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Lou and Joe

Yesterday, when Cubbies skipper Lou Piniella sat down for his pre-game media discussion, somebody asked him to reflect on how he's changed over the years. Piniella had his arms crossed. He leaned forward; an edginess made every movement of his look stiff. His eyes were little beads, just shaded under the flat brim of his cap. He wore a ratty Cubs sweatshirt, part of the Belichick Fall 2008 collection. Piniella scarcely thought about the question.

"As you get older you mellow, and I've mellowed quite a bit," Piniella said, though his tone said otherwise. "I'm still competitive. But yeah."


If in fact Piniella has mellowed, he's merely the TBS version of a still-violent movie. Maybe you see a little less, but you still get the point. But for this series, that's just part of the allure. Place Piniella across the field form Joe Torre, and you get a series with an unmatched duel of personalities. Torre is Mr. Calm, the steady guiding hand. Piniella is the crusty old buttkicker, whose cleats never saw a dirt patch worth preserving.

Yet somehow, Torre and Piniella profess great respect for one another. Each refers to the other as a friend. And despite their personality differences, they share enough baseball history to back it up. Both were born in the early 1940s. Each spent time as manager of the Yankees. Each is now managing his fifth team, after more than a decade in the opposite league. Each is now credited with added a missing emotion to a division-winning team. Both have won championships. Torre once lost in the playoffs to the old most famous cursed team, Piniella now manages the most famous cursed team. They ran into one another at dinner Tuesday night.

Mutual admiration? You bet.

"If you're here," Torre told Piniella, "it must be a pretty good restaurant."

By Chico Harlan  |  October 2, 2008; 6:49 PM ET
Categories:  Cubs , Dodgers  
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Next: The Great CC: Not So Great Tonight


Great post, Chico, thanks. Here's hoping the Cubs win tonight and make this a competitive series. Brutal start time though.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | October 2, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

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