With the Cubs and the White Sox going south the last few days, both Lou Piniella and Ozzie Guillen lost it. Yet Sweet Lou’s tirades seemed real, while Ozzie’s seemed a bit of a masquerade, even though his language was harsher. Piniella barely made it through a minute of a post-game media conference after last Thursday’s blown save by Kerry Wood, triggered by a key misplay by left fielder Alfonso Soriano, and that was after bashing a Gatorade cooler. (No doubt he wished he’d had a water cooler on hand to get real satisfaction.) When some scribe wondered afterward if he’d thought about replacing Soriano with a better defender, say Reed Johnson, in the ninth inning, Lou blasted back, “You’re damn right I thought about it. You think I’m stupid or something?” Then he stormed out muttering profanities, perhaps having learned something from the recent Lee Elia anniversary.
Guillen, by contrast, held no profanities back after the Sox’ fourth straight loss before the game on Sunday, but word is he was actually quite subdued and not angry while making the comments, and the old scapegoat — the idea that the Cubs get preferential media treatment while the Sox are “the bitch of Chicago” — made it seem he was just throwing up a smoke screen for his players, especially as he was talking about the situation in Chicago while on the road in Toronto, where there would soon be a much better whipping boy available in a badly blown call by umpire Dale Scott (something that no doubt would have cost Guillen money in fines if he had blamed the loss on it). As it was, neither outburst worked to inspire the teams. The Cubs lost their ensuing series in Saint Louis and Monday’s series opener in Cincinnati, while the Sox were swept in Toronto with losses Sunday and Monday night. Time perhaps to start shouting at the players.