The Cubs Home-Field Disadvantage: Is Day Baseball to Blame?

A few more night games might not be a bad idea.

Yesterday I looked at the Cubs’ league-worst home-field advantage since 1970. Today I’m surveying the history of the Cubs at home since 1901. Obviously most of that (every year from 1914 on) is at Wrigley Field, but I threw in the numbers from before that as well simply because . . . well, because I have them.

Before I go any further, I just want to rehash a few main points from yesterday’s post:

  • Home-field advantage is legitimate in Major League Baseball. Every year since 1901 the home team has won a majority of the games played in baseball (a .540 winning percentage since 1970).
  • A study of the 2004 MLB regular season showed that travel leading up to a game has no effect on win probability for either team.
  • The study also concluded that home-field advantage is statistically relevant only in games decided by one run.
  • Results over the years support that studies conclusion that home-field advantage matters the most in one-run games; the home team has a .608 winning percentage since 1970. The home team has still maintained an advantage in games decided by 2 runs or more (.511) or 3 runs or more (.518).
  • Since 1970, the Cubs have MLB’s worst winning percentage (.577) in all one-run home games where their advantage should be the highest.
  • Explaining home-field advantage is considered one of baseball’s most indiscernible mysteries.
  • The Cubs, like every team in baseball, have an advantage when playing at home, but theirs has historically been less advantageous than that of any other team.
Most people who care to argue generally take one of a few main positions in explaining the home-field advantage in baseball. The first is that the structure of the game itself favors the home team. They’ll argue that having the last at-bat either allows the home team a strategic advantage in one-run games (they know exactly how many runs they need to score in the 9th) or that it simply creates the statistical illusion of an advantage (if the home team is tied or trailing in the 9th, they’ll almost always win by one if they win at all, and they never have the opportunity to build on their leads after the 8th inning). 
Another main argument is that playing in front of the home crowd and hearing their cheers (or, adversely, boos) in a familiar environment gives the home team a psychological or emotional advantage that comes into play especially significantly in close ball games and dramatic situations. I’d expect this type of thing to be more observable in basketball and football where playing at home offers no advantage within the game itself. But I’d also expect that over time that type of thing would equalize from team to team.
The other main factor in discussing home field advantage is the field itself. Baseball is unique among team sports in that the field of play varies pretty significantly from venue to venue. Teams can then customize their teams according to their home park (or adjust the field to the team’s strengths). It could be the spacious outfield at Petco, the speedy Astroturf infield at the old Busch Stadium, or the light mountain air of Coors Field. (Coors seems to have had the greatest impact on that front. The Rockies have a .652 winning percentage in the 339 one-run games in Denver, and there isn’t a close second in recent history. Three teams are tied with .635.)
Like I said earlier, the average winning percentage in one-run home games since 1970 league-wide is .608. There are only two teams with winning percentages more than .030 points away from that mark on either side. The Rockies at .652 (+.044) and the Cubs at .577 (-.031). The Coors effect isn’t really all that surprising, because the high altitude, you’d expect, requires an adjustment most visiting players need more than a few days to make. With Wrigley the most obvious explanation, the unique factor that comes to mind almost immediately, is the prevalence of day baseball. Is that really hurting the Cubs?
I think it is. I broke down the Cubs’ record in those all-important one-run games at Wrigley by decade using the miraculous Baseball-Reference play index tool. I went by decades because it takes that long for a good 200+ game sample. The results almost speak for themselves, but I’ll ramble on just for kicks.
Cubs Home-Field Advantage in 1-Run Games by Decade
Decade Rank G W L W-L% LgAvg Diff
1901-1909 6 of 16 200 129 71 .645 .613 .032
1910-1919 5 of 24 238 154 84 .647 .611 .036
1920-1929 7 of 16 235 149 86 .634 .622 .012
1930-1939 1 of 16 216 149 67 .690 .629 .061
1940-1949 14 of 16 243 136 107 .560 .617 -.057
1950-1959 15 of 16 257 145 112 .564 .617 -.053
1960-1969 10 of 24 251 156 95 .622 .608 .014
1970-1979 17 of 26 255 148 107 .580 .599 -.019
1980-1989 19 of 26 240 144 96 .600 .615 -.015
1990-1999 24 of 30 251 145 106 .578 .606 -.028
2000-2010 28 of 30 265 146 119 .551 .614 -.063
1901-2010 19 of 30 2651 1601 1050 .604 .612 -.008
1901-1941 3 of 16* 939 607 332 .646 .618 .028
1942-2010 30 of 30 1712 994 718 .581 .610 -.029
*Of teams with at least 100 1-run home games in that span
As you can see, the Cubs enjoyed a pretty healthy home-field advantage compared to the rest of the league until the 1940s. Since then, they’ve only been above average in one decade. So what changed? 
Well, in the late 1930s, the starting time of baseball games began to change. By the start of the 1942 season, only 5 teams had yet to install lights at their parks, and by 1949 there was only one holdout remaining. That team wouldn’t play a night game at home until August 8, 1988. Even now they play more day games than any other team in baseball, including all of their Friday home affairs.
Cubs home games have a uniqueness all their own. They play more night games than they used to, but the balance is still significantly different than the schedule of any other MLB team. That uniqueness is very likely costing the team wins. Since the 1942 season when most teams began playing night baseball, the Cubs have enjoyed a smaller-than-average portion of the built-in advantage appointed to every team in baseball. They went from a 2.8% better-than-average clip to a 2.9% dip below average.
Maybe it’s more than just the day-baseball factor. Maybe it’s their sub-par team facilities, too. Maybe it’s just luck. But seeing as though the bad luck thing doesn’t seem to want to go away, maybe the Cubs should address those other two distinctive traits and make the Wrigley confines a little more friendly to winning.

