Chicago Sun-Times
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Steve Stone questions Piniella's decision

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Looks like ESPN analyst and former Mets GM Steve Phillips wasn't the only one who didn't think Lou Piniella should have let Carlos Zambrano finish that no-hitter on Sept. 14.

As Elliott Harris pointed out in today's Quick Hits, Sox analyst Steve Stone was on Mike North's Web show and echoed Phillips' sentiments.

They weren't the only ones who thought that because Zambrano was coming off a missed start due to rotator cuff tendinitis, Piniella should have limited his pitch count. Zambrano threw 110 pitches in the no-hitter.

''I don't agree with allowing Zambrano to throw 110 pitches,'' Stone said Tuesday on ''The Mike North Webio Show'' on wildfirerestaurant.com. ''I don't care if it's a no-hitter. The only job that Lou Piniella has to do, and still has to do, is make sure his pitchers are ready.

''I would have pulled him in the sixth. A manager is paid for some very tough decisions and no-hitters are delightful. You can always say you have a no-hitter.

''He is becoming Sammy [Sosa] Jr. They are creating another monster on the North Side.

''This is a really talented guy, but so was Sosa. But the point is, if you remain completely complicit, in guys you know in taking more and more, eventually the tail cannot wag the dog.''

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43 Comments

Hey stone(r) , lets worry about your soon to be 2nd place sux and second guess them, okay?

Steve Stone is a jerk. This is the same thing that got him fired from the booth. Pinella made the right decision. We are talking about history. How many pitchers have the oppotunity to toss a no-no? Stone is obviously still salty that he isn't with the Cubs anymore F him.

Carlos Zambrano had pitched his best game with no problems. We all loved and appreciated it. Obviously, Steve Stone is still bitter towards the Cubs for firing him from the TV booth. Since he's not a manager and had never pitched a no-hitter, he should not question Lou Piniella or anyone else.

Steve Stone is not a manager and had never pitched a no-hitter. Since he's no longer with the Cubs organization or in the TV booth, he should not question anything Lou Piniella does or says.

As a Cub fan I was ecstatic that Z threw the no-no. Lou is the Cubs manager & Steve Stone AND Steve Phillips are both respected for their baseball minds which is something the comment posters don't get. It's okay to have an opinion, but don't be so irrational & sensitive...that's really grown up pushing the 1st place Sox forum on-board. Stoney IS a baseball analyst and a GREAT ONE at that.

These are probably the same people that would say "what a great analyst Stoney is and HE should be the Cubs GM..." between the years 1990-2004.

GROW UP & CHILL OUT!

Steve Stone is a very knowledgable baseball man. Yes he thinks Zambrano should have been taken out of the game. But Steve, one big question for you: If you were managing the Cubs, would you have been able to take Zambnrano out? I am afraid you have been taken in by your radio talk show hosts ability to create "talk" by making outlandish statements in order to keep your job. Sorry Steve I used to respect your originality and sincerity.

steve stone whew who is he? a clown like phillips who are second guessing a real manager. What has been steve's best move? Do you think either steve will be recalled by cubs fans no matter what they say. any one can second guess a move but I bet if stone was pitching a no-hitter you have to kill his fake ass to get him off the mound and phillips man please nobody has contacted his ass about a gm job since he just made the mets into shyt

110 pitches is not that much, especially for a workhorse like Big Z. And whether or not your top pitcher is coming off an injury, I don't think any MLB manager is going to pull someone in the midst of a no-hitter. You just don't do that. If Piniella did, he'd piss off the fans and Big Z and never hear the end of it.

There is no way Lou can take Z out of that game. Its been pretty obvious that Steve Stone has had a bone to pick with the Cubs since before he was even fired, and these are the types of comments that got under so many people's skin in '04 and made me cringe when he said he wanted to be a big part of the front office when the team is sold. Worry about your team trying to get in the playoffs and the decisions that manager makes.

Who cares what a White Sox announcer has to say. Steve Stone is just a bitter ex employee of the Cubs.

Stone needs to worry about the sux pitching staff..and why the Cubs outdrew the sux while they were in Milwaukee and and the sux were at home.

He also needs to comment on why Ozzie Guillen always has to mention the cubs when the sux are losing. Jealously from sux fans is sickening. Pinella doesnt think about the sux. Why? Becasue no one else does!!! SUX NEED TO LEAVE CITY!!!!!!!! They embarass Chicago with ozzie Guillen!!!

Because NO ONE likes the sux and dont care anything about them.

