Laugh... watching the Cubs go through this crap is like watching a train wreck! Piniella Suspended IndefinatelyLength of Piniella's suspension to be determined by MLB on Monday
Updated: June 3, 2007, 6:41 PM ET
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella was suspended indefinitely and fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball on Sunday for his latest dirt-kicking tirade against an umpire.
Piniella was ejected in the eighth inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
After Angel Pagan was thrown out trying to steal third on a pitch that bounced away from the catcher, Piniella stormed out of the dugout and kicked dirt as he argued and tossed his cap, leading to his ouster by third-base umpire Mark Wegner.
MLB also said Piniella made contact with Wegner during the outburst -- which Piniella denied.
Piniella began serving his suspension Sunday. The length of Piniella's suspension will be determined Monday after a meeting with John McHale Jr., the MLB executive vice president for administration.
"I wasn't expecting anything until the early part of the week," said Piniella, who has been known to kick dirt and toss bases since he started managing in 1986.
He planned to watch Sunday's game from his office, with bench coach Alan Trammell managing the team during the suspension.
Piniella's outburst came one day after catcher Michael Barrett and pitcher Carlos Zambrano fought in the dugout and clubhouse, leaving Barrett with a cut on his lower lip that required six stitches at a hospital and a bruise below his left eye.
The Cubs had lost six straight entering Sunday's series finale against the Braves, but the frustration that had been percolating this season.
"It all starts with playing bad baseball," general manager Jim Hendry said. "When you play as poorly as we have now for a few weeks time, a lot of frustration sets in because you do have a lot of guys that care and a lot of guys that expect to win. Nobody's anything but extremely disappointed, frustrated with where we're at."
The same fundamental lapses that marked the past few seasons under former manager Dusty Baker are plaguing the Cubs even after their offseason overhaul.
They hired Piniella. They committed $300 million to retain and sign players, adding free-agent prize Alfonso Soriano. But the results are all too familiar for a franchise that last won a championship in 1908 and has not been to the World Series since 1945.
A team that thought it was a playoff contender after winning 66 games last year entered Sunday's game at 22-31.
Piniella says he and management are on the same page, but this clearly has been a difficult season for him. His frustration seems to grow with every mistake on the bases and on defense -- and there have been plenty lately.
There was a 9-4 loss to Florida on Tuesday in which Mark DeRosa got thrown out trying to go to third on a grounder to short and Michael Barrett got picked off second. A day later, they lost 9-0.
And after an off day on Thursday, things took a turn for the worse. Besides the altercation between Zambrano and Barrett, the Cubs committed several mistakes on defense in an 8-5 loss to Atlanta.
Hendry said the fight is "a fixable situation. It happened, it's over."