satiated for a long time now.
I loved Sandberg's Hall of Fame speech, where he talked about playing the game the right way. Sandberg played the game that way, and I'm hoping he would be able to impart that to his players.
He managed a lot of them on his way up through the organization, so they would feel comfortable and would want to play for him.
I haven't seen anyone that seems to want to play for Piniella.
Piniella is looking forward to spending more time with his family. He's been in the game for 50 years and says he is tired.
Jim Hendry was quoted at the press conference as saying, "He's earned the right to go out the right way."
Piniella said yesterday, "I want to go home."
That's what I think he's earned, and he earned it a long time ago, so send him home now.
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