No Fans
No Attendance
No Out of Town Fans

And the BIGGEST CHOKE IN BASEBALL HISTORY AFTER THE TWINS SWEEP TODAY!!!!!!

Mind your own business Steve and just sit in the wind of the always second place baseball team in chicago and ROT!

You ar

Stoney should worry about the Sox making the playoffs. Big Z had another meltdown on the mound last night, he may not start game 1 of the NLDS now. No hitter aside, he hasn't pitched well the last few months and with Dempster so good at Wrigley, let him start, and put Z up for game 3. Taking Z out is second guessing, great fodder for talk shows, maybe they'll be talking about Ozzie's moves in Minnesota if the Sox come back a half game out of first....

Steve Stone is a great baseball mind and I would have to agree with him on alot of things he says..If the Cubs are not careful with Zambrano he could turn into another Sosa but letting him finish a no-hitter in a season that has been historical is not the issue...getting him to channel his emotional energy the correct way is. He was on his game that night and deserved to finish what he started.

Steve kinda has point...as I was watching the game and saw how Z's pitch count was reaching 90 pitches, I started to think the same thing. The thing about sports though, is that sometimes you have to follow your gut and Z was pitching really good that night. I'm sure Lou Pinella was stuck between a rock and a heart place and decided to let it ride out. Personally I think Zambrano's latest pitching performances have been more mental than anything else. Z has to grow up mentally to become a Cy Young pitcher. Lou treats him like a Dad who is trying to teach his kid to grow up or you get pulled just like anyone else. Case in Point, last night vs the Mets in the 5th inning. Anyone who saw the game knows what I'm talking about.

Man, I'm glad Steve Sparks and Lou S. aren't short tempered hotheads like the rest of my fellow Cub fans who have commented here...

Although it's great to throw a no-hitter, the team's ultimate goal is to win a World Series, right? All I am saying is that with the recent arm problems Big-Z was facing prior to the no-no, he should have been on a short leash. Now, I'm not saying taking him out would have been the best decision, but look at his two most recent starts since: he's flat-out stunk.

Everyone loves to see a no-hitter; obviously because they are so rare. But as for me, I would rather see a World Championship on the north side.

And quit bashing Steve Stone!! The guy is a baseball genius and speaks his mind. I give credit to anyone who isn't afraid to do that. At least people know where they stand with him! I'm jealous he's gonna be with that idiot Hawk next season. I love Len and Bob, but Stoney was the tops. So before you guys fly off the handle, and rip a guy for submitting his opinion, remember that the guy knows what he is talking about.

I'd love to see Stone try to remove Z from a potential no-hitter. This pitch count insanity gets worse every day. Z needs to grow up on the mound. Stone needs to get over his firing ftom the Cubs.

Typical Cubs fans, not having their priorities straight. What's more important, a no hitter, or winning a world series? From the comments above, it's a no hitter to these "Cubbies" fans. A true Cubs fan would be more worried about winning something that's eluded you for 100 years. By the way, how has Zambrano pitched since he threw those 110 pitches? Go ahead, keep shooting the messenger, but that no-no may be the only "Cubbies history" your dumb arses are enjoying if Z doesn't get his head out of his hiney real soon.

Steve Stone also said before the season started that Geo Soto was too fat to be an everyday catcher or a good hitter. Take everything he says with a grain of salt, specially when it's about the Cubs. That look on his face is from the sour grapes.

I can't believe some of the comments from the Chubs' fans regarding Steve Stone's comments. First of all, from the tone of the comments it's obvious that the only jealousy is that of the Chubs' fans who can't admit that they miss having Stoney in the Chubs' TV booth. I mean come on, Len and Bob - or is that what they do - are horrible! Your historic season is forever going to be remembered with Len's moronic play calls!

As for Zambrano, I love the guy and I'm a Sox fan. What a competitor! But Stone gets PAID for his opinion. If you don't agree with it then fine, but why get so bent out of shape? His comments don't change the fact that Zambrano pitched one of the greatest games in your team's sorry history! It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Big Z comes back in the playoffs and pitches a gem, but it also wouldn't surprise me too much if he got shelled.

And to the moron of morons, Brucey, falling a .5 game behind in the final week after leading by only 2.5 is hardly a historic choke job. The Chubs' fans know better than most about historic choke jobs! 2008 will be the next chapter. Can't wait to see Manny being Manny in Wrigley. Go Dodgers!

You know Steve, when you actually go on a real sports show instead of linking up with another bitter Sox fan on a "webshow" then you will have credibility. Truth is you are still pissed at the Cubs for not sticking up for you on the plane. Did you ever hear of defending yourself? You have no problems going on the air and slamming the Cubs now, why didn't you do it then tough guy? Mike North sucks, and that's why he's doing his show from his basement in his underwear!

