Lou Piniella did the right thing by stepping down now

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella stands for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before the game against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field in Chicago on August 22, 2010. Piniella announced Sunday that the game would be his last game as manager.   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

I don’t blame Cubs fans if they feel cheated by the way Lou Piniella has decided to step down as manager with 37 games remaining in the season. After all, if they have to sit through the rest of this miserably year, why doesn’t he?

But the fact of the matter is that neither Piniella’s heart nor his mind is in it right now, so why drag the thing out any longer? And besides, does it really matter who’s managing the Cubs at this point?

Piniella has had to take two leave of absences to attend to personal matters this year, which mainly consists of him visiting his 90-year-old mother who has been ill for most of the season. There are more important things than baseball and seeing as how he was going to retire at the end of the year anyway, there’s no sense going through the motions for 37 more games.

Following another horrendous loss on Sunday, Piniella had this to say about starting his retirement early:

“Cried a little bit after the game,” he said, before choking up further in his postgame news conference. “This will be the last time I put on a uniform. This has been very special for me. I’ll go home, do what I have to do there…and enjoy my retirement.”

Obviously this wasn’t the way he or Cub fans envisioned things ending this season. While the club also struggled last year, many pundits thought they would bounce back and that just hasn’t been the case. The team’s roster is littered with overpaid, underachieving veterans and the youth movement has just begun. It’s a sad way for a World Series-winning manager to walk away from the game, but not everybody can go out on top.

Piniella wasn’t going to be part of the Cubs’ future and it was probably right that he has decided that they won’t be a part of his present.

When it’s time, it’s time.

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