CHICAGO- The ship be sinkin'.
Moments after the Chicago Cubs' gutless and cringe-inducing performance against the San Diego Padres, team officials notified the press that Derrek Lee had been traded to the Atlanta Braves for three prospects.
In the post-game press conference, the huddled mass of scribes, cameras, and recorders caught the first reactions of the Cubs' lame duck skipper.
"I honestly don't know what I'm going to do. That man was a stalwart. Whenever we needed a double play in a key situation, he was there for us. Whenever a slider was thrown on the outer-half, he was there to pull his head off the ball and strike out. I'll miss him."
The bigger question was who Piniella would find to bat third in place of the absent Lee.
"Well, it's gonna be tough to find a .251 hitting first baseman who has a greatly over-appreciated glove, slow feet, and a propensity for hitting ground balls...Huh...Wait, is Sid Bream still around?"
Members of the media hassled the Cubs' field manager all season in regards to his indifference in resolving the burgeoning lack of production from the 3-hole. Today was the final stanza for the questioners...and a final retort by the skipper.
"Look, I demand production from top to bottom, but there is nothing better than lack of production from the third spot in your lineup. It just creates so much consternation everywhere...and I like consternation. That's because the only resolution to consternation is wine. And I love wine. Glorious, delicious wine. Even if it's some made-up-BS-Franzia wine. Just tip that box and have it keep comin'. That's why I need another .251 hitter to bat third...I need more excuses to drink."
Piniella's drinking habits have escalated since announcing that this will be his final year in Chicago. There are also whispers that it's not just his drinking that is deteriorating.
"Last week he accidentally wore a pair of Derrek Lee's cleets," said Cubs second baseman Blake DeWitt. "So, imagine...he's was walking around in these mammoth shoes. I told him he looked like Ronald McDonald...then he said 'that makes me hungry!' He comes back carrying a box of wine, three double cheeseburgers, and a McFlurry...He mumbles something about Willie Randolph, sits on a stool, then devours three sandwiches. First pitch is about to happen, and I notice he's gonna bring his McFlurry out into the dugout. That's when he sticks the McFlurry and his box of wine in this "ballbag" and moves into the dugout. The guy isn't even watching the game anymore! He just randomly yells at people about how you 'can't just take a guy like Derrek Lee out of the three hole', and '...for Ponderosa to end their senior buffet at 5 p.m. is just insulting' and 'I don't think anybody realizes just how good of a deal Dunkin' Donuts runs on their donuts from 2-4 p.m.'
Lou may have insulted Cubs fans even more by saying removing Lee's name from the lineup card will still be tough.
"Listen, I bought this stationary. This stationary is really fancy. I always hand it to the umpires before the game...all of the umpires love the stationary. I keep this template on the stationary...the only thing on the template other than the numbers 1-9 is '3. Lee'. That's stuck. Nothing else is filled in. What am I going to do now? Buy more stationary? I don't think so. What's the punishment of not sending up nine hitters, anyway? Maybe it's an automatic ejection...which would be nice. What's wrong with starting some wine tasting in the first inning? I think nothing."
The Braves will travel to Chicago to play the Cubs at 1:20 p.m. on Friday.
The team will be bringing up Micah Hoffpauir to replace the former NL MVP.