Lou Piniella doesn't think much of Steve Stone

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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.

Oh good, it’s “Yasiel Puig is a showboat” season

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With the Los Angeles Dodgers punching their ticket to the World Series, Yasiel Puig is now going to be the subject of commentary by people who tend not to care about Yasiel Puig until it’s useful for them to write outraged columns or go on talk radio rants about baseball deportment.

We got a brief teaser of this last night when, after scoring the Dodgers’ ninth run on a Logan Forsythe double, TBS analyst Ron Darling criticized Puig for his “shenanigans” and “rubbing it in.” Never mind that his third base coach was waving him home and that, if he didn’t run hard, he was just as likely to be criticized for dogging it. In other news, baseball teams don’t stop trying in the fourth inning of baseball games, nor should they.

That was just an appetizer, though. The first real course of the “Puig is a problem” feast we’re likely to be served over the next week and a half comes from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who wrote it even before the Dodgers won Game 5 last night:

If you were raised to love baseball and to recognize the smart, winning kind from everything less, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is insufferable. As the sport is diminished by professionals who disregard the basic act of running to first base as a matter of style, Puig, an incurable home-plate poser, often makes turning doubles and triples into singles appear effortless . . . In the postseason, Puig continues to behave as if he’s in the Home Run Derby. He even seems to relish his high-risk flamboyant foolishness despite frequent backfires.

This may as well be a fill in the blanks column from 2013 or 2014, when “Puig is a flashy showboater who costs his team more than he gives it” columns were all the rage. It ignores the fact that Puig, commonly dinged for being lazy, worked his butt off in 2017, particularly on defense, to the point where he has a strong case for a Gold Glove this year. It also ignores his .455/.538/.727 line in the NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks and his .389/.500/.611 line against the Cubs in the NLCS. In the regular season he set career highs for games, homers, RBI, stolen bases and almost set a career high for walks despite having seventy fewer plate appearances than he did back in 2013 when he walked 67 times. He’s not the MVP candidate some thought he might be, but he’s a fantastic player who has been a key part of the Dodgers winning their first pennant in 29 years.

But the dings on Puig from the likes of Mushnick have rarely been about production. They’ve simply been about style and the manner in which he’s carried himself. To the extent those issues were legitimate points of criticism — particularly his tardiness, his relationships with his teammates and his at times questionable dedication — they have primarily been in-house concerns for the Dodgers, not the casual fan like Mushnick. On that score the Dodgers have dealt with Puig and, by all accounts, Puig has responded pretty well. An occasional lapse to be sure, but nothing which makes him a greater burden than a benefit. I mean, if he was, would be be batting cleanup in a pennant-clinching game?

So if the beef with Puig is not really about baseball, what could Phil Mushnick’s issue with him possible be?

I, for one, have no idea whatsoever.