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Article:Sweet Potato Lou

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It's getting out of hand. And I mean rapidly.

No, I don't mean the Cubs season -- although that wasn't a bad guess, considering they've dropped eight of 12 and their bats appear to have lost a great deal of the April Magic to which I'd grown accustomed. But no, something else entirely is spinning wildly out of control.

It's the complaining.

No, I'm not going all Mike Downey on you. Don't worry, I'd never chastize Cubs fans for ferociously supporting their team -- hell, if I did, I'd leapfrog Hillary Clinton in the Hypocrite Standings faster than you could say pancake; which is pretty damn fast -- it's only what, two syllables? So fear not, Cubs Nation: I come not to chastize, but to complain... about the complaining, that is.

The whining has grown too loud; there's far too much moaning over Soriano in the leadoff spot (although Lord knows he doesn't belong there, or anywhere -- except perhaps Iowa for a week or two); there's too much angered clamor over Cedeno continually being cheated out of at-bats (although Lord knows he's earned it, seeing as he's the best infielder on the roster); there's too much arguing over the centerfield position (which, Lord certainly knows, is Felix Pie's rightful territory -- yes, that's in spite of Reed Johnson's successes and Pie's consistency problems at the plate; if given the number of at-bats Soriano's "earned" since returning from injury, Pie will finally blossom -- I'm convinced all he needs is an extended chance, something Lou has failed to realize or dole out, as of yet).

Seriously though, the bitching's grown excessive. We all get it, really. Soriano doesn't belong in the leadoff spot. Cedeno needs to play every day, and where matters little. Pie needs a 10-day stint in center; if you're going to waste at-bats attempting to light a match under Soriano, there is no excuse for the young centerfielder -- the one that's been teetering on the bring of legitimacy for a long time now -- to be restricted to 8th inning pinch-hitting and defensive replacement duty. None whatsoever.

So, stop arguing, will you? We all agree here.

The complaints have been heard, trust me. Unfortunately enough, said complaints registered with the entirety of Cubs Nation, and not Lou, the only one with the opinion that matters (pity, too).

There's no reason to hope -- or argue, or yell, or scream -- for otherwise, though. Trust me, if I thought there was any way Lou would budge on any of this stuff, I'd address the column towards him, and not the Cubs fans. Notice the opposite is the case.

Lou isn't hearing the complaints; he won't have it. Soriano will strike out to begin every game 'til his unstretched and slow-moving legs fall off; Cedeno will ride the pine most of the time, his astronomical average, RBI total, and OPS failing to register on the radar screen; Pie and his potential will rot on the bench as well.

Cubs fans, we knew what we were getting the moment Piniella signed. He's stubborn. That's the way it's gonna be. Learn to live with it.

I'm not saying I agree with Piniella. I'm saying keep your cool when it comes to Piniella's decision making. It's useless. He's not going to change. I thought maybe he might budge after bearing witness to Soriano's embarassing performances over the past two weeks, but that silly hope was extinguished soon enough. Soriano's staying put (that sound you now hear is the wailing and gnashing of teeth; don't be alarmed).

In spite of all that, and in spite of me telling you off for clamoring about Lou's abysmal decision making, I'm about to rip on him. Hypocritical, say you? Nay -- I'm certainly angry with his decisions, although I realize it's no use arguing. I've chosen to vent on a differing topic, one that's yanked my chain to a far worse degree.

Lou is a vegetable. I'm convinced. So convinced, in fact, that I've begun to refer to him as Sweet Potato Lou -- get it, he's called Sweet Lou, you just add "Potato" because it's a's good, trust me.

Sure, Piniella will take a light jog out to shoot the breeze with the home plate umpire after an iffy third strike call once in a blue moon; sure, he'll give a sign to Mike Quade at third every so often; sure, he'll give the TV cameras the general appearance of actually watching the game -- don't be fooled. Piniella barely functions anymore; while he may blink, eat, drink and speak (albeit slowly), he may as well be, well, a sweet potato -- and I wish I were exaggerating.

Don't believe me? Tune in to one of Piniella's postgame press conferences. Or, just watch a game. WGN will show Sweet Potato Lou soon enough. You'll see Sweet Potato Lou standing, with hands firmly clasped behind his back; a blank, almost-thoughtless stare etched across his graying face; you may even catch him beginning to drool, although he's usually quick to wipe it away.

All joking and offensive comparisons aside, Lou simply has no fire in his belly. I stated earlier that, upon his signing, we knew we were getting a stubborn ox -- what we didn't know was the base-throwing, red-in-the-face, straight-to-YouTube-tantrum-making instigator was long gone, and in his place was a slow-speaking, passive, uninterested vegetable. The innocence of a hopeful fan base!

Riddle me this: Would the Piniella of old have stood for the game-altering botched call on Fontenot's admittedly ill-advised attempt at home plate last night? Although it was definitely a close call, the replays made it clear: Fontenot's front leg grazed the plate a moment before the tag was applied to his back leg. He was safe, and although Sweet Potato Lou may not have been able to tell from his perch in the dugout, it was worth arguing. It was absolutely, positively, definitively worth arguing. That call was the game. Yet Sweet Potato Lou sat and watched as his team tallied another in the loss column.

In that same situation, what sort of show is put on by the Lou of old? He storms out, face rapidly reddening, arms wildly flailing. He gets his point across forcefully, he likely is tossed; yet he demonstrates his unrivaled passion to his team and his fans -- the latter of which currently doubt the mere existence of said questionable passion.

I know Lou is reeling in the years. I know it won't be long before he is wearing adult diapers and may very well be an actual vegetable -- knock on wood, jokes aside, I sincerely hope for anything but that -- yet right now he is the manager of a struggling team, and certainly not in a rest home. The dugout is no place for a sweet potato.

So while I may not smile upon the constant criticizing of Piniella's decision making, please realize it's only because nothing is going to change, and that arguing with nothing standing to be gained is about as utterly useless as it gets. So if you must argue, at least turn down the volume.

Another option would be to focus your ceaseless frustration on the Sweet Potato aspect of Lou -- scream and argue about his lack of fire 'til your heart's content. Or, until he convinces us of otherwise. Let's just hope that won't take long. I know sweet potatoes go stale rather quickly...

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