Lou Piniella has apparently decided it’s a good idea to publicly address his critics.
Last week he voiced displeasure about Ken Rosenthal suggesting the Cubs should fire him, calling the FOXSports.com writer “my little buddy.” Today he sharpened the knives a bit, lashing out at White Sox announcer Steve Stone for criticizing moves the Cubs’ manager has made.
Some of the highlights:
We’ve got a lot of people here that haven’t managed and won any games in the big leagues, but they know everything. You know? They really do. I think they should try to put the uniform on and try this job and see how they like it when they get criticized unjustly. That’s all I’ve got to say about that issue. But you get tired of it. I’m trying to do the best job I possibly can and the only people I need to listen to are the people in my organization, that’s it.
I get tired of being nitpicked and tired of being criticized unjustly. Why don’t they talk to me first before they do it, OK, and get my viewpoints and my feelings and then make a determination. … I won over 1,800 games as a manager and I’m not a damn dummy, that I can tell you. There are only 13 other [managers] that have won more games than me. I guess I think I know what the hell I’m doing. …
And Steve Stone? He’s got enough problems doing what he does with the White Sox. What job has he had in baseball besides talking on television or radio? What has he done? Why isn’t he a farm director and bring some kids around? Why isn’t he a general manager, and put the uniform on and been a pitching coach? Why hasn’t he been a field manager. There’s 30 teams out there that could use a guy’s expertise like that. I’m tired of some of these guys, I really am.
Piniella echoes a common refrain among those with prominent jobs who’re being criticized, which is that people aren’t qualified to criticize them unless they’ve done the same job. Which is, of course, bollocks. Whether or not Stone’s criticisms are worth listening to is certainly up for debate, but they’re legitimate for the same reason someone can criticize a chef without being an expert cook themselves or criticize a movie without having experience as a director.
Beyond that, Piniella repeatedly called out Stone for not speaking to him directly, saying stuff like “why don’t they talk to me first?” and “at least give me the courtesy of defending myself and giving my explanations on why things are done or not done” because “that’s only fair.” However, when asked if he made an effort to speak to Stone before going public with his criticisms, Piniella replied: “I don’t care about talking to him. I’m talking to you for them.”
Being criticized can be a very tough thing, but having to deal with it is part of why Piniella gets paid millions of dollars to do his job. The next time he has a bad meal or sees a terrible movie or hears an annoying song, I wonder if he’ll avoid voicing criticism because, after all, if he’s never done those jobs himself who is he to say anything? Stone has never managed in the big leagues, but he was a Cy Young-winning pitcher who spent 11 seasons in the majors and has been announcing games for three decades. If he’s not allowed to criticize, what chance do the rest of us have?
UPDATE: Here’s the video of Piniella going off on Stone.