John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus posted his mid-week update yesterday, and had some amusing quotes from former Yankee and current Cubs manager Lou Pinella. Here’s the story:
Those who have been around Cubs manager Lou Piniella this spring say he seems rejuvenated. However, he takes exception to that observation. The Cubs finished second in the National League Central last season after winning the division the previous two years and a perception started to grow that the fiery skipper had lost his spark.
“I was hurt by it because that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Piniella told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’ve got no quit in me. I never had and I never will. I’m very competitive.”
Piniella, though, admittedly toned down his on-field theatrics last season. He has come to understand that kicking dirt and his cap all over the infield during an argument with the umpire is not becoming of a 66-year-old man.
“‘I like myself a heck of a lot better, I’ll be honest with you,” Piniella said. ”I don’t like getting kicked out of games and sitting in my office and having a beer and thinking, ‘What the hell did I do that for? ”I know the fans enjoy a show. I remember when I first started managing, (Yankees owner George Steinbrenner) would call me into his office and say, ‘Look, part of your job is to put some fannies in the seats, and when you go out there to argue, put on a damn good show.’ And it worked then but it doesn’t now.”
Speculation that Piniella might retire after this season has also led some to believe he has mellowed. However, he says finishing second last year makes him hungrier than ever in 2010, even if he is now Sweet and More Mellow Lou.
‘Believe me, I come to the ballpark every day, and I want to get the job done for this club, for the new owners and for the city and the organization, and, of course, for the players,” Piniella said. “There’s no apathy in me, believe me. No. If there was any apathy in me at all, I’d go home. I want to win. The losses hurt.”
I find that highlighted part hilarious because I can relate 100%. Also, I think the fact that it doesn’t work now reflects the changing demographics of the game’s audience. When I was a kid in the 1970′s and went to a game with my Dad, the crowds were almost all men, with a few wives sprinkled in here and there. If you look at old photos of Baseball crowds, they are almost always exclusively all men. But now whenever I go to a game, I’ll see complete families with wives and daughters, guys with their girlfriends, pairs of women attending games. Even more so in the fancy new ballpark than in the old facility. The Yankee blogosphere has it’s share of blogs from the female perspective, with our very own Rebecca as a prime example. The gender composition of the Baseball fan base is different today than it was 40 years ago. As such, Pinella’s antics play differently today than they did in the 1970′s and 80′s. Baseball has grown in recent years to levels unseen in it’s history, so by it’s very nature that means that they’ve attracted groups beyond the traditional core audience. Pinella’s come to learn that he’s not just ‘hanging out with the boys’ anymore.
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