Let's see if I got this right: Carlos Zambrano, 27, throws 110 pitches in a no-hitter against a red-hot team while in a race to clinch the division after missing one start due to sore shoulder soreness and that's insane. But Mark Buehrle, 28 at the time, throws 106 pitches for a no-hitter against Texas two starts after taking a line drive to his pitching arm in a meaningless early-season game and that's brilliant. Come on people! A no-hitter is history and should be celebrated -- period! Stone wouldn't follow through on what he said if he had been on the mound or in the dugout. He's just making waves to get attention.

It is very easy to sit back and be the couch manager, and be critical of Steve Stone, but the fact is (and just about any baseball person will tell you) A manager is responsible for the over all wellbeing of the team.

I will not second guess Lou, but I can also agree with Steve. It's great that Z pitched the no hitter, but what if the next morning he woke up with another shoulder problem and he was out for the season. Would it have been worth it then?

If Z plays bad in the playoffs people will blame Lou, and so on.. Carlos is also a professional and is expected to tell the coach when he is done, so if Z does re-injure his are, it is his own dam fault. NOT STEVE STONE and NOT LOU Pinella's fault. They did not hold a gun to Z's head and tell him to get out there did they?

GO CUBS!!!

Steve Stone is a baseball genius and I loved his commentary when he was with WGN. I don't watch the softballers from the south, but I'm sure Stone will be great there too.

Like Stone, Piniella is a baseball genius too. The difference is that Piniella is in the dugout, not the booth.

So, although I respect Stone a great deal, there's a reason he didn't have to make the choice in pulling Z.

When presented with the opportunity to pitch a no hitter you have to go with it. The mental baggage Big Z would carry around if taken out would scare much worse than any temporary physical pain.

I am a die hard Cubs fan....but I COMPLETELY agree with Stone. First off, I am tired of Z's antics on the mound...they were funny at first...now their just lame. A week before the playoffs you're gonna have a melt down on the mound?? Really?? The no-hitter was great...but Z has obviously had arm issues the last couple months....coming back after a couple weeks off was NO time to throw that many pitches....especially being in September and weeks away from the playoffs...so now he may be a waste for the playoffs...and the world series that we all crave...but hey...we got a no hitter right?

And yes, Z is becoming Sammy Junior....best Ive heard it described....

Reading comments that vilify a guy for giving an opinion that he is extremely qualified to give show a complete lack of respect and are ignorant and embarrassing.

What is so harmful about listening to reasoned opinions from knowledgable sources? Nobody said you had to agree with them. To all those morons, get a life. Nut, better yet get a brain.

Lou = manager with over 1700 wins
Steve = ex-pitcher that never managed a major league team in his life.

I know who I'm going with.

What Stone's got going for him is that he's articulate, making him him sound smart, which he is. However, he's not the genius some (including Steve himself) think he is.

Clearly, Z is a talented but high maintenance guy and the biggest challenge for his manager and Z himself is to keep his head in the right place. Yanking him from a no-hitter would have been a radical and practically unprecedented move and completely counter-productive, unless it was obvious Z was hurt at the time or there'd been a dangerously high pitch count.

110 pitches was probably right there as a prudent limit, but doesn't validate second guessing Piniella, who's credentials as a baseball mind speak for themselves-- he's managed four different teams to 90 wins and the Cubs to their first back to back playoff appearances in 100 years.

Like Sosa, Z has, big talent, a big personality, and something of a big ego to go along with it, but that doesn't make he and Sammy the same person or this the same situation. Curiously, what Stone and his minions fail to realize or remember is that exactly at the time Sammy's ego brought a once great tenure with the Cubs to an end, Stone's ego did precisely the same.

