Last October, new Cubs manager Lou Piniella was a broken man.

“I came to Chicago for a new start, to escape my infamous reputation,” said Piniella. “Instead, all I heard was jokes about kicking dirt and throwing things.”

It was after he read a particularly snide Sun-Times column that Piniella decided he could take no more.

“I used my frequent flyer miles and took a vacation with my family,” he said. “It wasn’t until we got to the airport that we found out our flight to Hawaii was overbooked. So instead, we went to Tibet.”

When he returned a few weeks later, Piniella was a kinder and gentler man, said friends and associates.

The cause?

“I’m now a Tibetan Buddhist,” said a robed Piniella. “I meditate three times a day to nurture my spiritual development. And you’ll never see me stomping my feet or yelling anymore. I don’t want to disturb the delicate balance of the universe we live in.”

If Piniella’s inner peace remains intact all year, Cubs GM Jim Hendry said he would consider sending often-volatile starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano on a similar journey to curb his emotional issues.

heckler editorial staff