Results tagged ‘ Bobby Cox ’

8/22 Saying goodbye

It was an emotional day Sunday at Wrigley Field as Lou Piniella bid farewell to the Cubs and to the game. After more than 3,500 games and 23 years as manager and nearly 1,800 games as a player, he is beginning his retirement early. Piniella heads home to Tampa, Fla., because family comes first over baseball. His 90-year-old mother is ill.

Said catcher Koyie Hill: “I think we all know that’s where he should be.”

Piniella’s career ended the same way the season started, with a 16-5 loss to the Braves. That was the Cubs’ Opening Day score as well, also a loss.

“Today’s game wasn’t pretty but I’d rather reflect on the good times I’ve had here,” Piniella said. “Lot of good times, lot of good people. It’s been a lot of fun. The pregame with Bobby Cox was special. He’s been a good friend for a long time. I appreciate my four years here with the Cubs organization. The city’s special, the people here are special. I’m appreciative.

“I cried a little bit after the game,” he said. “I get emotional — I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be. This will be the last time I put on a uniform. It’s been very special to me.”

He broke down for a few seconds, then collected himself. The players couldn’t help but shed a tear or two, too.

“That’s the human factor is the man deserves a lot better than that,” Hill said. “Same old story [in the game] — it’s not lack of effort or anything like that. It’s just the way it goes. I don’t know if you could’ve scripted it any worse.

“He’s given his life to the game,” Hill said. “We all appreciate that. We appreciate the opportunity we had to play for him and we’re going to miss him.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/18 Why D-Lee said "yes"

Derrek Lee rejected a potential trade to the Angels in late July but said yes to being traded to the Braves. Why?

“It just felt right,” Lee said. “The main thing is we have six weeks to go and Atlanta is in first place and they’re playing great baseball. I understand what Jim’s trying to do here so it just felt right. The chance to go to the postseason, it’s hard to pass up. They have a great organization and I’ve always respected Bobby [Cox]. The timing, it just didn’t seem right then. The Angels were close but not right there. Moving your family for that period of time — this time, it seemed right.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/5 Good vibe

It was a nice moment when Lou Piniella took the lineup card out to home plate to exchange it with Atlanta’s Bobby Cox who is retiring after this season. It was even nicer for the Cubs fans at Turner Field when Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer in the first off Derek Lowe.

Piniella has been on World Series champions in the past. Can he tell if a team will make it in Spring Training?

“Can you tell? You get a feeling,” Piniella said Monday. “There are so many things that happen during the course of the year from staying healthy to getting players from the Minor League system who can help if there are injuries to having really good performances from people. As a team, you should feel confident that you can win.

“Can you really tell about the World Series? I don’t really think so. Once you’ve won once, you feel better. There aren’t that many repeat winners any more. I like our team here. We have a chance to do some really nice things this summer. We’ve just got to stay after it.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/5 Bobby & Lou

This is the last season at the helm for Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. He and Lou Piniella, who is in the last year of his contract with the Cubs, talked at Turner Field on Sunday before the Cubs workout. Did they talk about retirement plans?

“He said he had a long Spring Training in Florida and was looking forward to the start of the season and that he likes his team, as do I,” Piniella said. “Nothing one way or another.”

Piniella is 66, and said he didn’t realize Cox was only a couple years older.

“He retired at an early age,” Piniella said. “He’s had a heck of a Major League career managing. He’s a good friend and has been a great manager and ambassador for baseball. We talked about quite a few things. Actually. he’s looking forward to this season as am I.”

One other person who knows Cox well is Greg Maddux, who won three of his Cy Young awards with the Braves.

“Bobby is a great manager and it was a privilege to play for him the 11 years I got to,” said Maddux, now an assistant to general manager Jim Hendry. “A great man, great manager and he’s a winner. He knows how to win. He’s great with people. He taught me so much about the game that when things come up, ‘Oh yeah, Bobby taught me that.’ ‘Oh, yeah, I saw Bobby do that.’ ‘Oh, this is how Bobby would do it.’ He’s one of the best.”

This spring was the first chance Maddux had to be around Piniella.

“Lou’s very good, very good with people,” Maddux said. “I haven’t been able to spend near the time around him that I did with Bobby. I’ve enjoyed being around him this spring and enjoyed watching how he does things. I’ve enjoyed watching him and the relationships that he has with his coaches and players. Spring Training is kind of a different thing. Things change once the season starts and I haven’t been around [Piniella] then. I like Lou and wish him great success.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/24 Wish list

Lou Piniella already has his Christmas wish list done.

“You ask me, the biggest thing we need here is an RBI bat,” Piniella said Thursday, looking ahead to the 2010 season. “We need an RBI bat to sit in the middle of the lineup with [Aramis] Ramirez and Derrek Lee.”

That’s what the Cubs thought they had in Milton Bradley, but he delivered 40 RBIs in 124 games. Jake Fox has driven in 41 in 76 games. The Cubs will try to move Bradley this offseason after a turbulent first year in Chicago.

Does this RBI man have to bat left-handed?

“I don’t care if he hits between his legs, how’s that?” Piniella said. “Right-handed, left-handed, doesn’t really matter.”

But where would this big RBI guy play? If Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano can rebound, the Cubs may be able to take care of that missing piece in-house.

“We’re going to ask Soto to really work hard this winter and come to Spring Training in good shape and ready to go,” Piniella said. “Soriano, we need a good year from Soriano. One thing with Alfonso, and I’m going to have a nice talk with him, is when we’re going to rest him, we’re going to rest him. We have to keep him healthy and strong the whole year.

“Some of the people we have here need to pick it up some,” he said. “Adding one good infusion, an RBI bat, is the best thing we could do.”

Just look at the St. Louis Cardinals, who are on the verge of clinching the National League Central. Matt Holliday made a huge difference. The Cubs have scored 676 runs heading into Thursday’s game against the Giants. Last year, they led the National League with 855 runs scored. Another RBI guy would be nice.

Atlanta’s Bobby Cox was re-signed for 2010, and announced it will be his last year. Piniella has one more year left on his contract with the Cubs and he’s made it clear that 2010 will be his last as well.

“I don’t see myself managing beyond next year, I really don’t,” Piniella said. “I see giving it everything I’ve got to get this organization back on top and I look forward to that challenge.”

He feels he’d have a little better chance with that big RBI guy, too.

— Carrie Muskat