"Ozzie's a good counselor. He's from his country. About the only thing I wouldn't want Ozzie counselling me is my finances." advice!"
Lou Piniella was joking in the dugout before Sunday's Cubs win over the White Sox, but he wasn't hiding his displeasure with Carlos Zambrano's decision to keep his dinner date with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen Friday night just hours after he was sent home for a tirade in the Cubs dugout.
Piniella himself was so upset with the outburst and having to send his ace pitcher home in the first inning that he canceled his own dinner plans with his daughter he hasn't seen since spring training.
"I was sick from what happened. And I was very tired and I was embarrassed. They went out by themselves, I stayed home. That's all I got to say about that situation," Pinella said.
The dinner didn't quite cause the same stir as Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber's dinner date, but in Chicago during the Crosstown Classic against the biggest rivals in the city?
"I would think in those type of circumstances, even if you planned it before, that better judgment would have kept you home that night," echoed General Manager Jim Hendry. "If you go through what you did that day, and go through what you did with your teammates, you might be better served staying home."
Guillen says he wasn't trying to show up Lou Piniella on how to handle Big Z, but rather was having dinner with one of his "best buddies".
"He regretted it. I talked to him about what he should do," Guillen said, characterizing it as "fatherly" advice. "I told him, 'talk to them -- talk to them about it.' Obviously apologize not just to Lou, but to everyone. I said, 'confront your problem, face it, take it like a man and get some help. Because you are too good a people, too good a person, too good a father, too good a friend, too good a husband, son, for people to be talking about you when that's not you.'"
Guillen said he told Zambrano he didn't do anything gravely wrong, such as a crime, but he did make a mistake and deserves the negative attention he's getting out of it. Yet Guillen is convinced Zambrano will do the right thing -- get help and move on.
While neither Jim Hendry nor Lou Piniella has heard those apologies from Big Z just yet, they don't expect to hear anything until the suspension is resolved with Major League Baseball's Player Association.