KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Initially saying he was "shocked" to learn Lou Piniella was stepping down as Cubs manager after Sunday's game against the Braves instead of the end of the season, Ozzie Guillen gave it some more thought and completely understood.
"I was talking with Kenny (Williams) and Joey (Cora) about a month ago," Guillen said. "When you're going to retire at the end of the year, I don't know how you can handle it. Can you come to the ballpark every day and your mind, your heart and your soul is there? I cannot speak for myself because I've never been in that position. With the way I am, I'd just say: 'I'm done.' "
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That's what Piniella finally did say Sunday, but Guillen hopes his North Side counterpart doesn't go into complete retirement.
"I think he will be in the game because guys like that, baseball needs people like Lou Piniella," Guillen said. "I don't know if he's going to continue to manage, but I know he should stay in the game."
As for the Cubs' next manager, Guillen says good luck. It's been 102 years since the North Siders won the World Series, and the pressure seems to become more intense with each passing year.
"I think it's easy to manage this side (South) because they don't expect us to win," Guillen said. "When you manage the other side, every year ... I remember spring training two years ago, we didn't even hit spring training and all of the sudden they're going to win the championship and they have (Kosuke) Fukudome on the front page. That's a lot of pressure.
"I don't know if it's tougher or not because I never was on that side. But looking from far away, coming to the ballpark every day and how many years they've gone through ... a lot of people talk about winning a championship, but it's a lot of losing years out there, a lot. That's frustrating. There's no doubt it's easier to come to this side of town and work."
As for the manager who finally wins the World Series for the Cubs?
"He's going to be God," Guillen said. "He's going to be remembered for the rest of his life. His kids and grandkids are going to remember him forever."
Pena power: Manager Ozzie Guillen on Sunday was still raving about Tony Pena.
Moved out of the bullpen to start Game 2 of Saturday night's doubleheader against the Royals, Pena stepped up and delivered 7 innings, allowing 4 runs while throwing 91 pitches.
"The highlight of my year, I don't care what people say, was Pena (Saturday) night," Guillen said. "When you have nobody in the bullpen and play extra inning one game, you pray. Every inning I asked: 'How do you feel?' and he wanted to keep going. He saved maybe a week of baseball for the White Sox, from the standpoint of the pitching staff."
Fresh troops: Ozzie Guillen said he hasn't talked to GM Kenny Williams about September call-ups yet, but he knows what he wants.
"I will need a catcher for sure and maybe a couple more arms in the bullpen," Guillen said.