Leave it to the psychedelic shamans running MLB.com's space roster of the third eye to turn Lou Piniella's "retirement" into the first eulogy I've ever read for a living person. While we've been talking about Sweet Lou's end (heh heh) being nigh for weeks now baseball acted like Kennedy had just been shot.
If no one saw this bit of face saving coming, then the MLB house organ did an absolutely miraculous job rounding up some of the best on the spot quotes I've ever read. But to be fair, I think they may have just told everyone that Lou died. To wit:
"Lou was ultra-competitive in every game," said (Mike) Scioscia. "He had a high expectation for what he would bring as a player, and he had a high expectation for what a team should do on a daily basis.
The funniest part about these quotes being in the past tense is that the Cubs STILL HAVE TO PLAY 67 MORE GAMES WITH HIM AS MANAGER. That mopey mug is gonna be riding the pine the rest of the Summer because nobody is man enough to just cut the cord. Must be some part of that baseball code. So just remember Chicago fans: Lou had high expectations for his teams... but for the rest of 2010 we're just gonna coast. See you next Spring.
"I'm not sure what I'm going to do," said (Joe) Torre, 70. "I'm not sure how much I want to work after this year. And that's what I have to figure out for myself with the help of my family. Because my family only really wants what I want because they don't want to have to hang around me if I'm miserable. Again, I'm not of a mind at this point in time to think I'm going to be doing this anywhere else."
OF COURSE Joe Torre took the opportunity to make Piniella's fantasy death all about him. "Hey Joe, did you hear Lou Piniella is [airquotes] retiring?" "Yes, I did. Let me relay to you this clever thing I like to say about my family that probably contains some truth about the emotional rollercoaster of neglect I've put them on." Blech. Who's next?
"We're certainly going to miss a pioneer," said Texas manager Ron Washington.
Who can ever forget those days in Seattle when Lou would sit on the bench loading a musket rifle and wearing a coonskin cap? Speaking of Seattle, didn't Lou see Ken Griffey Jr. read the writing on the wall this season and just bow out immediately? Student surpasses the teacher on that one. What say you, Joe Girardi?
"He's had great teams in both leagues. I was talking a little bit today about the bullpen he had with the Reds in 1990. They were called the Nasty Boys. They were filthy."
What is this a book report? Good statement of fact, Joe. But I think your thesis is lacking. "Remember that time you had the Nasty Boys? That was awesome."
Really, my whole point here is just to bring you what may the GREATEST DUSTY BAKER QUOTE OF ALL TIME. And I'm a guy that used to create entire posts translating his ephemeral wisdom. Here you go, folks. The master is here.
"There's a time for us all. I'm a little bit surprised he announced it now. Everybody will step down sooner or later. In life, you're born, you live, reproduce if you're lucky enough and then die. It's pretty simple."
Pretty simple??? More like pretty heavy, Coach Reaper. We're all gonna die, but we might have sex first. That's Dusty's motto and now it's mine. I love that man.
So happy trails, Lou Piniella... a few months from now. As Alex Rodriguez said about you, "He loved winning as much as breathing." If I've learned anything from MLB.com it's that you've stopped doing both.