HEY MR.STONE, I HAVE NOTHING BUT RESPECT FOR YOU AND THE WISDOM THAT GOD ALLOW YOU TO HAVE ABOUT BASEBALL. HOW I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WHY YOU WAS LET GO FROM THE, AND I DON'T REALLY CARE.
SO I CAN'T SAY THAT YOU ARE STILL UPSET ABOUT SOMETHING THAT I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. BUT I DO KNOW THAT YOU KNOW LITTLE OR NOTHING ABOUT HOW THESE CUBS ARE BEING MANAGED FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. THESE ARE NOT THE SAME CUBS THAT YOU AND HARRY SPEND SO MANY YEARS WONDERING WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THEY DOING, NOT PLAYING AS A TEAM, AND WHO COULD THEY GET TO BE THEIR MANAGER FOR THE NEXT YEAR. MR.STONE, YOU WAS THERE WHEN SOME FAN USE TO COME TO THE BALLPARK WITH BAGS ON THEIR HEAD, AND A WAIT TO NEXT YEAR SIGN IN THEIR HANDS, BUT NEXT YEAR NEVER SEEM TO EVER COME FOR OUR BELOVED CUBS. WHEN LOU CAME HERE, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT FOR DUSTY BAKER, THE FRIST THING LOU FOUND OUT IS WHY THE CUBS HAD, AND THE KEY WORD IS HAD, BEEN LOSING AND THE VOWED THAT ALL OF THAT WAS GOING TO CHANGE!! AND GUEST WHAT MR.STONE, IT DID!! AND LEAD THE TEAM SO FAR TO PLAYOFF IN EVERY YEAR THAT HE BEEN HERE. HE BEEN IN MORE PLAYOFF AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP THEN YOU COULD EVER DREAM OF, HE WON SOME AND LOST SOME, SO IT'S A VERY BET, THAT LOU NOT ONLY KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO GET TO THE WORLDS CHAMPIONSHIP, BUT KNOWS HOW TO GET HIS TEAM PERPARE TO REACH THEIR GOAL. DON'T WORRY ABOUT BIG Z, HE IS ONE MAN OF THE GREAT TEAM, WHEN IT HIS TURN TO SHOW UP FOR THE BIG GAME, YOU CAN BET YOU BUTT THAT BIG Z WILL BRING IT HOME, AND WHO'S TO SAY IF LOU DID TOOK HIM OUT AFTER SIX, THAT THE CUBS EVEN MAKE IT THE BIG GAME? ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS THAT THE CUBS GOT GOING FOR THEM IS, THAT LOU KNOWS HIS TEAM, AND WILL HAVE THEM PLAYING LIKE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE. THIS IS JUST MY OPINNION, AND I HOPE YOU AND ALL YOU SECOND GUEST KNOW IT ALLS RESPECT UNDERSTAND MINES, AS I DID THE SAME FOR YOURS.
P.S.
MR.STONE, I HAVE A GREAT IDEA, WHY DON'T YOU TRY TO GET YOUR SELF A GM, MANAGER, OR PITCHING COACH JOB, AND JUST SHOW THE BASEBALL WORLD THE STEVE STONG BRAND OF BASEBALL. AND PLEASE DON'T FORGET THAT HARRY WAS THE STAR IN THE CUBS TV BOOTH YOU WAS JUST HIS SIDE KICK. STEVE YOU ARE NO HARRY!!

Hey, Jimmy, That comment: "Pinella made the right decision. We are talking about history. How many pitchers have the oppotunity to toss a no-no?" Is why the Cubs haven't won a World Series in 100 years. That short-mindedness and selfish attitude will get Chicago bounced in the 1st round.

Go BREWERS!!!

Ok, I am from England and we may not know as much about baseball as people who have grown up with it all their lives but I am a long time Cubs fan and have coached a little in the past so I have my views on pulling pitchers or not.

During the regular season I agree that pulling a pitcher is probably the right thing to do, no hitter or not, you need to keep him fresh for games further down the line. Where I don't agree with pulling the pitcher is in the post season.

If you start game one of NLDS(a best of five series) with you best pitcher and pull him early to save him for game four that sends out the message to the other team that you know you are going to lose at least one game. You are saving him for a game that may not be needed.

The message you send by leaving him in is that you are confident you are going to win all three and not need a game four giving him time to be fresh to pitch in game one of the NLCS.

Ok, maybe that's over simplistic but why make things difficult, go out with the attitude you are going to win every game.

Let's be confident and make sure there is no game 4.

Justin Pike.

Hey dummies, Steve Stone didn't get fired from the Cubs. So he isn't sour about that. They offered him a contract extension and he refused. He quit because he hated the team.

Friends and countrymen....let's take a deep breath.The relevant fact in this whole brouhaha is who's in charge.The Dusty era is over,and though the current manager is called Sweet Lou it's a misnomer.I like and respect the Steves,but they're paid to speculate and offer opinions,which we all know are like a--holes,and is exactly what all of us are doing on this message board.Just because they threw something against the wall does'nt make it fact.Whether it's pitch counts,reining in the headcase Zambrano,manipulating the Japanese ballerina to maximize return on investment,or any other Cubs issue,I trust Iron Lou to know his business,and to handle it.

