10/04/08 9:47 PM ET
Piniella sets story straight on pep talk
Contrary to reports, skipper says he did not yell at his players
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"I told them, 'Look, we're very capable of [winning] three in a row," Piniella said before Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "I get a kick out of reading all these comments from these other teams -- 'Well, the Cubs are the team that's supposed to win. The pressure's on them. Nobody expects anything from us.'
"[The Dodgers] have [Manny] Ramirez. It's almost amusing to hear junk like that."
The Cubs trail the best of five series, 2-0, and need a win on Saturday to keep it alive. Piniella delivered his message after Thursday's 10-3 loss at Wrigley Field, and it did not include any yelling or screaming, despite some reports by the Chicago media that he did just that to some of the Latin players.
"First of all, it's upsetting to me, because I haven't yelled at any player here in two years," Piniella said. "I don't yell at players. I respect them. Sometimes I have to have meetings with them in my office, but outside of that, I've been very positive.
"I was giving them a little pep talk. When you give a little pep talk in Spanish, you get a little animated. Plus, I'm not a stoic-type character anyways, so I do get a little animated."
Stoic? Piniella? C'mon.
"It was just a little pep talk -- a nice friendly pep talk with [Alfonso] Soriano and [Aramis] Ramirez," he said. "They're two of my key people here. Henry [Blanco] was there, and I think [Carlos] Marmol and one other kid, but that's all it was. I did the same thing with Derrek Lee and Kerry Wood and [Mark] DeRosa and Reed Johnson in the [trainer's room]."
Piniella was bothered that the story was given so much credibility.
"It's bad reporting," Piniella said. "Why don't they come to me? Why don't they ask the players? It doesn't matter. It's over with. I don't care. If I had to pay attention to everything that's said, I'd go cuckoo.
"We'd played a bad ballgame, everybody was down a little bit, let's get the blood flowing a little bit."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.