Wrigley: the Worst Home-Field Advantage in Baseball

I love Wrigley Field. I do. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. I say that to inform you that nothing in this post is out of spite for the venue I revere as a mecca of the baseball world. And as much as I give Cubs fans a hard time, I don’t really think they’re worse than the fans of any other team. There are some great Cubs fans and some abominable ones just as any fan base is prone to including members from both ends of the spectrum of tolerability.

But the home-field advantage at Wrigley, for the last several decades, has been the worst in all of baseball, and I’ve got the numbers to prove it.

I started out investigating home-field advantage in general in the hopes of proving something about the significance of psychology in baseball. The first wave of research showed that as far back as I could look (1901) there always has been a home-field advantage league-wide. In every season of Major League Baseball, the home teams have, collectively, registered a winning record. There have been 4 seasons in which the teams of either the National League or the American League had a collective losing record at home, but it has never happened across baseball.

Then I came across this study of the 2004 Major League Baseball season that went to great lengths to isolate the effect of both home-field advantage and travel on the probability of winning. I was happy to learn that travel was ruled to have no significant effect on win probability for either team and that home-field advantage is very real. However, the study also concluded that home-field advantage was statistically significant only in games decided by one run—but in those one-run games, it’s pretty significant.

I checked using the play index tool to see if those conclusions held true throughout history. They did . . . kind of. In the nearly 88,000 games played since 1970, home teams have a .540 winning percentage. Obviously that’s significant. But in all the games decided by just one run over the past 40 years, the home team’s winning percentage is even higher: .608. I still think there’s an advantage in the other games, too, because a .511 winning percentage in games decided by 2 or more runs is nothing to sneeze at (and .518 in games decided by 3 or more runs), but I can’t ignore the huge difference home-field makes in one-run games.

So I decided to compare the winning percentages of all the teams across baseball over that time period. (I chose 1970 because I wanted to keep things fairly modern but include a large enough sample to make it significant.) I limited the results just to one-run games, since that’s the condition in which home-field advantage is supposed to be at its most pronounced. What I found is that the Friendly Confines are a little too friendly to the visiting teams.

I don’t really have a reaction other than . . . Crap. Is it Wrigley? Is it us? I don’t know. But it’s not working.

UPDATE: Okay, now I do have a reaction. Could the problem be day baseball?

Chicago Cubs: The Animated Series

The baseball might not be much to talk about. The games might be difficult to watch. But that doesn’t mean the Cubs can’t be entertaining. It might help if you imagine the Cubs as cartoon characters, and fortunately, this cast of characters doesn’t make that very difficult at all.

Starlin Castro = Rudy from Fat Albert

Tom Gorzelanny = TJ from Recess

Mike Quade = Mumm-Ra from Thundercats

Geovany Soto = Shazzan
Carlos Zambrano = Shrek
Bob Brenly = Man-at-Arms from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Marlon Byrd = Jazz from Transformers Animated
Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol = Pinky and the Brain

More to come . . .

