I am a fan of writing about baseball. To my wife’s dismay, one of our book shelves is dedicated to my modest collection. So I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that its taken me until now to read Jim Bouton’s masterful Ball Four. His behind-the-scenes look at the Seattle Pilots’ (inaugural) 1969 season reads like a good blog. One of the many characters to pass through Ball Four is new Cubs manager Lou Piniella:
Lou Piniella has the red ass. He doesn’t think he’s playing enough. He’s a good-looking ballplayer…He says he knows they don’t want him and that he’s going to quit baseball rather than go back to Triple-A…Pinella is a case. He hits the hell out of the ball… but they’re easing him out. He complains a lot about the coaches and ignores them when he feels like it, and to top it off he’s sensitive as hell to things like [Pilots manager] Joe Schultz not saying good morning to him.
Piniella, of course, was traded to Kansas City where he won the Rookie of the Year award in 1969.
Frank Deford has a nice story on Piniella on HBO’s Real Sports. Baseball Musings and Goat Riders like what Piniella had to say about not playing small ball, at least not early in games. Just in case, a pessimistic (read: pragmattic) Cubs fan is already prepared for the end of the honeymoon. [Update, Fire Lou Pinella has moved, via Repoz. It seems there’s a Fire Sweet Lou domain war.]