A Tip of the Cap to Barry Rozner

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I was glad that our publisher, Steve Rhodes, brought to my attention some of the recent work of Daily Herald sports columnist Barry Rozner regarding the sad state of the Cubs.

Shame on me for falling into a Tribune and Sun-Times stupor and not reading Rozner on a regular basis. He's a terrific writer and many of his intelligent observations about the Cubs are spot on.

Here are the links to three of his recent columns regarding the announcement of Lou Piniella's retirement last month, Piniella's abrupt departure, and the possibility of Joe Girardi becoming the next manager.

I still believe, however, that Piniella was the right guy for the job four years ago and I'm glad that Rozner gave him the credit he's due for righting the Cubs' listing ship in 2007. But he is right about Piniella's passion. Lou lost the fire in his belly some time last year when he realized that he was stuck with underproductive players like Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, and Kosuke Fukudome. The job was no longer fun. As the losses mounted this year, it continued to become more miserable.

Are there some things Piniella could have done this year? Sure. Administering some discipline like benching a player for loafing might have been nice. Not being so rigid in filling out his lineup card also would have been welcome. Derrek Lee in the three spot and Ramirez hitting cleanup was a disastrous formula.

But let's face it, no matter what Piniella might have done, this team still would not be a winner. As a former colleague of mine, Phil Arvia, once wrote : "You can't polish a turd."

One more thing regarding the managerial search. When did Girardi become the next coming of John McGraw? His managerial career is off to a tremendous start, but let's keep in mind that he now manages a team that can afford to sign Nick Johnson as a free agent to play DH, and when he is injured, go out and trade for Lance Berkman. It also has deep enough pockets to bring in other late-season reinforcements like Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood.

The Yankees spend more money than the Cubs and they spend their's more wisely.

But I agree with Rozner. It's hard to believe that Girardi will not be managing the Yankees in 2011, regardless of what Harold Reynolds says.

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