As far as pranks by Billy the Marlin go, this one was as clever as it was obvious. Between the second and third innings of Saturday's Marlins-Cubs game, Billy pranced around the diamond and in front of the Chicago Cubs dugout with a real live goat.
It was a billy goat. Get it? Well, Cubs skipper Lou Piniella didn't. Or at least he didn't like it.
Now he is going all over TV and radio trashing the Marlins for having a little fun at his team's expense, never mind the fact that the Fish took two of three from the Cubs over the weekend.
"Tasteless," Piniella said after the game, which his team won. "Every time we come here, they do some kind of gimmick. I don't know who thinks them up. I mean, when they come to Chicago, we don't fry marlin."
Well fried marlin is quite tasty, actually, but we prefer ours lemon-seared with a side of broccoli, thank you. Frying can be fattening.
But everyone knows the whole curse of the goat story with the Cubs, which has become the longest standing curse in the majors now that the Boston Red Sox have used steroids to rid themselves of the ghost of that Babe Ruth fella.
But Sweet Lou, who doesn't believe in curses or hexes or having a reliable closer (see acquisition of Kevin Gregg), can't seem to get the Marlins stunt off his mind. He went on ESPN on Wednesday and blasted Billy the Marlin again, this time with the help of Chicago homer Michael Wilbon on "Pardon the Interruption."
"Yes, I thought it was tasteless for the Marlins to do that. Look, you can have some fun, but I thought they went overboard with that, the billy goat thing," Piniella said. "it's been three years now and I am getting tired of it."
All these harsh words and Billy can't say a thing back -- mostly because he can't really speak. Well, we will speak for you, buddy. Keep doing what you do because obviously it's working. Maybe Piniella couldn't focus on managing the game because he was still seething from the smell of that farm animal.
Whatever the case, the Marlins are sure not to hear the end of this, and there is still a chance the team could find themselves at Wrigley Field in the playoffs. Let's hope Piniella has the grills out when we come. And Lou, don't forget to invite Steve Bartman.