Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Welcome to town, Lou!

I've been spending my spare time...[pause to allow laughter to die down]...here in the UK becoming a fan of cricket (go England!) and football (go U's!). But that does not mean I have given up being a fan of baseball or American football -- or more precisely, the Chicago Cubs (baseball) and the Chicago Bears (American football).

Try as I might in the past to shake my unswerving loyalty to these teams, I have never been able to. Usually I am able to persuade myself (after, say, a 96 loss season, or after the strike-shortened season in the 1990's, or any time during the Dave Wannstedt era) that I have kicked the habit, that I don't need these teams any more, that I can do just fine on my own, thank you very much.

Of course, I can't fight it. Undying loyalty to the Bears was soaked into my dummy and I contracted it early in life. And unswerving, longsuffering allegiance to the Cubs goes back generations in my family (my mother's father was a fan) and believe me, with the Cubs, unswerving means longsuffering: anyone can have a dry spell, but 98 years? I can no more give up the Cubs and the Bears, no matter where I am in the world, than I could give up food and water.

And, sure enough, there I am, soon after solemnly swearing them off, lurking around the back of the garage, sneaking a few illicit puffs of the latest sports news, dreaming about next season.

Of course, with the Bears this year seems like next year, they're playing so well -- or, in the case of last night, playing so poorly yet still managing to pull out a win.

The Cubs, on the other hand, have nowhere to go but up.

And so they went and signed Lou Piniella as their manager.

He might be just what we need. But even if he isn't, he'll certainly be memorable. Check out this video clip:

(By the way, the true hero in this video is the first base umpire. Check out his cool as Lou gets in his face, and that subdued smile as Lou goes on his rampage. A true professional.)

This, my friends, is the baseball equivalent of Mike Ditka. Even if Dusty Baker were a better manager -- and by nearly all counts he was a great one -- his low key style didn't fit Chicago as well as Piniella's Ditka-style in-your-face emotionalism. I think we're gonna love him. Welcome to Chicago, Lou!


Blogger Aaron G said...

What a priceless clip!

Now the Padres need to find a manager; I hope they go for Dusty.

Sunday, October 29, 2006 11:29:00 PM  

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