Stephen Strasburg is not Mark Prior

Prior illustrates the infamous “Prostrate Sigma” pitching motion.

If you care, you probably already know. The MRI of Stephen Strasburg’s divine cannon of retributive wrath arm indicates he will probably need life-threatening career-ending your basic, run-of-the-mill Tommy John surgery, a procedure rendered so simple by modern medicine you can get it done in the food court at Walmart. I can’t count the number of times in the last hour I’ve heard him compared to Mark Prior. Seriously, it would be like keeping up the count of hamburgers McDonald’s has served in history. Suffice it to say, the comparison has now been made billions and billions of times.

I even made the comparison. Shame on me. The guys are similar in that they are both stud pitchers who were selected in the first two picks of the draft by teams that really, really, really (x billions and billions) needed them to do well. They both allegedly pitch with the “M” arm motion (aka the inverted W, the prostrate Σ, the sleeping 3, and the drunken zig-zag). They both have struck fear in the hearts of opponents with their dominant pitching and triggered mass bouts of hysteria among their respective fans due to long bouts of not pitching. And both were antagonized by their teams’ ex-pitcher color analysts for not being tough enough to pitch through pain.

But the nature of Strasburg’s early flirtation with the TJ surgical scalpel is nothing like Mark Prior’s early career. Nothing. We have all, it seems, played revisionist historians with Mark Prior’s days as a Cub. Please allow me to clear the record and scoff at the myriad fools who claim to have predicted Mark Prior’s physical woes.

To revisit Prior’s sad but altogether un-Strasburgian legacy of ligament damage, I turn to the most infallible source in all the land . . . Wikipedia. Here’s the rundown of Prior’s lost time and shattered dreams:

August 31, 2002
While running the bases, Prior strained a hamstring. As anyone careful enough to observe his sideways little-K running style, this was inevitable. Plus, Baylor just left him on the basepaths too long. He missed the rest of a doomed season.

That’s how Prior first
hurt his shoulder.

July 11, 2003
Also while baserunning, Prior collided with Marcus Giles of the Atlanta Braves in an ugly spill that only the most keen experts could have predicted (based, of course, on his spinning 8 eye angle). He missed three starts, although his return to form was hardly immediate. Sure, he won his next seven starts after returning with an ERA of 1.00 and an opponent OPS of .494, but deep down you could tell he wanted desperately to give up pitching like the coward he is. I blame Dusty.

Preseason 2004
A nagging Achilles tendon surgery kept Prior out of the all-important Cactus League rotation for two months. A rudimentary understanding of Greek mythology would have been sufficient to predict this one. When you invert your W’s, you really have to dip them all the way into the River Styx, which Prior’s sea-nymph mother clearly did not do. He didn’t make a start until June and put forward a disappointing (read: barely above average) season in which he made only 21 starts (though I assume Dusty left him in to make 400 pitches in each and every one).

Preseason 2005
An elbow strain robbed the world of 15 days of Mark Prior preseason glory. He made his first start on April 13 and didn’t give up a run until his third start of the season (he gave up 2, *gasp*). It looked like he was going to have a wonderful year (except to the prognosticators with enough emotional distance from the phenom to open their eyes to his dos-equis eye position on his follow through) until . . .

May 27, 2005
Brad Hawpe hit a line drive that everyone (except Mark Prior) could see coming. He didn’t return until June 26, but after taking the baseball to his pitching elbow (which never would have happened if Dusty taught the fundamentals of line-drive evasion) Prior returned to his 2004 just-average form, going 7-6 the rest of the way with a .726 OPS against and yielding a negative net Win Probability added of -.261 over that span.

July 14, 2006
Prior strained an oblique in batting practice. Zambrano much? He missed two selfish starts.

August 14, 2006
Shoulder tendinitis put Prior on the shelf for the remainder of this otherwise brilliant 96-loss season. He would have season-cancelling shoulder surgery in 2007 that would put his Cubs career to a painful end. He needed shoulder surgery again in 2008, and the guy hasn’t had the stones to pitch in the majors again. Toughen up and straighten out that Sigma, buddy.

