Piniella Sewing his Oats

Lou Piniella (Getty Images)

Cubs fans have been used to watching passive managers for years and had high hopes that Don Baylor and Dusty Baker would provide fire.

Yet those two failed to show a lot of emotion publicly, so the fans were delighted when the North Siders hired Lou Piniella after the last-place 2006 campaign.

It seemed as if every time Piniella's name was mentioned in rumors or when he eventually was hired, local television stations ran the same video clips of Piniella going ballistic with umpires or throwing bases.

Needless to say, Cubs fans were pumped up.

But Piniella, 63, might not live up to that hyperactive hype. He's almost embarrassed by his past outbursts and is not sure how much ranting he is going to do in his Cubs tenure.

"Look, I'm not proud of those things -- I'm really not," Piniella said. "I hope the people in Chicago don't expect those things from me. I take pride in the fact that I won over 1,500 games as a major league manager and that we get our teams to play and our players to enjoy playing.

"But those other things -- hopefully at 63 I won't have that kind of 'fun' on the field anymore."

If Piniella can turn things around right away, Cubs fans won't care if he falls asleep in the dugout.

But if things aren't going so well, they'll hope he tosses out a well-timed tantrum or two, or he will fall into the same disfavor as many past Cubs skippers.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • 2B Mark DeRosa will be one of two batters considered for the No. 2 hole in the lineup behind Alfonso Soriano. DeRosa had a .357 on-base percentage for Texas last year, and that should give him an edge over SS Cesar Izturis, who had a .282 OBP.

  • CF Felix Pie could get a shot at making his major league debut if he has a good camp in 2007, but the Cubs are not interested in rushing their prized prospect. Pie has speed and power but is prone to striking out too much. Manager Lou Piniella said that when he managed Alex Rodriguez at Seattle, the Mariners tried breaking him in slowly and batted him ninth before he broke out into superstardom.

  • LHP Les Walrond, who made two starts with the parent club in 2006 and is a longshot to make the club in 2007, went 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA in eight starts in winter ball in Mexico.

  • RHP Carlos Marmol, who is a longshot to make the Cubs rotation in 2007, had a 5.40 ERA in his first eight innings in winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

    BY THE NUMBERS: .378 -- Batting average for the Cubs with the bases loaded in 2006, second best in the major leagues.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have gamesmanship on our side, too." -- New Cubs skipper Lou Piniella on hooking up many times with St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, who has a reputation for gamesmanship.

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