Monday, June 15, 2009

Goodbye, Gerry

What was interesting about the firing of Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry yesterday was not that he was fired. This is baseball. When you have a roster of players who aren't hitting and most of those players have no trade clauses, you can't get rid of them. So, you get rid of their baby sitter instead. Perry taking the fall was he obvious, albeit meaningless move.

As fans, we can only speculate as to a coach's real affect on a team. We see sports performance improve, we credit the coaches. We see it fall, we blame the coaches. Now, correlation is not always causation, but it's all we have to go on as fans. So we often convert "correlation" into "axiom." Did Gerald Perry go from brilliant to terrible? We'll never know.

But what was really interesting was the way the professional media characterized the way the change was made.

Bruce Miles: General manager Jim Hendry flew home early this morning from the College World Series in Omaha to make the announcement.

Dave van Dyck: "Obviously, we've been struggling for a long time," said general manager Jim Hendry, who personally fired Perry. "I'm not one to dump all the blame on my coaches. But I think sometimes you need a different voice.

Even Carris Muskat: Perry was at Wrigley Field on Sunday, and taking part in batting practice when he was called off the field around 11 a.m. CT and into the clubhouse to talk to Hendry.

The lack of Lou Piniella's name tied to this announcement is telling. It seems clear that Lou didn't sign off on this move. While he may have agreed to it, he hasn't appeared to endorse this either.

Speculation should now jump to Lou's future. Regardless of what happens this year, you have to start to believe the Lou will be leaving the Cubs after the 2009 season. Lou will be 66 years old at the end of August. He's managed five teams. He's financially secure. He has an aging roster of players with long term contracts many of whom are likely are past their baseball prime. He's working for a team with a questionable ownership situation which may or may not get resolved anytime soon which likely prevents spending large sums of money to correct roster deficiencies.

And he now had to allow his boss to mess with his coaching staff.

Dilbert would clearly characterize Lou as a "Flight Risk" these days.

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