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Has Lou finally lost it?

By Brittany Feagans (brit.feagans@gmail.com)

A lot has happened since the Cubs last won a World Series. The Titanic sank, there have been two World Wars, men have landed on the moon, and Michael Jackson was born and died.

So why does a team which finished with 97 wins in 2008, the 100 year anniversary of their last Series win, continually disappoint?

There's no doubt about it, the Cubs are a different team this year. They're lacking that spark that had people assured that 2008 was "the year."

One thing noticeably different is the lack of Lou Piniella's passionate managing. What happened to Sweet Lou, the lovable, fiery personality of the Chicago Cubs? Has he taken a managerial sabbatical, leaving a robotic clone to manage the catastrophic Cubs? It certainly seems like Lou has given up on his team.

The Lou of Seasons Past would realize when his team needed to be fired up. He would argue calls that he knew weren't arguable to get tossed and ignite the flames of passion. He would kick dirt, hurl his hat, and occasionally throw bases in during his tirade. All for the love of the game, and the love of the Cubs.

Fast forward to 2009: A lethargic Lou watches from the dugout, barely acknowledging the questionable call at first. In press conferences he appears weary and defeated? What happened to baseball's Sweet Lou?

While it was expected that the Cubs organization would be in the doldrums after being swept for the second straight year in round one of the playoffs, these feelings should have gradually subsided over the offseason. A period of reflection should have made way for an optimistic outlook on the new season. This never happened.

There are many reasons why the Cubs have failed to live up to their expectations so far this year.

Whereas winning teams scout other clubs and capitalize on their weaknesses, the Cubs have not done this yet again. You can only watch Soriano strike out swinging at outside junk so many times before you wonder why he can't just adjust. Why is nobody stepping up and explaining to the players what they need to do to succeed? Cough cough Lou, cough cough.

Although being a Cubs fan means I'm not supposed to like Albert Pujols, I can't help but respect the dude. Come on people, he has 32 home runs with two games to play before the All-Star Break. His average is consistently in the .300 range, and he gets RBIs when his team needs them.

This is a guy who studies pitchers, studies teams, trying to find a way to get on base and produce runs. Why can't the Cubs learn from the greats of the game and realize that we can't just expect to win? We have to focus on eliminating our weaknesses. This is something Lou has done in the past, but apparently has forgotten this season. At 65, has Lou finally become senile?

Don't get me wrong, I've been a fan of Lou from the start, and I know he means well, but he needs to snap out of this funk and realize we can't go the distance without him. The Cubs need Lou, and Papa Bear needs to be there for his Cubbies. Someone please write him a prescription for Prozac and let’s get things going in the second half.

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