Random thoughts about this thread:

1. Pulling Big Z would guarantee a Series win? Nostradamus called and he wants his crystal ball back.

2. Steve Stone is a really, really bright guy. Considering, do you think he like to slip the needle to Cub-dom when he gets a chance?

3. Lou Pinella is smarter and more trustworthy with baseball decisions than any other single soul within 1000 miles of your office.

4. The lions share of Sox fans only go to the ballpark hoping to pour their beer on someone, or if they are really lucky, to see someone get a tooth knocked out. That make for a great story at work! Get a life, the Cubs are on their way and you are (probably) headed for an off-season of Ozzie bashing.

I would hope that after all his many years in baseball Lou did a lot of checking with his training staff and his pitcher throughout that no-hitter game. Lou has seen a lot in his career and I don't believe that he would let a pitcher whom he suspected of having a bad arm continue to pitch if it would harm the pitcher and the team. A 110 pitches isn't a lot for a big man and experienced pitcher like Z. But I, as a fan do wonder about the next starts which were poor. An veteran pitcher like Z should be over those antics from his younger days. He's being counted upon to help his team win a world series something long-time devoted Cubs fans haven't had in 100 years. If you want an occupation that pays well and you do on a nation wide stage, you need to give your best performance even if your loosing so you can give your team mates a little insperation to fight back and win.

I have been hearing for ages about how Steve Stone is a baseball genious, but he has never had the gumption to strap em on, and actually take a job where he had to do more than talk a good game.

The jilted ex taking more shots. What a shocker.

This guy is considered a genius by simpletons because he tells you what sign the catcher put down. Big deal.

He's lobbied for pretty much every front office opening for the past 10-15 years. Shouldn't a supposed genius have landed one of those jobs by now? Seriously.

After reading the egotistical comments, that simply ignore the facts, and mindlessly slam the White Sox, coming from Cub fans that arrogantly support their “loveable losers” it brings back memories. The Cubs fans, who don’t realize that keeping Zambrano in the game despite his injury reminds me of why I became a White Sox fan.

I was born and lived on the Northwest side of Chicago walking distance from Wrigley Field but over the years the White Sox became the team I admired and respected. As a kid I went to both ballparks and equally enjoyed both teams. But the Cubs fans turned me against the Cubs.

The typical Cub’s fans are desperate to win that they lacked any “sense of class” or common sense. I stopped going to Cubs games in the 70’s. I still like to see the Cubs win but I can do without the “win without class” and “win despite consequences” attitude of Cub fans.

We’ll see if Lou blew the Cubs playoff chances by over pitching Zambrano. Desperate Cub fans obviously support Piniella’s decision because they are so eager to inflate their ego. Frankly, I agree with Stone, it was not worth the risk.

Go Sox / Go Cubs - Let's have a Subway Series

Steve Stone is correct. As the game progressed, it seemed to me that Lou and Rothchild had to be thinking about pitch count, the injury (which required an "injection" as I recall), the playoffs, and what Zambrano's reaction might be if he were to be removed with a no-hitter going. I was wondering if or when they would take him out if the no hitter was intact. The decision was to leave him in, and take the chance that it would have no negative consequences. I would say it was a risky descision with respct to Zambrano being as good as he can be physically going into the playoffs.

I have had several of the "injections" to help with overuse problems over the years. The injection will reduce inflamation and pain after a few days, and can accelerate the healng process. But, too much of the activity which caused the overuse injury too soon can negate the benefit of the injection, in my amateur opinion and experience.

Regarding the "Sammy Jr." comments, they unfortunately are valid.

Zambrano, please practice what you preach in post game press conferences, and keep up the good pitching. Then, we all will be happy.

I have been a Cub fan for 50 years.

Go Cubs!

Personally if I was in Pinella's shoes I would have left him in too. I don't think he's been over-used. Stoney's babbling needs to stop. Sit up there in the booth and PRETEND your still Harry Caray's sidekick. Hopefully after the Twinks beat the White Sux, your pink slip will be handed to you.

Who asked for your life story?

Steve Stone will continue to question Cubs managers, GM's, stars, or whoever he can until he has a front office job in the organization. I sure hope that never happens because there's usually a reason a guy has never made it past the interview stages on any level outside of being a color commentator.
Steve, I loved you when you were Harry's sidekick, but you talk toooo much! Either you're with us or against us! Go Cubs!!!

Steve Stone quit his job with he Cubs, and has been very successful since (ESPN games and the Radio bit as well as the Sox job). He's right that Piniella should have taken Z out of that game, but it's true that few if any would have actually been able to do it. I'd rather point to a trophy that a film clip of a no hitter any day.

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