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Chicago Cubs: Carlos Zambrano May Be the Only Hope for the Franchise

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MAY 18:  Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Chicago Cubs looks on during a game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on May 18, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Connor KillorenSenior Analyst IJune 6, 2011

Today's game against the hated St. Louis Cardinals followed a traditional script for the woeful Chicago Cubs.

With a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning at Busch Stadium and closer Carlos Marmol on the mound, the team found a way to lose.

Marmol gave up a double to former Cub Ryan Theriot followed by a walk-off two-run home run to All-Universe first baseman Albert Pujols, his second in as many days. 

Such has been the norm for the Cubs this season, much like seasons come and gone.

The frustration has been mounting in the fan base, the front office and, most recently, the clubhouse.

Speaking to the media after a strong seven-inning, one earned run outing, starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano verbally lashed out.

He began by attacking Marmol, saying, "The problem wasn't Pujols. The problem was Theriot's at-bat. We should have known better than this. We are playing like a Triple-A team. This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team and the owners. Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassing, that's the word for this team."

Zambrano paused, turned towards Marmol's locker and continued saying, "We should know that Ryan Theriot is not a good fastball hitter. We should know that as a team. We should play better. We stink. That's all I've got to say."

By those sentiments, Zambrano might as well have been a spokesman for the fans.

Having a 2-1 lead over your hated rivals on their field and blowing it?

That doesn't happen to good teams and the Cubs did a great job of showing that they are far from being anywhere near a good team.

Calling this team mediocre is a stretch.

How about awful? Horrendous?

I think you get the picture.

The scariest part about this nightmare is that an end isn't in sight.

The team's great front office management (notice the sarcasm) has no room to make any big deals because of long-term contracts with aging players Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Dempster.

To have those three players being paid the kind of money they are for the kinds of performances they've had this season is disgusting.

The smartest move the newest ownership group, the Ricketts family, can make is to clean house and start over once the contracts of those players are up.

At that point the Ricketts need to start building around 20-year-old phenom shortstop Starlin Castro and develop a solid starting rotation through the minor leagues. 

Until then, in the words of Carlos Zambrano, the team will "stink."

The front office just needs to hope that Old Style beer and good-looking people will be enough to keep selling tickets while the team rebuilds.

Will Old Style even exist in another 100 years?

What about Wrigley Field itself?

Who knows.

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