Memo from the Sports Desk: Fire Lou

31 May 2010

By Raoul Duke Jr.

Ed. Note: We received Duke’s latest column via the Mojo Wire at 3:00 a.m. and the staff of Pure Gibberish has been editing and researching it ever since.

I already knew what the 6’3”, 235 lb., half-blind black Puerto Rican Freddy Romeo wanted to talk about before I even saw him at the Five Paces Inn – the woeful state of the Cubs.

Normally, that isn’t a new topic. The season is 1/3 over and they three games under .500, in third place and six games in back of the Reds.

“Yo, what is that idiot Lou Piniella doing?” was his greeting. I had seen that he had a head start on me, by at least five rounds. Catching up would be futile since Freddy can out drink most boozers at an online video advertising sales conference in Vegas.

I told him, “Look man it’s still early. They can turn it around.”

“You can’t be fucking serious! The only turn going on is my stomach. Remember the ulcer I developed in 1989 when Damon Berryhill went down? It’s back.”

He had a point. I joined him at the bar and ordered a Vodka Stinger. If we were going to dissect this team I thought hard liquor might do the trick.

Here’s what we know about the 2010 Cubs: they can’t hit, they have no power and their bullpen is great at losing games. This is not what the new owners thought they were getting from Sam Zell who bankrupted the Tribune Company.

“At this point I think the Ricketts Family was involved in the biggest default credit swap since the one I negotiated in 2007.” he said. “The less said about that the better.”

Freddy and I went to the second game the Cubs played here in Atlanta. We only made it to one game and are probably barred from the press box due to our behavior. I doubt that beer tub girl will be the same after Freddy shoved her head in it and told her to look for more beer even after she said she was out. At least the police said that a criminal charge would not be filed thanks to some fast talking by your humble writer. (Ed. Note: As far as we can determine, no charges were ever filed.)

What we saw wasn’t pretty – no offense. The starting pitching looked good. Ryan Dempster was a little wobbly in the first three frames but then shut it down and notched 9 strikeouts before being pulled for reliever John Grabow.

“Fucking Grabow,” he barked out. I don’t blame him; Grabow seems to have nothing this year and Cubs manager Lou Piniella loves this guy whose stats wouldn’t be good enough to get him on a team at Pottawatomie Park. Grabow is 0-3, giving up at least one hit in his last seven appearances. His era is 9.45 and hitters are teeing off on him at a .356 clip.

“What does Lou see in him that you and I don’t?” He asked.

“Dude, I asked the same thing in game three.” The Cubs were up 2-0 after Randy Wells pitched six brilliant innings. Lou called for Grabow and I stood up in my second row seats and yelled at Lou, “Were you not at yesterday’s game?”

“No shit! We were up 2-1 when Grabow gave a two-run homer to Chipper Jones.” He had to remind me.

After I made my comment Turner Field security ushered me out and tried to pull my credentials. The joke is on them, I have about 30 different credentials thanks to Photoshop and InDesign.

Another round came and Freddy bellowed out something I thought he would never say, “They need to fire Lou!”

“What? You have had too many.” I told him.

“No listen, he’s out of contract at the end of the year. There is an option but the Cubs won’t exercise it. The way they are playing why not pull the trigger on him.

“We are just a third of the way through, they won’t pull the trigger.”

“Gimme some offensive numbers there Stat Boy.”

“They are in the top third of the NL with a .261 average but they are in the bottom third in run production scoring runs just 219 in 51 games. The bullpen needed stability and the answer was to move ace Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen.”

“Okay, that one shocked me, what is he making a year, $18-million this year? Did he do anything out of the pen?”

“He lowered his era by 1.28 while pitching 12 innings.”

“While they are at it, let Hendry go too.”

“Wait a second, Prophet, you and he talk all the time about deals, you were the one who told me we were getting Nady.”

“Yeah and look how good that turned out. The guy connects less often that a mathlete at a Russian wife swap.”

We each ordered another; I could tell he was going to get to the meat of his argument.

“Look, the team ain’t going nowhere, that is a given, even you predicted them to finish third with a losing record and that’s where they are.”

Even in his accelerated state of inebriation he could remember my predictions well enough.

“Fire Lou I tell ya. Hendry is bringing up guys from AAA faster than you don’t pick up bar tabs. So why not have the guy who is managing AAA right now step in as manager.”

“And who would that be?”

“Ryno. I say keep Lou until June 22 and then bring Ryno on June 23.”

“Prophet, you are vicious. Too bad they are on the road vs. the Mariners otherwise the crowd would go wild.”

“See you do remember the date.”

“Of course,” I said, that was the date of the Ryne Sandberg Game for the uninitiated.

“I know you ain’t betting on the Cubs anymore.”

“Nah my bookie cut me off, the vig alone is $15 large. I am ducking him and the census guy at every turn.”

“Well bet on this, Lou and Hendry gone and Ryno manages the team before year’s end.”

“I still have one bookie who will take bets, that guy Millman uses in Chicago, Elliot Benn.”

“Where can I get a hold of him?”

“I think he hangs out at the Starbucks in Frankfurt, IL hustling the baristas and businessmen.” (Ed. Note: while I do remember said Mr. Benn, he was not to my knowledge a bookmaker. He did drive a an Oldsmobile Cutlass, wore Yves St. Laurent clothing and lived in a Lincoln Park penthouse but that could be pure coincidence.)

As the night finally collapsed into the harsh sunlit morning I agreed that as usual he had a point. The Cubs are mediocre at best. Lee & Ramirez aren’t hitting and Theriot had one walk last month and it wasn’t to Bernie’s where the usuals could have told him to take more pitches. As for Hendry going, I have to agree with him there too. Since the signing of Ted Lilly before undergoing angioplasty, Hendry’s moves have been horrible.

On the plus side, there is Ivy on the vines, the Bleacher Babes are wearing less and less, the Old Style is still flowing and it is summer. Sure the Cubs look bad but a Tuesday afternoon in the bleachers always makes things look a lot better.

Cazart mortals.


One Response to “Memo from the Sports Desk: Fire Lou”

  1. Keep up the good work! I am a Yankee fan for a reason.

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