Looking at Lou

In preparation for the Cubs' three-game series beginning tonight in Seattle, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times interviewed former M's manager Lou Piniella over the weekend. The use of the word "weary" in the headline gives you a pretty good idea of the portrait which Stone paints. I thought this passage stood out.

I reminded Piniella of a quote he gave me back in 2007, when the Mariners played at Wrigley during his first season. Noting the difficulty of the Cubs' challenge, he said, "It ain't going to drive me crazy. I want to get it done, but it's not going to drive me crazy." That's still his story, and he's sticking to it. "Our organization hasn't won in a long time," Piniella said. "Because of that, there's a lot more scrutiny here. And because of it, it makes managing probably tougher than it should be."

What struck me about that quote was how perfectly it captures the difference between being the Cubs manager and being a Cubs fan. As manager, your inclination is to say, "I don't care about the 102 years or the goat or Steve Bartman. None of that happened on my watch. We're going to look forward and not dwell on all the misery." As a Cub fan, at least a devoted one, you have no choice. If you're in for the fun, you have to bear the pain, all 100-plus years of it.

Yes, Lou, it does drive us crazy. And there's nothing we can do about it except hope for the pain to end. 

Finally, here was another piece I came across from the Seattle Times, written in 2002 right after Piniella was granted his release by the Mariners, after ten mostly very successful seasons. This story, written by Bob Finnegan, paints the manager in an extraordinarily positive light, as the chief shaper of what was, and what remains, the brightest time in the history of the Seattle Mariners.



Baseball sources tell us that Cubs GM Jim Hendry has been very aggressive trying to move Kosuke Fukudome to ease the logjam in his crowded outfield. In fact, we hear that Hendry even offered to eat most of the money left on this year's salary and half of the $14 million that he is owed in 2011.

Joke about eating

another over paid manager not expecting the pressure .

So it will be upto ryno or brenley to answer the siren's call.

Wasn't Pinhead actually traded to the D-Rays for Randy Winn?

yes, when he wanted out of that job he was bored with to go back to TB...where he quit that job a year early.

..also TB got antonio perez in that trade

On a lighter side, this made me laugh:

"Orioles acquired 1B Jake Fox from the Athletics for RHP Ross Wolf.
Fox was designated for assignment by the A's last week after posting a dreadful .214/.264/.327 batting line over his first 98 at-bats. He's shown flashes of power in the past and the O's like his versatility..."

This is via rotoworld's player update feed, so I haven't got a link.

Good grief... McFail is just BLATANTLY going by the Cubs c. 2005 Top Prospect list..... He's not even trying to hide it any more...


And yeah, nothing says versatility like Jake Fox.

3 months ago it was just fine when beane was saying it.

hell, he was even pushing playing him at C. yeesh.

i guess they were hoping to have someone on the team capable of hitting 20HRs without K'ing 150-200 times.

What a great guy, though. I hope he finds a niche in Baltimore.

just wait til BAL gets bobby scales and he evolves into a gold glove 3rd baseman with 30+ homers, 40+ doubles, and a .400 ob%


haha... I totally almost cracked a "he's almost as versatile as bobby scales" joke, but I took the high road. f u, crunch. =)

Cubs should drill Milton Bradley the first two times too see how his anger management classes are going.

I bet he doesn't get called out on strikes if he comes up with the bases loaded.

that would be worth staying up late for...


Yes they should, but Lou isn't that fucking creative.

Brett Jackson and Hak-Ju Lee will play in the Futures Game

history of Cubs to play in it...

That list looks pretty good until you get down to Scott Moore.

This might be a few days old, but another interview with Lou


damn...now that's quote-heavy article. nice from-the-mouth stuff.

sounds like an aa meeting for cubs managers.

"Hi, my name is Dusty and along with Moises Alou's temper tantrum I fucked the 2003 playoffs."

"Hiii, Dusty"

I will spend the rest of my life correcting people about the 2003 playoffs, Moises Alou and Steve Bartman did NOTHING to cause that collapse.

Shoulder your blame on Alex Gonzalez, everyone's favorite shitty SS whose only real skill was playing defense and on the biggest defensive play of his life he fucks it up and costs the Cubs the game and the series.

Everyone always forgets about Alex Gonzalez's epic fail in the playoffs and wants to concentrate on a foul ball hit into the stands. The foul ball didn't mean jack shit, but Alex Gonzalez's play meant everything.

Since when is Alex Gonzalez anyone's favorite shortstop? That's going a little far.

But yeah, he blew it. But I think in general it is difficult to place blame on something like this all on one person - whether it is Bartman, Alou, or Gonzalez. Any number of things could have went differently to change the inning and the game. A double, walk, wild pitch, and single set up the Gonzalez play, and a double followed to actually tie the game. Then five more runs scored after that. Plenty of chances to get out of there with the lead, tied, or down by a run. Plenty of blame to go around.

Alex Gonzalez was a teflon SS for the Cubs, he was sooooooooo awesome because he could hit for power. I guess if 15-20 HR's is power and a .240 average was something to praise, Alex Gonzalez got a ton of love on the message boards.

