On Friday, All The News That’s Fit To Print
included an account of Lou Piniella’s first day as captain
aboard the good ship Heartbreak.
The piece, by Lee Jenkins, describes Piniella as most fans, myself included, have long seen him:
“known for his outbursts”
“naturally animated and restless”
“a manager who really knows how to vent”
“as famous for his dirt kicking…as he is for any pep talks”
“a man…who clearly hates to lose”
“(reacting) to every booted ball…with a tortured expression or a fit of rage”
But the story isn’t just a string of clichés. While it acknowledges the base-throwing side of the new Cub manager, it also paints a picture of a guy who is once again passionate about the game, has a plan for success—“While most major-league teams head into the season with five or six bunt plays, Piniella wants the Cubs to use only three. He is trying to simplify the game, in hopes that his players will find it easier to master”—and is finding many aspects of his new gig to be excited about. (I know, I know—we’re only a couple of days into this, but still...)
The story concludes with a reference to “talk in the Cubs clubhouse that players are setting up a pool to bet on the date of Piniella’s first outburst.” On Thursday afternoon, Scott Eyre phoned in to the afternoon show on the local ESPN radio affiliate. He was asked if he had tossed any money into the pool.
Eyre said he didn’t know anything about such a pool, then he paused. “Now that you’re bringing it up,” he said, “I’m gonna find out if it’s true so I can get in on it.”