As I’ve become more baseball-educated over the last year or so, I’ve had to deal with finding out a lot of disturbing things. Like that calling someone a “clutch hitter” is just a meaningless cliche, or that ERA is not in fact the be all end all stat of quantifying pitching performance. In a way, I feel like learning more about the game has taken away my innocence, and nothing I’ve learned is a better example of that than learning that Lou Piniella may not have been such a great manager. That seems to be the general consensus in the sabermetric Mariner community, and while I’m not denying that it might be true, it came as a bit of a shock to me. After all, I grew up watching sweet Lou throw bases and kick dirt on umpires. I was a naive fan, and he was the manager of the best baseball teams this city has ever seen. Not only that, but the whole city seemed to love him – how could I not view him as a good manager?
Now, I hear tales of poor bullpen management and bias towards veteran players, and I have to admit, it’s painful. It doesn’t change my feelings toward him, though. I’ll always have fond memories of his tenure in Seattle, and the game of baseball is certainly going to miss his familiar face. So goodbye Lou, and thanks for the ride.