ORLANDO, Fla. -- Nobody told Lou Piniella that part of his job description upon becoming the manager of the Chicago Cubs would be to serve as the designated driver when general manager Jim Hendry needed to leave the winter meetings for the hospital.
|Lou Piniella is the benefactor of all of GM Jim Hendry's offseason moves. (AP)|
As a mostly uneventful week of winter meetings concluded Thursday, the best and most important news to emerge was regarding Hendry's health. After the GM underwent an angioplasty Wednesday evening at an Orlando hospital, the Cubs said Hendry was resting comfortably and was in "good spirits."
No word on how many cell phone minutes he had gobbled up from his hospital bed. We already know he knocked off the last details of the Ted Lilly deal while in the hospital undergoing heart tests.
Which begs the question: What kind of nut continues working when his life is turning into an episode of Grey's Anatomy?
"I can understand," Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said as he walked out to an airport shuttle. "I'm just glad he's OK."
Of course Colletti can understand. While working under Brian Sabean as a San Francisco assistant GM a few years ago, Colletti left the winter meetings for a whirlwind 24-hour period to fly home to Chicago for his daughter's birthday party.
While there, he spent half of it pacing around the backyard, cell phone pressed to his ear, finalizing a free-agent deal with Edgardo Alfonzo.
As good a job as it is to run a major-league baseball club, it takes a whole lot of masochism to keep it. The hours are endless, the stakes are high and Ralph from Rosemont and Willie from Wheaton are always on the phone with the local sports talk stations, telling the world what a moron you are.
You balance on the high wire every waking minute to prove them wrong. You keep working and pushing, and you hope the game's rapids don't sweep you away.
A friend of Hendry's told us that the GM hadn't been feeling very good for the past few days. Gary Hughes, Hendry's special assistant, said that Hendry thought he had indigestion Tuesday night at dinner and that Hughes and Piniella discussed taking the GM to the hospital then.
No, no, Hendry told them, and by later Tuesday night, he was feeling better. But the discomfort was back when he woke up Wednesday morning.
"We drove him over to the hospital," Piniella said. "We were concerned. It turned out to be the right decision."