The Cubs were demolished by the Atlanta Braves 16-5. This was the same score as the first game of the season. It was apropos because Lou Piniella had announced he was leaving because of his mother’s health. Lou is in fact retiring for good; he is not just leaving the Cubs.
Carrie Muskat has posted an article at the Cubs’ website titled “Cubs unable to send off Piniella with a win.” Muskat reports that the Cubs were manhandled by the Braves. I watched the game, and the Cubs just don’t look like a professional team.
Piniella had announced mid-season that he would be retiring at the end of this year. However, due to the health of his 90-year-old mother, he moved his retirement up so he could go home and be with her. The move was lauded by owners, mangers and players alike. Considering what type of year the Cubs are having, it makes no sense to stay. Certainly, if they were battling for a spot for postseason, the decision would be delayed.
Third Base Coach Mike Quade will take over and will also be considered for the job next season.
When Piniella first came to the Cubs, he took them to the postseason the first two years, 2007 and 2008. He received the Manager of the Year Award in 2008. Unfortunately, the Cubs went 0-6 in postseason play and did so in a dismal fashion; it appeared as though they choked.
It was a weepy day for Piniella. He met Atlanta manager Bobby Cox (and fellow legend) to trade lineup cards at Home Plate and began to cry. He did at various times through the game. It is certainly understandable.
I have written several times throughout the season that I felt Lou Piniella wasn’t quite with the program. I thought perhaps he was ill, or he was just burned out. Now perhaps we have the answer. If your mom is ill, it is pretty hard not to think of her.
The Piniella Era is over. When he came, people expected a lot from him and he didn’t disappoint. The Cubs won their division right away, twice. Unfortunately, Piniella was no more effective at getting the Cubs into the World Series than anyone else.
When a guy like Piniella can’t get the job done, it’s easy to see why the idea of a curse remains.