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Lou Piniella doesn't think much of Steve Stone

Jun 11, 2010, 1:46 PM EDT

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 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.

  1. Jason - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Aaron, I certainly agree that criticism can come from any corner, but I certainly don’t agree with your “Piniella should have asked Stone” tact you come a bit off the rails. Lou has every right to fire back at Stone. If Stone wants to be regarded as some sort of newsman or journalist, he should be doing his due diligence and attempting to cover other angles and sides, otherwise he’s nothing more than an opinion columnist. Thats fine too, but then thats all he is.

  2. Jamie - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    It’s silly to snipe at analysts for doing their job, but I’m guessing this is about something personal between Piniella and Stone. Steve Stone lobbied for the Cubs GM job repeatedly when he was a broadcaster there. He also put an ownership group together to buy the Asback in the 90s, and reportedly was involved with an prospective ownership group when the Cubs were up for sale three years ago. Steve Stone obviously wants (but can’t get) a front office job, and I suppose Lou Piniella knows that.

  3. jason - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    I’m on your twitter feed Aaron….feel free to actually reply rather than just dismiss. As I said, what is Stone? He’s collecting and disseminating information through media…..the definition of a journalist.

  4. GimmeSomeSteel - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Lou should invite Stone to trade places for a week, then report back. I’ll bet that Lou would be better in the booth than Stone in the dugout.

  5. Bobomo - Jun 11, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    “That’s all I’ve got to say about that issue.” Followed by 2 1/2 more paragraphs.

  6. TheMix - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Gleeman, I read your articles on here as well as your blog on a regular basis, and I agree with nearly every bit of every article/blog. However, where I don’t agree with you generally is when you try to defend people like Steve Stone. You’re looking at this from a purely Steve Stone point of view. Now yes, Piniella gets paid millions to make certain decisions, but that doesn’t mean you or Steve Stone know any more about his job than I do. Piniella and a trough of other managers make ill-advised decisions on a normal basis, and you get to look at the mess they’ve made. In any case, I’d venture a guess that being a major league manager isn’t quite as easy as you would make it seem. Venturing another guess, I’d say making the “right” decision doesn’t always come down to sabrmetrics (which is unfortunate)….managers most likely have to deal with a certain number outside pressures neither you, or I, or Steve Stone are aware of.
    I’d say you’re most definitely allowed to criticize, just don’t pretend to know exactly what can/must be done when sitting in the manager’s chair. I can criticize President Obama all I want….doesn’t mean I have any real idea what it’s like to run this nation.

  7. Jamie - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    You obviously missed Lou’s brief stint with Fox.

  8. The Rabbit - Jun 11, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Aaron, I’ll guess be the contrarian among the writers because I agree completely with your point of view.
    As someone who has had “15 minutes of fame” in an endeavor other than baseball, I had several years of media support and criticism. When you are in the public eye, criticism goes with the territory.
    I don’t know if the media is “cherry picking” comments, but from what I’ve read, Lou has been getting increasingly more agitated (for lack of a better word) over the past couple of years and it isn’t just the Cubs’ performance.
    In all seriousness, it makes me wonder if he’s developing Alzheimer’s because he’s beginning to sound like some of the patients I know…and he’s the right age.

  9. Rod Cannon - Jun 11, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    Lou sounds a little egotistical when he says HE won 1,800 games as a manager. I’m sure the players on his teams don’t celebrate after a win by thanking Lou for winning the game.

  10. Rusty Shackleford - Jun 11, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    Poor Lou.
    Too bad Stone can’t be a good little puppet like some announcers. And by some announcers, I obviously mean Len Kasper and Bob Brenly.

  11. southsidemike - Jun 12, 2010 at 12:12 AM

    Let’s see who is fired from his current job first…
    My bet it is Lou

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  13. Bob Beach - Jun 13, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    I agree with you totally. People claim all the time they have the right to criticize. Such as the comment you don’t have to be an expert Chef to criticize the food or you don’t have to be a movie Director to criticize the movie. That is all good and well but tell me someone’s job when I don’t do or haven’t done the same job and let me rip into them and see how they react. I’ll bet it wouldn’t be much different than Lou.

  14. jnm123 - Jun 14, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Three things:
    1) Stone’s comments were mostly correct. Playing the guys with the high salaries ain’t working, so play Colvin. All the time. Can’t worry about being ‘fair’ to 5 outfielders.
    2) I question the accuracy of Stone’s comment that he has been offered “three GM jobs”. Maybe in the minors. No owner in his right mind would hire an arrogant, self-important, know-it-all jerk like Stone.
    3) It’s obvious that even IF he’s been offered any job in the front office or on the field in the bigs, Stone is SO sensitive to criticism that he’s declined the offer and prefers to be the one doing the dishing. That’s what Lou was trying to say, that Stone has no cojones whatsoever, that if he’s so $%&*-ing smart, walk a mile in Lou’s shoes managing a bunch of underachieving dolts & see how HE likes it.

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