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.