Thursday, October 19, 2006

He's Here

Somehow, I thought the next time I wore pinstripes they were going to be navy.While a warm Ivy Chat welcome is extended to Lou Piniella, a few words must be aimed at the detractors of his hiring and a question must be lobbed (grenade style) and Jim Hendry.

All of Lou's detractors seem to be making the same arguments against him. These arguments can be summarized by saying Lou is just Dusty but with an anger management problem. Let’s stipulate that Piniella is a more fiery type than Dusty Baker is. We might also concede, reluctantly, that Lou is not as interested in things like OBP that some of the more modern baseball minds embrace. And the return of Larry Rothschild isn't something very favorable, either.

In the minds of some, these properly enumerated points sum up to the conclusion that Lou is Dusty.

Horse hockey.

Just because a guy has some similar attributes doesn't make him a clone of everyone that also shares those few attributes.

Dusty Baker was, to be polite, lax on fundamentals. He was lax on hustle (well, hustle at all times). He was lax on accountability.

Lou Piniella's history suggests he is the opposite of Dusty Baker in all these areas. When you consider that, ultimately, the success or failure of the Cubs is going to be on Jim Hendry for the quality of player he manages to obtain, you begin to see that the rants against Lou Piniella are really just the whining of those who really wanted the cuddly Care-Bear hiring of Joe Girardi.

Given these huge differences in approach, the arguments comparing Lou to Dusty are threadbare. Lou Piniella has some qualities similar to Baker. Guess what? Joe Girardi shares some qualities with Baker as well (aside: as it looks more and more like Girardi won't be getting a managing job anywhere, doesn’t that suggest there’s a good reason why?). The chance of Lou being as poor a manager as Dusty Baker is quite remote.

And a huge question to Jim Hendry. Let's see if we have this correct. At the All Star Break, the Cubs were 34-54. Dusty Baker was going to be evaluated. Dusty was then retained for the rest of the year, but fired one day after the season ended.

Doesn’t that mean that the evaluation was complete some time before the season ended? And that leads to this Big Twinkie of a question:

If the decision to fire Baker was made before the end of the season, why wasn’t Dusty fired earlier and Lou Piniella hired right around the All Star Break?

The Cubs were clearly already interested in Piniella. Lou was available and being touted for Dusty’s job in a media-based trial balloon around that time. Had they hired Lou in July, the rest of the year could have been used to give Lou some time to evaluate his players. He could have set a tone for 2007. And, given the crapfest that was the National League, if Lou is so good, perhaps the Cubs could even have made a run at the Wild Card.

Instead, we fans were treated to a waste of our time and dollars.

Jim Hendry. Why oh why is this man still in his job?

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