Lou Piniella was supposed to retire at the end of this season as the Cubbies' manager; to come back to Tampa (where he was born) to take care of his mom, who is very ill.
Abruptly, on Sunday, Lou checked out. Didn't finish the season. Just stopped. Abruptly. My guess is that his mom has little time left. He didn't elaborate.
It isn't the way I expected Lou to go. Frankly, I thought he might have a brain aneurysm someday on the field, mad as hell, and with no way to top his biggest meltdown. Now, I show his biggest meltdown (below) as the day that he kicked his hat around and kicked dirt on the umpire in June, 2007. The Cubbies went from a miserable 22-31 beginning to winning the division. Note the hats and the garbage that Cubbies fans rained down on the infield after Lou was ejected.
Some people argue that Lou's meltdown with the Mariners in 2002, where he did the same things and then picked up a base marker and threw it, was a superlative tantrum. He also did the same in 1990 with the Reds, without kicking sand, but throwing the base marker twice. Sigh. I couldn't find film on either of those.
I like Lou. It doesn't matter if he acts like a 5 year old some times....after all, I grew up on hockey. They all act like that. I don't think his teams perform as well as expected (he only won the World Series once as a manager, with the Redsin 1990). Still, with a 20 year career as a player...11 years and 2 World Series rings, and 18 years as a manager; he is an MLB icon. There are plenty of Lou ejections on record.
One wonders if Lou might translate his onfield antics to traffic in Tampa-St. Pete and thus, all drivers are in danger. Still and all, it is good to have him home. Sigh. Still. The Cubbies do not win the World Series. 102 years. Maybe the next coach.
Here's to Lou!!