Bring Lou back for another year!
The Cubs and Lou Piniella are presently acting like two teenagers at a formal. Lou's on one side of the gym, making wry comments to his buddies, looking the entire time across the gym at the Cubs who are acting hoity toity, pretending that they don't give a damn. But sooner or later, the DJ is going to make a muffled "last call" into his microphone, and Lou and the Cubs will come together for that final dance.
And I'm totally cool with that. It's true, I was not thrilled with his managerial moves last year. I thought he demonstrated a lack of fire, I thought he waited too long to make some roster moves, and I felt that some of his other choices were pretty clearly the wrong ones. We joked too often about his senior moments, and there was a general sense of restlessness felt toward the Cubs skipper.
By "we," I mostly mean Rob and myself. I learned early last year that expressing dissatisfaction with Lou Piniella was a hot button topic with Cub fans, who loved him fiercely because he was "better than Dusty Baker." I totally agree with that -- he's definitely better than Dusty Baker, but I think I would be better than Dusty Baker and I have no business managing a baseball team.
Therefore, because Lou's mistakes upset me, because his choices disappointed me, and because his passion to manage appeared invisible to me, some of you might be surprised that I suggest the Cubs bring him back for another year. But I have one simple, logical reason for making that statement:
If Lou retires, then Jim Hendry picks the next Cubs manager.
Go ahead, read it again. Heck, go back and read it a third time. While it's true that Hendry has probably a better than 50% chance of picking the next Cubs manager no matter when Lou hangs 'em up, I would like to avoid that scenario if possible. If Lou stays on with the Cubs for another year, and they continue their downward trend -- as we may expect them to do, with an aging club of overpriced veterans -- then 2011 might be the final year of the Hendry chapter.
And if Lou retires after 2010, and we still have one more year of Jim Hendry to sweat over, then that means he'll have chosen probably not the best manager available (like when he picked Lou over the younger, talented manager Joe Girardi), and we'll have another awkward situation in Chicago, which I would like to see the Cubs avoid.