Returning to sincerity for a moment, notice how pitching-induced arm trouble was responsible for about one or two missed starts at the beginning of the 2005 season, after which Prior was dominant. That’s it. Before the end of 2006, his so-called terrible mechanics at the very worst cost him two starts in his first 5 seasons. Had it not been for the Hawpe line drive, who knows where Prior would have ended up? Maybe his later shoulder problems were the result of bad mechanics, or maybe one or more of his many other injuries caused him to compensate in a way that somehow led to hurting his shoulder. I don’t know, and I doubt anyone does.

People who think Prior was a bust and an arm explosion waiting to happen must have wiped their memory banks clean or are just being willfully ignorant of his career stats, because they tell a different story.

Oh, and Prior never needed Tommy John surgery. I hope Strasburg gets better as quickly as possible and goes on to have a long, illustrious career. Whatever happens, if you’re going to compare him to Mark Prior, do so based on the facts. They are similar in hype, but not in their injury history.

Day-Off Predictions: 10 Moves the Cubs WILL Make – UPDATE

Meet the Cubs’ manager in 2011. Or else.  

10. The Cubs will lift the interim tag off of Mike Quade’s title and make him the officially official manager of the Cubs in 2011. (I’ve heard people say he looks like Skeletor. I thought maybe he looked like Overlord from Spiral Zone. But no, he’s Mumm-Ra.)
UPDATE: Yup. It happened.

9. The Cubs will sign Adam Dunn to play first base.

8. The Cubs will move Adam Dunn to right field when they sign a real first baseman in 2012.

7. The Cubs will add another statue of food to go with the giant macaroni noodle. It will probably be a hot dog. Fans will probably call it the Sammy Sosa statue.

6. The Cubs will fire someone insignificant. I don’t know for sure who that will be, but I’m sure Umpires Room Attendant Tom Farinella is sweating from the enormous hot seat he’s in right now.

5. The Cubs will raise ticket prices while making it look like they lowered them.
UPDATE: Oh, hey, look at that . . . they did.

4. The Cubs will change the Captain Morgan Club to the Old Style Friendship Zone.

3. The Cubs will buy up all the rooftops across the street.

2. The Cubs will invite a handful of bloggers into the press box. They will regret this move when they run out of brownies on opening day and things turn ugly.

1. The Cubs will hire a woman as their next general manager. She will pretend to be nice, but she is not. I’m telling you, she’s a nasty, vindictive, blood-thirsty piranha. But she will guide this team to the Promised Land and leave a trail of broken egos behind her.

The Cubsmos is Trapped in High School

2010: A Fail Odyssey

I never know what to call the group of all people associated with but not necessarily a part of the Cubs organization: the fans, the media, the bloggers, the whoever. Cubdom. The Cubosphere. The Cubbieverse. Cub Nation. The Fail and Losing Community. We. They. The Empty Set. For the moment, I have decided on the Cubsmos. Instead of the Cosmos, not to be confused with the magazine or the drink or the Kramer. But I digress.

The Cubsmos, or at least large factions within it, seems to be trapped in the past. Not a specific date or era like 1908 or ’69 or the Bartman game. We’re trapped in high school, maybe junior high. As I did then, I’d love to escape the embittered, disenfranchising subculture of vindictive cliques, the suppressed insecure rage, the bizarre false sense of entitlement and melodramatic mock tragedy. But here we are in Cubsmos High. I was going to give ten reasons, and maybe I will at some point, but here are my two favorites.

The Crotchety Old Coach/Gym Teacher thinks ridicule and public punishments are the best motivators. Athletes aren’t professionals, they’re slimy, cocksure ingrates who need to be put in their place. Lack of hustle? Benched! Brain lapse? Benched and insulted! Don’t run out a pop up? You’ll do push-ups until I get tired! I’m sorry . . . but didn’t we hate that guy? Didn’t high school, in a roundabout way, teach us  it might be a better idea to treat people with respect and handle matters in a civilized, private, non-roid-rage manner?

When someone does something stupid, it ignites an occasion to talk about every other dumb thing that person has done ever. I don’t think the Cubsmos is alone in this, so I’ll use an example from the Mets’ recent unpleasantness involving K-Rod. When the story broke, I tried to find details of the event that took place, but there were few. What I did find, in almost every article I came across, was a litany of Francisco Rodriguez’s past transgressions that had nothing whatsoever to do with his arrest other than to portray him as someone from whom you would expect this kind of thing:

Last year, Rodriguez signed a three-year, $37-million deal, complete with a $17.5 option for 2012. He is both talented and tempestuous, prone to squabbles. His on-mound celebrations invite occasional scorn. But he still holds the single-season save record.

