After yesterday’s tough loss to the Nationals, Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella was in no mood to be second-guessed about his decisions in the game.

Piniella was asked by a freelance reporter whether he considered bunting after Marlon Byrd led off with a double in the eighth with the Cubs down 3-2.

Mike Fontenot popped out. Pinch hitter Chad Tracy struck out. Another pinch hitter, Xavier Nady, walked before Ryan Theriot popped out on a first-pitch swing.

“Bunting what?” Piniella shot back. “We’ve got a left-hand hitter (Fontenot) up. With a left-hand hitter up, you want to bunt? What kind of baseball do you play? Really, what kind of baseball do you play?

“How about getting him in? Or getting him over, by swinging? How about that?” Daily Herald.

That response was absolutely uncalled for, and Piniella should seriously consider apologizing.

Look, I’m not saying that Lou made the wrong decision in the game. In fact, I think it was the right call to let Fontenot swing away – he’s a professional, left-handed hitter, and he should be able to pull the ball, which would move the run over and give a chance at scoring. A bunt is not guaranteed to work.

But that said, Lou acts as though it would have been absolutely insane to bunt there. That’s just wrong. I can imagine a hundred similar scenarios in which a manager would and has gone with the bunt, and no one said boo. Those managers were “playing the same kind of baseball” as you, Lou.

As an aside, why does Bruce Miles who penned the above story – and who I believe is the best Cubs beat writer – feel it is necessary to state, explicitly, that the question was asked by “a freelance reporter”? Does that somehow make the question less valid? I don’t get that one, Bruce.

  • nickpip

    When Lou asked the reporter “What kind of baseball do you play?” the reporter missed an opportunity to say “The kind where, if you’re down by a run, late in the game and your batters couldn’t hit the broadside of a barnyard, you bunt a guy over to third, get the sac fly, tie the game and change momentum. Put pressure on the visiting team and give yourself the best chance to win.” Lou is absolutely wrong about this.

  • Bricklayer

    With a lefty batting, he will most likely bunt the ball up the right side. With the first baseman charging he’d be in much better position to make a play at third. Now unless Fontenot is a good enough bunter to have placed the ball on the left side, which he is not, you can advance the runner by hitting a lousy ground ball to the right side. Instead he pops it up and now it’s Lou’s fault for not bunting.

    That reporter is dumb and so is everyone else who think he was right.

    • Bric

      I agree there are 100 different things that could’ve happened and Lou probably made the right decision with Fontenoe. But why is everyone saying it HAD to be Fontenoe? I don’t think he’s a clutch hitter. Baker pinch hit two outs later… why couldn’t he’ve have gone up and bunted the ball? The point is Lou does seem to be a little too old, cranky, not thinking clearly, and probably does need to retire. Everything looks like a chore to him. When somebody agrues a call these days, he looks like he’s walking out there to continue argue not because he WANTS to, but because he HAS to. BTW, thinking about unneccesary pressure he puts on his players… look at what Kevin Greg is doing now. 5 out 5 saves and .95 ERA. Yes, I think Lou is a big part of why this team is 10-12 when they could easily be 14-8.

  • jstraw

    “That response was absolutely uncalled for, and Piniella should seriously consider apologizing.”


    • Kenny L.

      He shreded the guy for asking a valid question. Agree with Ace.

    • Ace

      What was hard to understand? A reporter asks a perfectly reasonable question – one we were all thinking about – and Lou treats him like he’s a moron for even daring to ask. Absolutely ridiculous.

      • jstraw

        I like grumpy managers chewing the heads off of “freelance reporters.” It’s cinematic.

  • JRose

    Brick-Being a lefthanded hitter and having played a bit of college ball and then coaching for 8 years, I will disagree with your thought that it is hard for a lefty to bunt down third. There were many times in high school when I would bunt down third for a base hit when the third baseman was playing back. For a professional hitter that is not a power hitter, Font should be able to bunt down either baseline. How long until Ryno is ready to take over the reigns…next year!!

    • Bricklayer

      What has the greater probability of success, a lefty advancing a runner to third with a bunt to the left side or hitting a ground ball to the right?

      Fontenot did not execute. This was was not a strategic mistake.

      • Bric

        That’s true, but the article (I think) is less about Fontinot not getting the job done and more about Lou not putting the team in the best position to win and listen to any dissention. He starting to remind me of those World War I generals who kept sending the troops out to try and get across the field over and over.
        General Pinella: “Okay boys, I know we’ve tried this six times before, but we’re gonna get over the hill this time!”
        Soldier #1: “Sir, maybe we should try to go AROUND the hill?”
        General Pinella: “Don’t argue with me! CHARGE!!!”
        (Sounds of machine gun fire)

        • Bricklayer

          Can you possibly misspell Fontenot’s name any more ways?

          You’re an idiot.

          • Bric

            Yeah, here’s one more way, how about: Fonta-No, you can’t advance ther runner, you don’t have enough plate discipline.

            • JRose

              Gotta agree with the General Lou comparison! How many times do we have to watch men get on second and the inning ends the runner is still at second. Lee and Ramirez are kiiling us right now…if they could start hitting I think a lot of our offensive problems would be cured! As far as what has a better chance of getting a runner to third, you have a lot less chance of hitting a pop fly while bunting! Fontenot seems to think he is a power hitter and failed to do his job, that I agree upon, but he should have never been in the situation to hit a pop fly had Lou done the right thing!

  • Cardfan

    When does Lou announce that he has actually been retired since June of 2009?

    • Ace

      Not soon enough.

  • ed

    apologize smologize

    • jstraw

      That should be “apologize, schmapologize”

      • ed

        what he said

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