Welcome to the maiden voyage of a piece I like to call “In your face, Seattle.” Here at IYFS, we’ll examine a wide range of sports-related topics that are essentially salt in the wounds of Seattle sports fans. Whether it be Jim McIlvaine returning to the NBA with a 50-point performance off the bench of the Oklahoma City Thunder or Bobby Ayala closing out Game 7 of the World Series, IYFS will be here to cover it and get the fan reaction.
Our first IYFS is dedicated to former Mariner manager Lou Piniella, who today was named National League Manager of the Year. Piniella led the 2008 Chicago Cubs to a first-round playoff exit (not exactly MOY-type material, but the voting is conducted before the playoffs begin) and a National League-best 97 regular season wins in capturing the award.
Piniella, as many of our sober readers may recall, managed the Seattle Mariners from 1993 to 2002, before gracefully taking his leave to be closer to his family in Florida following the ’02 season. Major accomplishments include the Mariners first winning record in 1993 (82-80, .506 winning percentage); first postseason appearance in franchise history in 1995; subsequent postseason appearances in 1997, 2000, and 2001; and an all-time record 116 regular-season wins in 2001 (tying the 1908 Chicago Cubs for that achievement). Piniella also posted a winning record in seven of the ten seasons he was in Seattle, which may not seem that impressive to the untrained observer, but is pretty much grounds for Hall of Fame induction here in the Northwest.
Though he’s been somewhat of a nomad in the six years since leaving Seattle (having spent three years as the manager of the then-moribund Tampa Bay then-Devil Rays, one year as a color commentator for Fox, and now two years with the Cubs), Piniella has seemingly found the greener pastures he went searching for more than a half a decade ago in Chicago. While we applaud the successes of one of our former hometown heroes, it really serves to underscore the municipal sports scene when a man who walked out on us like a weekend parent with three kids is still near and dear to hearts in the Emerald City. So in your face, Seattle, Lou Piniella is doing just fine.