SAN FRANCISCO -- While the entire Cubs roster was thwacked at U.S. Cellular Field over the weekend in three consecutive losses, their skipper says he in particular was ambushed Sunday night. Chicago's famously fiery manager, Lou Piniella, was ejected in the second inning for arguing a checked-swing call -- his first ejection in 2008 and only his second in two seasons in the Windy City. Piniella came out to argue the call with the first-base umpire, Chad Fairchild, and "got ambushed from behind" by home-plate umpire Rob Drake. Piniella thought White Sox third baseman Joe Crede had swung on a pitch, but Fairchild saw things differently.
"Truthfully, [Fairchild] didn't need any help on that," said Piniella before Monday's game against the Giants. "When I saw it on replay it was even a little more flagrant than I thought it was from seeing it in the dugout." Bench coach Alan Trammell took the reins for the rest of the night, including the postgame press conference. Perhaps Piniella was busy contemplating his night's work. It's possible that his actions were meant to motivate his squad, losers of its past four games heading into Monday's game. The Cubs' fortunes turned around after Piniella's last ejection, June 2, 2007 -- since then, they are 112-80, the second-best record in the Majors. Or maybe he was just upset. "You know what's amazing?" Piniella asked rhetorically. "Umpires make mistakes sometimes, and when you question them, you end up paying the consequences." With a new city and another game, though, "it's over with. They're still my buddies."
David Biderman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.