Yet Rodriguez has been involved in a series of physical altercations in the past. He created a ruckus with former Yankee reliever Brian Bruney last year. There was a reported incident with former Met executive Tony Bernazard. Earlier this year, he engaged in an [sic] dispute with bullpen coach Randy Niemann during the Subway Series.

That’s high school, baby. Not far from that in the greater sporting universe is a very different reporting angle on a very similar story. Jay Mariotti, who also wishes he could unring the domestic violence bell, received a much fairer treatment, at least from most of the news stories I read about the matter. The opinion pieces rip Mariotti to well deserved shreds, but the stories that purport to be news know when to draw the line between facts and personal attacks. For example, the story I linked to earlier ended like this:

When police arrived at the apartment, Mariotti’s girlfriend had reportedly suffered cuts and bruises.

Mariotti is a panelist on the ESPN show “Around the Horn” and regularly writes for, a website owned by AOL.

No comments about his quarrelsome nature. No references to the fights he has picked with everyone in the history of sports. It’s almost as though they are intentionally respecting the ideal that the press should avoid sullying the entire potential jury pool. But when it comes to athletes, and especially the Cubs, we take the juvenile approach to journalism.

But it isn’t just the journalists, though I think it’s fair to expect better from them. Before Zambrano was suspended, I couldn’t hear a story from anyone talking about Big Z that didn’t involve an epic retelling of every past angry eruption from Mount Zambrano. Same thing happened with Milton Bradley. Why? I wish just a few more of the fans, the media, and the Cubs themselves just say, “Hey, he messed up. Whether he’s done other things before, so what? It doesn’t make the incident worse, it just makes us less patient.”

I guess this post has been robbed of its rhyme and reason. Well, not the rhyme; I rhymed facts with attacks. But it has gotten a tad sloppy, just like my high school English papers. So I’ll just cut to the point: is it too much to ask to be grown ups, at least for those of us who aren’t still in high school?

Alan Shore as Sammy Sosa

Allow me to elaborate on my post from yesterday (which came in almost muted reaction to the Chicago magazine article on Sammy). This will require some imagination on your part. When you see Alan Shore, I want you to picture Sammy Sosa. When he talks about the legal profession, I want you to imagine he’s talking about baseball. And when he describes Eugene Young and pie and embezzlement and lying, I want you to replace it all by conjuring up thoughts of Jim Hendry and retired numbers and egotism and steroids. If you can do that, you can understand how I feel about how the Cubs treated Sammy Sosa.

If you can’t, well, it was worth a shot.

Sammy Sosa: Cubs ‘Threw Me into the Fire’ – Chicago magazine – September 2010 – Chicago

Sammy Sosa: Cubs ‘Threw Me into the Fire’ – Chicago magazine – September 2010 – Chicago

This article in Chicago magazine really speaks for itself. I’ve been outspoken on my Team Sammy status, but I don’t know that the fair perspective offered up by this article reflects on anyone very favorably.

Do What You Love. Now.

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella hugs Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox before the game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on August 22, 2010. Piniella announced Sunday that the game would be his last game as manager.   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom
More than 8,000 games managed are being celebrated in that hug.

Lou Piniella came up for four games with the Baltimore Orioles in 1964. He didn’t make it back to the big leagues until a six-game stint with the Indians in 1968 followed by his rookie-of-the-year campaign with the Royals in 1969. Never again has more than one season of Major League Baseball transpired without the likes of Lou Piniella.

Lou last played with the Yankees in 1984 and took over as manager in 1986. His next year off was ’89 in between his time in New York and in Cincinnati, where he won the World Series in 1990. He didn’t miss a single game of the regular season in between his transitions from the Reds to the Mariners or from Seattle to Tampa. 2006 was the last year Lou Piniella didn’t have a full-time job with Major League Baseball, and even then he worked as an analyst for FOX.

Since he first started playing for the Selma Cloverleafs in 1962, Lou Piniella has made a living in the game of baseball. From 1962 to 2010, the man had three vacations from baseball: 1985, 1989, 2006. That’s it. He had a chance to do what he loved for nearly 50 years.

