We ran the gamut of topics with Lou today, from how his team is positioned for September to his own future to instant replay. A sampling:
--Lou mentioned that last year, the Cubs had to put pedal to the metal most of the year just to make the playoffs. I asked him if having the lead this year theoretically should make things easier. "It should keep us fresher in September," Lou said. "We've been resting this team since Soriano's come back. You look at us, and we're pretty fresh just about everywhere...It should keep us fresher, but you never know about this business. All your best-laid plans can go awry. I hope they don't. But you never know in this business. Put it this way: I'd rather be in this position, knowing that we're as rested as we possibly can be, than having to have gone full throttle the whole way."
--On the past having some bearing on this year, Lou said it shouldn't. "It doesn't mean anything to me," he said. "I dont' know what's happened here in the past. I read about it the least I can. I told these kids that before the season started in spring training. My first message was, 'You're going to be asked a lot of questions about what's transpired here.' I said, 'Look, this team stands on its own merit.' The talk is about this year and this year only. And I think we've adhered to that all year."
--Lou reiterated that this is his last managing job and that he didn't want to talk about a contract extension. "I'm signed through next year, so there's plenty of time," he said. "But this will be my last job, I can tell you, my last managing job. I can stay (in baseball) as a consultant."
--On instant replay, which can begin for the first time Thursday at Wrigley Field, Lou was hoping for a red hanky to throw on call challenges. "I'd love to be able to throw a red hanky or a green hanky or something," he said. "Imagine being able to throw something on the field, and (you) can't be ejected?" But seriously, Lou said he foresees some problems. "This could turn into a little bit of a fiasco initially," he said with a laugh. "If it takes too long, this is not like football. You've got a pitcher that's standing there. I tell you what, it'll probably be used a ploy by some managers just to freeze the pitcher for five or six minutes and cool him off if he's going really well. Baseball's got to look at this thing carefully. But I want my red hanky."