Ask Paul Sullivan

In a stretch-run edition of Ask Paul, our man in Houston answers his own questions about Sweet Lou's fuse, Big Z's soft music therapy, Scott Eyre's scoreboard watching, and other relevant issues.

Paul, why are you answering your own questions?

Technological problems. Hope to clear it up soon, but for today only, I'll be asking and answering all the questions I'm pretty sure you'd be asking if your e-mails made it into my e-mail box without me accidentally deleting them all.

Hey Paul, what in the world was Scott Eyre doing sticking his head out of the scoreboard windows during the ninth inning of Wednesday night's win?

Well, I didn't actually see Scott Eyre sticking his head out of the scoreboard innings windows because I can't see that far, but I was assured by my good friend, Mike Downey, that this did occur and was shown on the Cubs telecast. I did see faces in the scoreboard innings windows all night but I assumed they were people who actually worked inside the scoreboard. As far as I know, Eyre is not moonlighting, so I guess he didn't have anything to do and was having some fun. I'm sure some people will think that's outrageous, but it does happen from time to time. Earlier this year, the Cubs relievers went into the Wrigley Field scoreboard and stuck their heads out, and got their picture in the Tribune. But that was before a game, and not on the day after an 11-inning heartbreaker. I'm sure we'll hear more about this issue of Cubs relievers in scoreboards when the Mitchell investigation gets involved.

Yo, Paul, what was Lou's mood after they lost that game in Houston in the 11th inning?

Semi-surly, but not like earlier this year when said at his celebrated press conference: "It's about time they play like major leaguers, or get somebody who can catch the damn ball or run the bases properly." As we all know, Michael Barrett was soon traded, and coincidence or not, Lou has been able to contain his emotions after difficult losses. He was still semi-surly before Wednesday's game, and explained afterwards that a manager doesn't always have to be happy. I agree, and that applies to reporters, too.

Mr. Sullivan, you recently wrote that before his starts to relax and stay focused. If this works, do you see the other Cubs pitchers copying the Big Z's therapy?

I'm not sure what's on their iPods, but I do know Eyre likes Linkin Park and Will Ohman enjoys Cypress Hill and used to be the host of country music Sunday mornings in the Cubs clubhouse, before Ohman went underground. If either of these guys starts listening to Celine Dion, I guess someone will just have to smash the clubhouse stereo.

Paul, why do you mention Lou Piniella's facial hair so much on the Hardball blog? Don't you have something more baseball-oriented to write about?

I only wrote about Lou's faux-beard because everyone was asking me what was going on with Lou, whether he was trying to make a statement, or intimidate the umpires. Or was he just impersonating veteran character actor Brian Dennehey in the Goodman theater production of "Galileo"? Yes, there were many theories, none of which was the apparent reason for not shaving: He just didn't feel like it. This is also my favorite reason for not shaving, so my apologies to any reader who was annoyed by my alleged obsession with the length of Lou's stubble last week. I wont mention it again.

Sully, did anyone ever tell you that you look like Mason Reese, the kid from those Underwood Deviled Ham commercials in the 1970s?

As Dusty would say, 'That's cold, brother.'

Paul, speaking of Dusty, do you ever talk to Dusty Baker or any of his old staff? What's up with those guys? What do they think of this year's Cubs?

I saw Dusty at Shea Stadium in May when he did a game for ESPN, and he seemed pretty relaxed and happy. We didn't really talk about the Cubs, and at that point, things were looking pretty grim anyways, so whatever he thought then is irrelevant now. Sarge Matthews is enjoying himself as a Phillies announcer, but again, we didn't talk Cubs. He has no regrets about his stint here, though the '07 Cubs still have the same problem they had when he was switched from hitting coach to first base coach -- impatient hitting. I saw bullpen coach Juan "Porky" Lopez at a Cubs-Dodgers game last week, and he said he was OK, but we didn't get a chance to talk. That's about it. I'm sure Dusty and his former staff are all paying attention to the Cubs. Do they want the Cubs to make it, or blow it? Can't answer that one.

Dear Paul, who do you think will be the Cubs starter for Game 163?

Well, Paul, you're assuming that Game 163 is a certainty. I agree that it looks like we're headed in that direction. According to the latest pitching schedule released by Lou, it looks like Jason Marquis is shaping up as the pitcher for the potential tiebreaker game between the Cubs and Milwaukee at Wrigley Field. But, as we know, it's Lou's prerogative to change his mind, and a mystery candidate is always a possibility. As veterans of Game 163 in 1998 recall, someone made a giant helium with Harry Caray's face on it and paraded it outside the ballpark on Sheffield and Waveland Avenues during the game. Caray had died that year, and his ghostly presence was instrumental in the Cubs win over San Francisco. This year the giant helium balloon must feature the face of former Cubs closer Rod Beck, who saved Game 163 in '98, and was buried in his Cubs uniform after his tragic death this summer. Full circle, that's the Cubs way.

When are you going to bring back Billy Corgan for a special edition of Ask Paul?

Billy knows he has an open invitation, like Chicago's own Jeff Garlin, to pinch-hit for Ask Paul any time. I'm sure he's a little busy with his Smashing Pumpkins tour, but I did notice they are not scheduled for any venue on Oct. 24th, which is Game 1 of the World Series. Coincidence? I think not.

Sullivan, I noticed you wrote about You-Know-Who-Else recently? When will you start taking questions on him?

Next year. Thanks for all the relevant questions. Hopefully we clear up that computer glitch and resume with Cubs' fans questions to Ask Paul next week.

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