We can learn a lot from our most difficult seasons.
Routine decisions are the easiest. I know which coffee I like best, which chair in my living room is most comfortable, and which jeans in my closet are flattering. Medium-hard decisions require more thought, but when pushed I can decide where to go for vacation and what color would look best should I decide to paint the kitchen. But the hardest decisions are the ones that have financial implications, because, let’s face it, a life without money would be incredibly difficult.
There is nothing wrong with being particular if you can afford it. Roy Oswalt can afford to be the Van Halen of baseball—with stipulations that he’ll play only for teams in a particular time zone, and that all the brown M&Ms be removed from the clubhouse bowls. Most of us, though, players and people alike, have to risk venturing into situations that might not be suitable to us so we can maintain mere subsistence, never mind repose in candy-coded splendor.
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Noting yet more changes in the Veterans' Committee and considering Lou Piniella's Hall of Fame case.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame's Board of Directors threw another changeup. One day after the Class of 2010 enjoyed its day in the sun, the board announced a restructuring of its procedures to consider managers, umpires, executives, and "long-retired players" for election to the Hall of Fame. In doing so, it buried the lead: the institution has put a pillow over the face of the Veterans Committee it radically expanded in 2001. In fact, the press release outlining the re-re-revamped procedures doesn't use the phrase "Veterans Committee" at all.
Sweet Lou, who announced Tuesday that he will retire from the Cubs at the end of the season, has earned his way to Cooperstown.
It certainly came as no surprise, at least to me, that Cubs manager Lou Piniella announced his retirement on Tuesday. Whether he stays retired remains to be seen but that's another matter for another day.
One more look at a manager's "best-of" team, this time the peak seasons at each position by Lou Piniella.
The by-now-familiar boilerplate: the inspiration here is Bill James' The Bill James Guide to Managers, which contains several of these "teams" for various historical managers. The idea is to find the peak player at each position and put together a “best-of” team. Previously I’ve compiled teams for Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa.
This was the most surprising of the three managerial all-star teams we’ve done so far, because there wasn’t the same range of great players and seasons to choose from as there was for Cox and LaRussa; I’m pretty sure either of their teams would lick Piniella’s in any seven-game series. There is a reason that both of those managers are going to go to the Hall of Fame and Piniella might not; they’ve had the horses, or created them (if you chose to give them that much credit) while Piniella worked with some lesser rosters. Here is Sweet Lou’s team, featuring fewer Yankees than I expected:
The Cubs are making lemonade with Zambrano and Soriano, along with other notes from around the majors.
It would be hard to find a more well-liked person in baseball than Jim Hendry. The Cubs' general manager is personable, egoless, and friendly. Perhaps it is Hendry's pleasant nature that has put the Cubs in the predicament of holding some of the worst contracts in baseball. Maybe he just can't say no to agents. Perhaps because Hendry is such a good guy, his superiors in the Tribune Co., the Cubs' previous owners, did not have the heart to stop him from overpaying for players.
Rookies Heyward and Jackson prepare for their debuts, Sweet Lou says he hasn't lost his fire, plus other notes from around the majors.
One of the biggest questions on the Grapefruit League circuit this spring has been: Who is the better prospect, Jason Heyward or Stephen Strasburg? Both Heyward, the Braves' right fielder, and Strasburg, the Nationals' right-hander, have been the talk of Florida throughout the exhibition season
A conversation with the Cubs' GM about his home park, baseball history and PEDs, and his relationship with his managers.
Jim Hendry doesn't shy away from the old-school label, but the straight-shooting Cubs GM is by no means narrow-minded in his approach. In his current position since July 2002, Hendry has seen the game through a wide array of lenses, having served in multiple capacities at both the college and professional levels. Named the National Coach of the Year after leading Creighton University to the College World Series in 1991, he subsequently spent three years working with the Florida Marlins before coming to Chicago in 1995. Since joining the Cubs organization, the native of Dunedin, Florida has worn multiple hats, including those of Director of Player Development, being in charge of scouting, and Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel.