8/13 Big Z

One week ago at Wrigley Field, Carlos Zambrano’s Big Z Foundation was being celebrated. Today, Zambrano may be headed home. The Cubs’ volatile right-hander served up five home runs to the Braves, was ejected for throwing at Chipper Jones, and then cleaned out his locker and left the ballpark.

If this is the end, it’s been a wild ride with Zambrano, whose outbursts have overshadowed his pitching too many times. There was the fight with Michael Barrett in the Wrigley Field dugout, the tantrum at U.S. Cellular Field with teammates last year, and the criticism he leveled at Carlos Marmol this year in St. Louis. He could dominate on the mound. He threw a no-hitter at Miller Park against the Astros in 2008, and pitching coaches felt he was a  Cy Young waiting to happen. He has a huge heart — his foundation, which is in its beginning stages — has had an impact on an orphanage in Guatemala. But his emotions got the better of him.

I’m not in Atlanta with the Cubs, and wish I could’ve been there. A friend of Zambrano’s told me he suggested the pitcher sleep on his decision, and wait until morning. But no. Cubs GM Jim Hendry will honor Z’s wishes. We’ll find out more Saturday in Atlanta.

— Carrie Muskat 


I wish him well….but not with the Cubs. This is one too many times that he has stepped out of line. Arguing with your own players in the dugout, telling the media they are a Triple A team, and now packing up and leaving because you had a bad game…I hope he does retire. He’s a good pitcher, no doubt about it, but you can’t have someone like that on the team. He let his whole team down…not because he had a bad game, but because he left them behind after his mistakes. I hope he does retire and doesn’t come back.

So Zambrano wants out. Almost everywhere you can work, except the military, if you say you quit, the boss will take you up on it, especially if you walk out of the workplace. Whatever else Carlos may be, he was an employee of the Chicago National League Baseball Team, and now he’s out. So long, good luck, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Why wouldn’t Hendry honor Z’s wishes? This may be the only miraculous way Hendry can get out of yet another bad contract. Hendry sure knows how to pick them. Hendry thinks just by playing for the Cubs, “problem” players can turn their life around. Too bad Bradley didn’t retire thereby saving Hendry the humiliation of trading him for the only bag of balls available…Silva. Where was this philosophy when “problem” child Josh Hamilton was Cubs’ property? Evidently Bradley and Zambrano were model citizens in Hendry’s eyes but Hamilton was beyond help. Look who’s laughing now. What a sad sack ORGANIZATION this has turned into. A GM without longterm common sense and now a manager that insists on playing veteran role players or defensive liabilites (Baker, Johnson, Soriano) over the up and coming youth. No wonder this team was out of contention at the onset.

It’s another sad day, not just for the Chicago Cubs and their fans but for Carlos and his family as well. Carlos Zambrano has had all the God given talent to be a dominating pitcher for years. Unfortunately, his mind set has derailed his career far too many times. I fear that this is the final straw. He has become too much of a distraction and maybe too hard to trade and too hard to keep on the Cubs. It’s pretty obvious that last years counseling did not do enough and you have to wonder if he has gone off his medication. I don’t know if he will be back with the Cubs but I’m sure it won’t be for quite awhile. He will be suspended for a time and obviously will need more help than the Cubs can give. It may be best for him and his family that he does retire. It’s another case of what might have been. As for me, I pray he gets the help he needs and becomes what he was meant to be.

When you’re as emotional as a guy like Big Z and you want to compete and you feed off of winning, you just get tired of losing whether it’s a team effort or you give up 5 home runs yourself. Mark Grace once said that he had to get out of Chicago because the losing just takes it’s toll on you emotionally. Anyone that plays softball somewhere locally can usually spot a couple guys like this in your league at the very least; I know I play with one and he is the nicest guy you can meet off the field. At some point it’s just not fun anymore. Losing takes it’s toll and the Cubs organization is filled with it. Big Z has every right to do this and I don’t blame him one bit. The guy has amazing talent. Let’s face it: the Cubs organization is really at a low point, and everyone has their limit with how much they can take. I hope Big Z does come back and play for another team, but with the youngsters coming, it’s best at this point to let them be fresh and find their way into it without the distractions. And those distractions come from the bottom to the top of the organization.

CC Sabathia gave up 5 homers last night…he didn’t clean out his locker and
quit…Drama Zambrano!!!

Comparing a pitcher that gives up 5 homeruns in one game with another pitcher that does the same is one thing….but comparing Sabathia and Zambrano? Or the Cubs and Yankees? Or the situation? Not at all the same. I would bet that if Z was on the Yankees, challenging for a playoff spot year after year….his ills may be cured. I think his personality does not work well with a pathetic organization with a GM such as Hendry. Every spring…oh no, here we go again…now he’s signed Bradley, now he traded for Silva, now he signed Lopez, now he signed blah, blah, blah. I agree with Johnny, if Z retires and forfiets his salary, I hope he does indeed come back with a WINNING team and does well. Showing the world even though he IS flawed and nowhere near the pitcher Sabathia is, it is not about the money. I just can’t help but hope he hangs in there with the Cubs until Hendry’s fate is decided. If Hendry sticks around Z may be joined by a legion of fans “retiring” from this leaderless team.

It’s stuff like this that I think Bryce Harper (the prospect for the Nationals) should pay attention to. He’s still extremely young (only 18), but has earned a reputation for letting his emotions get the better of him and was recently kicked out of a game in AA for going crazy after a controversial third strike (see video here: http://wp.me/p1KoZR-Z ).

I tend to think Harper will eventually grow out of it since he’s so young and just learning how to deal with the spotlight. But, just in case he needs a reminder of why you need to be able to control your emotions if you’re going to be successful in the Majors, I think Carlos Zambrano just gave him him a prime example of what will happen if you don’t grow up.

I was supportive of Big Z until fridays game but not any more. This is an opportunity for the Cubs to make a positive change of which they need more of. Bring on more youngsters after watching the last couple of games.

Given all the baggage coming with Z…I can’t help but think if us fans were polled we would still rather have Hendry leave (retire, quit, get fired….whatever) than Zambrano. Zambrano’s absence surely gets rid of ONE headache and creates one opportunity for another pitcher but Hendry’s absence would get rid of a migraine and create COUNTLESS opportunities for the future. Let’s not be fooled by Hendry’s “stern disciplinary action” (ooooh.) first administered to Bradley (sent home, suspended with just a few weeks left of the season-that took guts…NOT) then to Silva (released) and now to Zambrano (the rarely used DISQUALIFIED list, oh boy Hendry REALLY means business NOW…). Instead, let’s remember that Hendry creates all these situations by dropping th ball to begin wtih when he signs these guys. Zambrano is the least of the Cubs’ problems as Hendry will save the day by acting tough and then finding yet another reclaimation project??? Afte all this fades away…we STILL have the lead-gloved, aging, Soriano in LF for years. Hey, maybe he’ll get mad and threaten to …. nahh, now I am really dreaming.

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