Chicago, Tuesday, August 16, 2011. In an exclusive interview, last night, with CSN's David Kaplan, Carlos Zambrano repeated several times, "I was frustrated," in explanation for his meltdown Friday night after giving up 5 home runs early in the Cubs--Braves contest in Atlanta and getting ejected from the game after what looked to be an intentional grazing of Chipper Jones not just once, but twice in the same at bat.
It seems, this time, Z may have gone too far which is too bad. Even some of his staunchest supporters are saying "Z must go" forgetting the cries of “Let’s go Z!” when he pitched the first no-hitter for the organization in 36 years against the Astros in September of 2008.
Throughout the history of Z's many outbursts, it has always been about wanting better for himself and the team. Even his famous "We Stinks" outburst on June 5 of this year was about "we," the team. In case you don't recall Zambrano used the "we word" seven times when he called himself and his team out saying, "We played like a Triple-A team. This is embarrassing, embarrassing for the team, for the owners, for the fans. Embarrassing. That’s the word for this team. We should know better than this, we should know better than we did on the field. We should know that Ryan Theriot is not a good fastball hitter. We should know that as a team. We should play better here. We stink. That’s all I’ve got to say."
At this point, it seems that Z has become the embarrassment. He may have embarrassed the team one too may times. It looks like the handwriting is on the wall for his future in Chicago. The Cubs don't want him, the Chicago media doesn't want him and many of the fans have turned on him. Oh, and also there's the part about the money...18 million or so a year.
Zambrano is the kind of a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and his caring has become toxic. Even though he has said he would like to remain with the organization that he has played with for 1/3 of his life (since 2001)--it may be too late for Z in Chicago. This is too bad because even his harshest critics still have to admit that he is talented as both a hitter and a pitcher.
Yes, he has made his mistakes, over-reacted--but is he a bad guy or is he the best Cubs fan ever? He cares, he feels--although I don't know this for a fact, as I don't know the big Z personally, and I may be way off base no pun intended (well maybe just a little bit)--I believe he may be remembered as "the man who cared too much."
I do think we will see him in action again, maybe across town, in Florida or somewhere else. And if he can channel that caring in the right direction, he will be a force to be reckoned with.
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