In fact, now that I think about it, I’m sure he was right. There’s a reason this team hasn’t won a World Series in 103 years, and you need look only to the idiocy surrounding the latest Carlos Zambrano “incident” for evidence.
Before we get to Carlos’ latest extremely true and long overdue statements, let’s take a look at his list of past “trangressions.”
1) Punched Michael Barrett in the face FOUR YEARS AGO. Ted Lilly punched his manager in the face almost as recently. Why didn’t the media bring that up over and over?
2) Beat up water cooler in 2009. Uh . . okay.
3) Yelled at Derrek Lee and the rest of his team for playing like a bunch of zombies in 2010. Somehow, this was later changed to “taking a swing at Derrek Lee.” Go back and watch the tape. Never happened.
4) Known to break a bat or two over his knee.
5) Numerous instances of getting mad on the mound and psyching himself out, which have diminished significantly over the last 2 years.
Now, Carlos is once again getting piled on by the Chicago Media (with the notable exception of Bruce Miles), who seemingly lie in wait for Carlos to look at someone side-eyed so they can begin banging the “Trade Z” drum again. What did he do this time? He had the nerve to point out that the 2011 Cubs are worse than terrible, and that a team that was lucky enough to have Ryan Theriot on its roster for 5 years should have known how to get him out.
No, he didn’t throw Carlos Marmol under the bus, he never even mentioned him by name. No, he didn’t rip his teammates, he said “we” throughout the entire statement. He was asked a question and he answered it honestly. More honestly than anyone else in this organization has for the last two seasons. Jim Hendry keeps telling us that this team can compete. Tom Ricketts thinks the only thing wrong with this Cubs team is injuries. Mike Quade evades the question by using stupid nicknames for the players that distract us all from the issue.
There has been one person this season, ONE, who has deigned to tell the truth about this team, and that is Carlos Zambrano. That should be applauded. Because Cubs fans can’t get the truth from their manager, or their GM, or their owner. If they had, Carlos’ statements wouldn’t be such big news. The story here isn’t that Carlos threw his team under the bus, the story is in what stark contrast his statements stand to the company line.
Cubs fans want a leader on this team? Â You jut saw one. Zambrano is more of a leader than anyone else in this organization, and that included the entire front office. And he’s sure as hell been more of a leader than Kerry Wood with his platitudes or Ryan Dempster with his “hey, I’m the funny guy!” schtick. A leader says what needs to be said, even if it’s unpopular. A leader forced people to deal with the hard truths they don’t want to look at. A leader does the right thing even thought it may have less-than-ideal consequences.
The funniest (or saddest, I can’t decide) part of all of this is that he’ll be punished for it. The team’s best pitcher over the course of the last 10 years will be the one to be disciplined for telling the truth, and yet another incompetent, sub-par triple-A reliever will be brought up to take his place. Â Why can’t this team win? Because the Cubs are saddled with a front office that cares more about looking good and selling a fairytale to fans than actually winning ballgames.
Yesterday, Carlos Zambrano pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes. I have no doubt this will get him suspended, at least, or traded, at worst. And I wish him nothing but the best. Â Carlos Â is a hell of competitor and an elite pitcher who throws his heart and soul into every game. He deserves to go a team that appreciates him and win a World Series.
Godspeed. Big Z.