Has Lou Piniella lost his fire?

…that’s what some Cubs fans believe, although Sweet Lou says he’s just more in control now.

“I still have fire,” he said Thursday morning in an interview with the Tribune, hours before the Cubs’ 6-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers. “It’s more under control. The amazing thing is when I was younger and I showed it more, then I’d be criticized at times, ‘This guy is showing too much [fire].’

“I understand this business. I’ve been in it a long time, and the bottom line is you have to win. It doesn’t matter if you have fire, no fire, passion, no passion, stupidity, smartness … all of these things don’t even come into the equation. What comes into the equation — for the fans, for the organization, for the people watching — is you either win or you lose. It’s a simple thing.

“I’m doing the best I can. That’s all I can do. Last year we won 97 games and I was the manager of the year in the National League. And all of a sudden this year, I don’t have any fire? That’s why we’re not winning?

“I don’t buy that at all.”

Everyone do themselves a favor and re-read that second quote by Piniella – the one about winning and losing, because he hits the nail on the head. Fans want to see their teams win – period. If the team is losing, then the manager, general manager and hot dog vendors aren’t doing enough. If the team is winning, then the manager, general manager and hot dog vendors are the best manager, general manager and hot dog vendors this world has ever seen.

Fans who watch their teams on a nightly basis aren’t stupid – they know what’s going on and they have a good grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of their team. But in general, most fans are irrational and they lose site of the bigger picture when their team starts to lose.

Piniella hasn’t lost his fire – the Cubs simply can’t hit right now. Lou kicking dirt on an umpire isn’t going to make Aramis Ramirez healthy again and it’s not going to help Alfonso Soriano cut down on the strikeouts or Derrek Lee not hit into any double plays. If a team needs a fire lit under their ass, then Piniella is the one manager you’d pick to do that. But there’s not much he can do right now with the suckhole that the Cubs’ offense is currently in.

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