Carlos Zambrano's Outburst Overshadows What's Really Wrong With the Cubs
Mount Zambrano erupted again yesterday during the Chicago Cub-Chicago White Sox Crosstown Classic because of his perception of a lack of effort by some of his teammates in the first inning where he gave up four runs.
Everyone is saying the Cubs should get rid of him because of his emotional outburst in the dugout.
I say it's about time somebody on this team showed some life and that they cared about what's happening on the field.
Former Arizona Diamondback manager and current Cub color analyst Bob Brenly said after the incident, "It's good to see somebody show some emotion, because this has been a dead-ass team for the past three months. There have been plenty of opportunities for somebody to blow a cork."
Zambrano's anger stemmed from the first batter Juan Pierre bouncing a ball down the first base line past Derrick Lee who loped after the ball as it went past him for a double. Zambrano thought he should have dived for the ball. He had the same reaction to another play in the inning.
Many observers did think Lee could have possibly knocked that ball down.
Zambrano recorded the final out of the inning taking a throw from Lee as he stomped on the bag.
He then pointed up to the sky as is his custom after each inning...and then the heavens exploded.
He came into the dugout spewing venom, and according to a source said, "If you're not going to play for me, then I'm not going to play for you."
He was prancing back and forth in the dugout and came back at Lee when he reacted to Zambrano's outburst and told him to shut the f--k up. Piniella and the coaches got in between them and Zambrano went into the tunnel.
He came back shortly after and sat on the bench before he was excused for the day by Pineilla and told to go home.
After the game, Piniella said his behavior was unacceptable. GM Jim Hendry responded by suspending him indefinitely.
There is now talk that Zambrano may have played his last game as a Cub, though his no trade clause and the $45 million left on his contract may stand in the way of that.
Hendry then proceeded to shoot himself in the foot as he has done before by saying, "He hasn't been up to the standards that he was at before for two years....If you look at his last 50 starts, he probably ranks in the bottom third in the National League of overall performance."
That comment should have every team calling the Cubs. I'm sure if they can find a trade partner now, they'll really get top dollar in return for him.
But why trade one of the few guys on the team that actually shows he cares?
A comment to the Chicago Tribune today said, "The Cubs should suspend the other 24 players, not the only one that shows some fire and cares about winning."
While I don't agree that nobody else on the team cares about winning, there are a lot of guys just collecting a paycheck right now.
There is one thing you can never say about Zambrano and that is that he dogs it. There isn't a player on the team that runs the bases harder when putting the ball in play.
I wish I could say that about some of the alleged star hitters on the team.
I also wish Pineilla and Hendry cared more about the pitiful play on the field than a player with a reputation for blowing up, aggravated because of his poor performance and what he saw as a lack of effort by his teammates.
I'm not condoning calling out his teammates during a game. That's not good for the team.
But somebody has to inject some life into this corpse of a club, and the manager certainly isn't doing it. Neither is supposed team leader Lee, who has been as dead on the field as his personality this year.
Zambrano has anger issues, and he's probably always going to have them. But at least he doesn't take losing lying down.
Trade Zambrano if you must and get whatever you can for him in return, but he's not the problem. It goes a lot deeper than that.
An overhaul of the front office along with injecting new blood is what is needed here.
Jim Hendry has already said he's not firing Lou Piniella this year.
New owner Tom Ricketts is currently on safari in Africa.
Hopefully when he gets home he realizes he has a lot bigger game to hunt and brings in some fresh meat.
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