You know why i like Ryan Theriot? Alex fucking Gonzalez and his .240 and .220 average with an OBP hovering around .300. He was god awful at the plate. He was your prototypical April hitter who then disappeared till August then disappeared till next season. Those were the only meaningful months in his career where he did something positive and it was still shitty. But it was just enough to remind Cubs fans of how awesome he was and he was ready to bust out in a big way. EPIC FAIL.

At least he did play some decent D, but when that play happened, any positive thing left to say about that man was gone. The one thing he was good at it, and he finds a way to kick you in the nuts, its bad enough he couldn't hit his way out of a paper bag, but he misses the easiest grounder of his life? F him, F him till the end of Cubs history.

Don't forget that his presence stopped us from getting an "in his prime" Miggy Tejada

He was your prototypical April hitter who then disappeared till August then disappeared till next season.

Don't you hate when facts get in the way:

Alex Gonzalez, career OPS splits:
March/April: 678
May: 656
June: 745
July: 653
August: 770
September/October: 659

I was just talking to someone the other day how 2003 was all Gonzo's fault, but then went on a long spiel about how he was the best looking Cub of all time.

Hahaha, read the Dusty quote to end the article:

"Like my dad told me when I was going to quit Little League: He said no son of his is going to quit any league," Baker said. "That's what kept me going in Chicago. At the end there, I didn't have the team that I started with. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter in the overall count of 101 years, or whatever it is."

I didn't have the team I had when I started with? First, grammatically, that's wrong. Second, it was 4 years later, nobody has the same team 4 years later. Third, he had a better team with more talent at the end of his tenure than the crap fest 2003 team that had guys like Karros and Grudz and a bunch of fill-ins.
Cubs c-ss in 2003: damian miller, karros, grudz, alex gonzalez.
Cubs c-ss in 2006: michael barrett, dlee, todd walker, ronny cedeno. With the exception of Cedeno, the other 3 had more talent then their predecessors.

Cubs 2003 bench included .218 hitter hee sopp choi, .209 hitting mark bellhorn (with 2 hr's), then tom goodwin and troy o'leary.

Cubs 2006 bench included hank white, .254 hitting neifi perez, ryan theriot, and 12 hr hitting phil nevin. it wasn't great but it was better then 2003. Dusty has his head so far up his ass he's blind.

And if he wants to complain about the pitching being different, that's what happens when you stomp on your young pitchers' arms, they get hurt. He's such a dumb asshole. Still doing the same shit in Cincy.

he also said a bunch of sane and sensible stuff before that rather than blaming chicago or their fans for anything.

I just don't think this is an accurate picture of 2003-2006 at all.

Barrett over Miller, yes, but D-Lee played in 50 games in 2006. Compare John Mabry and his .205 BA to Karros. Not even close. Walker and Grudz are pretty much the same player career-wise, and Grudz's 2003 season destroyed Walker's 2006. Cedeno sucked. Ramirez is on both teams, but clearly better in 2006.

But would you rather have Sosa-Alou-Lofton, or Jones-Murton-Pierre? I mean, really? That's not even close. The 2003 OF had a combined 19 All-Star appearances compared to ZERO for 2006.

As for the bench, I'd say it's a push. You can give Blanco the edge over Bako, but Ramon Martinez (whom you left out) hit .284 compared to Neifi's .254. Nevin had more HR because he had more at-bats (again, D-Lee injury), but for rate stats Randall Simon is right with him. And Tom Goodwin, though you knocked him, hit .287 with 19 SBs off the bench.

And the difference in pitching staffs is huge

The difference in pitching is huge because Baker ran our stars into the ground and they got hurt. Period. Baker is a jackass.


Baker absolutely sucked and I hated this style and constant lineup changes.

I blame Hendry for hiring these guys and not having the nuts to deal with them.

I've heard Lou bitch about wanting a "Left-handed right-fielder who can bat 5th" since he got here. And he has used it as a built in excuse for every playoff loss that followed.

At some point you need to shut up and manage the team you got.

"Left-handed right-fielder who can bat 5th"

Maybe Lou should ask Jim to bring Tyler Colvin up from AAA......

Have you forgotten that Lou whined in the press about needing a "Left-handed right-fielder who can bat 5th" from 2007 until Bradley blew up in his face?

Not a single Cubs OF in 2003 made the all star team, so saying they had 19 all star appearances is deceiving. They didn't have all star years in 2003.

Phil Nevin was one of the replacements for DLee in 2006, and he hit 12 hr's in limited ab's.

You started the conversation by talking about "talent" rather than performance, so in that sense All-Star appearances is not deceiving, but rather indicates the relative talent in the OF.

But let's take a look at actual performance of that outfield in a "non-star year" (2003) compared to the 2006 outfield, measured by OPS+.

Sosa: 133
Lofton: 120
Patterson: 114
Alou: 111

Jones: 108
Murton: 104
Pierre: 82
Pagan: 76

By that measure, the 2003 team had 4 outfielders better than the best of 2006.

Recent comments

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  • AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.

  • Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...

  • Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.

  • The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request

  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

  • Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.

  • I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.

  • AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?

  • He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.

    Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.

  • I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.

    I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).

    Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.

  • "What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "

    As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.

  • Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.

    Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer

  • Hahahahaha