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September 2011

12

COMMENTS

Carlos Zambrano is Done for the Season

Written by , Posted in General

In a move that surprised no one, the Cubs announced today that Carlos Zambrano will not rejoin the team once his stint on the Disqualified List ends on September 12.  I will have more to say about it as the season winds down, but here’s just a few thoughts on what appears to be the end of his Cubs career.

  • I’ve said before in this space that no one was happier about Z’s “explosion” on August 20th than the sportswriters who follow the team.  Virtually every story about Zambrano for the last few years has revolved around either his lack of self-control or a tongue-in-cheek mention of his new-found maturity combined with open speculation about how long it would last.  His departure from the team in Atlanta was a field day for most of the Cubs beat writers–especially the Tribune’s Paul Sullivan who has nurtured a grudge and an ongoing rivalry with Zambrano.  As a consequence, almost  month later we still know very little about Zambrano’s side of the story.
  • And about that “explosion” on that fateful August night in Atlanta–of all of the examples you could give of Carlos’ bad behavior, his actions that night might be the tamest outburst of his career.  Yes, he threw inside twice on a future Hall of Famer (Chipper Jones), probably to get himself taken out of the game.  And yes, he did it on the road, on a night set aside to honor another future Hall of Fame manager (Bobby Cox).  But aside from his poor timing, how and where did he actually lose his much-maligned temper?  If anything, he was alarmingly stoic as he came off the mound and into the dugout.  He didn’t beat up any water coolers or tear apart the clubhouse.  In fact, if he hadn’t told the clubhouse staff of his impulsive intentions to retire, I doubt we’d have ever heard about the whole episode at all.  Certainly he can’t be the first pitcher who got lit up by the opposing team and left the field early to avoid facing the media–especially if the media already has an axe to grind with him.  In some ways, this is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy.  Sportswriters had said for a long time that he would lose his temper, and they seized on the first opportunity he gave them to say, “look, look–he’s at it again.”  I really do believe that if he just quietly let the team that night without saying a word, he’d still be pitching for the Cubs today.
  • But before you think he’s a martyr, let me say clearly: Zambrano is not a victim of anyone but himself.  Though his lack of self-control in his actions and his words, he’s built himself a long, well-documented reputation as a hothead.  I love his passion, but what might have been excusable in his early 20’s doesn’t fly as a 30 year-old, $18M pitcher.  I don’t think he lost his temper on August 12, but he hadn’t done enough before then and hasn’t since that night to prove his doubters wrong.  Frankly, I think it’s a good example of the damage a few poorly chosen words can do.
  • mrbaseball2usa

    Good post, JJ. So based on this, do you want him back next year? Does knowing we’ll be lucky to get 10c on the dollar change the decision?

  • Jedi

    Very even-handed. I’d like to know more about what Carlos was actually thinking when he threw at Jones…was it simply because he wanted out of the game? And if so, was that why he threw inside but didn’t hit him? And if he wanted out of the game so bad, did he feel like Quade had trotted him out there in the 5th as some type of punishment or humiliation? (We all know I hate Mike Quade, I’m not saying that’s what he did…I wonder if that what Carlos THINKS he did).

  • It is too bad Z didn’t have his good stuff that fateful day. It sure would be embarrassing to miss an intentional hit batsman…I would probably clean out my locker too if that happened to me.

  • Chuck

    Depending on the status of the bullpen workload for the previous couple of days, he could have been sent back out there to “take one for the team”. The game was out of hand so Z getting pounded some more wouldn’t really make much of a difference. My guess is that he took offense to that (because that treatment is usually reserved for “lesser” players)and decided to get himself tossed.

  • walterj

    glad he is gone . don’t let the door hit ya on the way out . been wanting this for almost two years now . it’s just sorry the cubs have to eat so much to be done with him .

  • Eddie Von White

    No sympathy here. His side of the story doesn’t matter – actions have consequences. If you or I acted similarly at our places of work repeatedly, we’d be shown the door too. At least this time, we’re not losing a player who he aimed his wrath at.

  • Doc Raker

    “missed an intentional hits batsman” outstanding- that’s how bad Z was, couldn’t even hit Jones when he wanted to. I hope Z is done as a Cub for good. Trade him for a bag of tennis balls and a Binny’s Beverage gift card, just get him out of Wrigleyville.

  • Buddy

    Hopefully Zambrano isn’t part of the 2012 Cubs. However, I won’t be surprised if he somehow returns next year.

  • Doc Raker

    Yes it could go either way. The new GM could say “Ok, all is forgotten we are starting a new” or Ricketts could make an organizational statement and say “We will never let Z play for the Cubs again regardless of if we can trade him or not”. Put me down for the later.

  • BLPCB

    So long Bozo!

  • That would have been the Lizzard ^

  • BLPCB

    I hope we aren’t held hostage this winter by a player we don’t want, like we were with Sosa and Hasbro