I don’t know how a guy like that could say goodbye without crying, especially seeing as though he did not have the chance to end things on his own terms.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lou return to baseball in some capacity. I’d actually be shocked if he didn’t. People give Brett Favre a hard time about his indecision (or maybe just his passive-aggressive evasion of training camp, but that’s another story). Michael Jordan was roundly mocked for giving baseball a try. George Foreman couldn’t stop boxing or stop naming his children George . . . or grilling. Larry King can’t stop getting married.

It’s easy to make fun of people who hang on past their prime or risk making fools of themselves for one last shot at glory, but those who spend their entire adult lives doing what they love find the hardest thing in the world is to stop doing it.

So when Lou came to the realization that this was the last time he’d ever put on his uniform, he couldn’t stop the tears because the truth of his own words was tearing him apart. If he had his way, this isn’t how his career would have ended. The baseball part is obviously dismal, both this Cubs season and Lou’s last game (a 16-5 mockery of the sport he loves). His reason for leaving is infinitely more painful. Easy as it seems to walk away from a team this bad, I don’t envy anyone who says goodbye to doing what he loves so he can also say goodbye to a person he loves even more. That is the pain of mortality beating Lou to a pulp.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Lou never would have suffered pain severe enough to break through the surface in his final postgame press conference if he didn’t live a life so full of love. He loved his job. He loves his family. Love like that forges bonds not painlessly severed. Lou should be (and I’m sure is) proud of his career and pleased with the strength of his relationships. Lou has enjoyed a meaningful life.

But when you get to the part of life when many of the things you have enjoyed most are in your rearview mirror, the value of a moment comes into stark relief. All of us who witnessed Lou’s emotion yesterday should take notice: do not take a single day for granted. The people in your life aren’t here forever. And your opportunity to do what you do best will eventually fade.

If you’re doing what you love now, whether it’s for a living or a hobby or whatever, by all means enjoy every second of it. But if there’s something you would love to try and have been putting off until someday, don’t wait. The sharp pain of saying goodbye is nothing compared to the chronic ache of regret.

Au Revoir, Sweet Lou

Goodbye, Lou. Thanks for leading the Cubs to three winning seasons and one worth leaving early.

Lou Piniella is about to manage his last game with the Cubs and probably his last ever. He’ll retire with more than 1,800 wins and more than 100 more wins over .500 as a manager. More importantly than where he’ll spend the rest of this season, he will be near his mother for the rest of his life. If you have ever been there for someone in their final moments, whether it’s for mere seconds or over the course of many long years, it is simultaneously painful and rewarding. (When anyone says that about being a Cubs fan, I hope they’re kidding. There is no comparison. Watching losing baseball is a mild annoyance. Losing someone you love redefines you.)

In baseball terms, Lou has been a great manager for the Cubs and the Rays and the Mariners and the Reds and the Yankees. But honestly, I don’t really know what that entails. It is strictly impossible to quantify what anyone else would have done with the teams Lou had. The people who didn’t manage his teams have nothing but what if‘s and would have‘s. Lou did it. No one can measure what someone else would have done in his place, but what you can measure is that for 3,548 games, an owner of a Major League Baseball team entrusted Lou to do the job.

What makes Lou better than Lee Elia, Jim Frey, Don Zimmer, Don Baylor, Dusty Baker, or anyone who managed the Cubs in between? No idea. Managers don’t win games. They don’t decide who wins. They make decisions you can never replicate or retry, you can only second guess. They influence the temperament of a baseball team. They give the media something to write and the fans something to talk about.

The bottom line is, they lead, and leading is a thankless job. No matter how good you do, people will always think of ways you could have led better. No matter who decides you’re the right person for the job, thousands more will disagree. Yes, if you win, many people will give you too much credit, but many more will point out that fact.

It doesn’t matter. The greatness of a leader comes with the task of accepting responsibility without credit, taking the blame with the glory, and staying out of the way of your team’s progress—all of it, ultimately, on your own. Lou was a great manager for doing what everyone else thought they could do better. Go ahead and run wild with your theories, your bar bets, and your blog arguments. What fans and talking heads debate in theory, Lou exercised in practice.

Well done, Lou. Thanks. God bless you and your family.