The owner of the majors' best record throws tantrums (and hats and bases) a lotless frequently these days.
This is an article from the Sept. 1, 2008 issue
Dan Patrick: Itried to use the bullpen phone at Wrigley Field yesterday. I was in the dugoutafter you guys left. I didn't know if I had to dial 9 or 8 to get out. Can youhelp me with that?
Lou Piniella: Idon't even know. The coaches do the dialing. All I do is ask for thepitcher.
DP: CarlosZambrano had problems with a molar the other day. Did he just spit out thetooth on the mound?
LP: He spit outsome of it. He's a tough kid.
DP: Have you seenanybody more intense than Zambrano?
LP: I've talkedto him many times about trying to control his emotions on the mound. He letsthe opposition know when he's not happy with himself. And I told him,"You're defeating the purpose, you're wasting energy." But that's thekind of guy he is. The competitive spirit takes over.
DP: I saw himpunching the wall, but he was using his left [nonpitching] hand.
LP: Withpitchers, you just don't want them hurting themselves. When they come in andthey're a little upset, I have one of our coaches follow them up that runway,because they can hurt themselves. I know when I played, the poor watercoolertook the brunt of it. But it would be my big toe, not my throwing hand.
DP: When's thelast time you were nervous during a game?
LP: You know, Iprobably get more nervous watching teams that are chasing us on the TV set inmy office.
DP: When do yousecond-guess yourself?
LP: Anytime welose a ball game. I sit there with a cup of coffee or a cold beer and reviewthe options I had and see what I could have done differently, because theseopportunities are going to present themselves again down the road.
DP: I know youwant to go to the World Series this year, but do you expect to?
LP: We would loveto go to the World Series.
DP: No, do youexpect to go?
LP: We would loveto go. I'll leave it at that.
DP: I'll go outon a limb for you: I expect the Cubs to be in the World Series.
LP: [Laughs.]Well, I hope you're right.
THINK MICHAELPHELPS is a shoo-in to be SI's Sportsman of the Year? Not so fast. Mark Spitzwon seven golds in 1972 but lost out to Billie Jean King and John Wooden. Plus,it's only September. There's plenty of time for any of these things tohappen....
• In a tearfulinterview with Cris Collinsworth, Phelps's mom admits her son is really 13.
• Phelps'ssuccess revives history's most frightening fashion trend: dads in Speedos.
• Tiger Woodsmakes a shocking Ryder Cup appearance and drains dramatic winning putt—with hiscane.
• Your 2008 U.S.Open mixed doubles champs: Billie Jean King and John Wooden.
• Kerry Wood winsWorld Series MVP on the same night Phelps robs a nursing home. (Nah, Phelpsstill gets it.)
• Three words:Mrs. Paris Phelps.
COULD THE RedeemTeam take down the original Dream Team? Two members of the 1992 U.S. gold medalsquad, Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing, were on the show last week. Guess who theypicked? The diplomatic Bird said the '08 team wouldn't have an answer forCharles Barkley. Ewing was more blunt: "We'd kick their butt."
A Lightning Boltin the NFL?
BULLET BOB HAYESwas far from refined—he played a little small-college ball—when the Cowboysdrafted him before the 1964 Olympics, but he still was an All-Pro as a rookie.Could Usain Bolt follow in his footsteps? (He'd be a natural in San Diego.)Maurice Jones-Drew told me Bolt couldn't take a hit: "He's, like, abuck-sixty." Actually, Bolt is 6'5", 189 pounds—Randy Moss territory.Still, Willie Gault, a former world-class sprinter who played receiver for theBears after a career at Tennessee, thought Bolt's lack of experience would doomhim. "But if he got five years to learn the game," said Gault,"maybe you could make him something special." It certainly would makefor an interesting combine workout. If I were a G.M., I think I'd at least takea look.
THE FINE PRINT:And now the next challenge for Michael Phelps: eating 12,000 calories ofBritish food every day for two weeks.
Go toDANPATRICK.COM for more from Lou Piniella and for NFL news. Hear live audio ofDan's radio show, 9 a.m. to noon.