09/05/08 7:28 PM ET
Never trust online directions
Piniella, Sinatro take a wrong turn on the way to Cincinnati
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
That was the question in the Cubs' clubhouse Friday. Lou Piniella and first-base coach Matt Sinatro decided to drive from Chicago on Friday morning to Cincinnati. It's about a five- to six-hour trip, if you know where you're going.
Evidently, they didn't. It took Piniella and Sinatro eight hours.
"Matty was driving," Piniella said, "but we actually 'Googled' the trip, and we were 'Googled' to East Liverpool, Pa. Who in the heck knows? On the sheet we had, it was 'Cincinnati to Liverpool.' I was thinking, I was in Cincinnati three years, and I didn't remember a 'Liverpool' around the area."
Actually, there is no East Liverpool, Pa., but there is an East Liverpool, Ohio, which is near the Pennsylvania border. That's not exactly near Cincinnati, but let Piniella tell the story.
"I took a nap," Piniella said, "but right before I took a nap, we passed [Interstate] 75. I said, 'You know, Dayton is only about 40 miles from Cincinnati.' But we kept going because we kept following the map.
"When I woke up, we were 80, 90 from Cleveland, Ohio," Piniella said. "I said, 'No, I don't think so.' We backtracked and came down through Columbus. We left Chicago at 8 in the morning, and we should've been here at 2."
They had apparently stayed on Interstate 80-90 and missed a turnoff. They showed up at Great American Ball Park at 5:05 p.m. ET. There was some concern that Piniella and Sinatro didn't realize there was a one-hour time change from Chicago to Cincinnati, but it was confirmed that Sinatro did know about the difference.
Sinatro threw away the Google directions. Remember, he's the first-base coach. Players might want to think twice about his baserunning instructions.
"It wasn't his fault," Piniella said. "I was in the car also. I probably shouldn't have taken a nap."
Some of the players were wondering out loud as to how they would manage if Piniella didn't show. We won't name names, but there were more than a few who wanted to tweak the lineup in their favor.
The drive past tractors and barns on two-lane roads in Ohio was one way to forget the Cubs' five-game losing streak.
"I wanted to get my mind off baseball for a little bit, and I sure as heck did," Piniella said.
They finally stopped at a gas station to buy a map.
"We realized we were at the opposite end of the state," Piniella said. "We started to work our way down through the central part of the state, and came down through Columbus and right to Cincinnati."
The Cubs' next stop on this road trip is St. Louis. Will Piniella drive there next?
"No, we might end up in Georgia," he said, laughing.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.