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Carlos Zambrano calls the Cubs “embarrassing”

Jun 6, 2011, 9:14 AM EDT


Yesterday I flipped from the Reds-Dodgers game to the Cubs-Cardinals game. The kids were watching with me, and as they do every time a game is on, they constantly asked me questions about who so-and-so is, and is this guy good and all of that. Carlos Zambrano was on the mound and they asked me about him.

“Is he good?” my daughter asked.

“Um, yeah, sure, he’s good” I said.

“Is he cool?” my son asked.

“Well, I don’t know if ‘cool’ is the right word,” I told him.

All of this led to me explaining to them — as my wife listened in from the other room wondering why I engage in these conversations with the kids — about how Zambrano more or less flips out once a year and beats up coolers and fights with his teammates and stuff.  I think I started it with the idea of teaching the kids a lesson about composure and good sportsmanship, but it really just made them think that Zambrano was awesome.  I pretty much fail as a father.

Anyway, the conversation ended with the kids asking me to keep the game on because they wanted to see “the Carlos guy” go crazy on some Gatorade coolers or yell at someone.  I told them that it wasn’t going to happen because Zambrano has been better behaved this year and maybe he was trying harder to be a better teammate and all of that.  Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. I feel like I need to share with the kids, however, the fact that Zambrano threw his teammates under the bus after the game:

Albert Pujols won Sunday’s game in the 10th inning with another walk-off homer. This time it was a Rodrigo Lopezfastball traveling 426 feet into the left-center field seats. But Zambrano felt burned by Carlos Marmol. The closer blew the save in the ninth when Ryan Theriot lined a two-out double down the left-field line, scoring the game-tying run from first.

“The problem wasn’t Pujols,” Zambrano said. “We played like a Triple-A team. This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team, for the owners. Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassing. That’s the word here for this team.

He specifically called out Marmol’s decision to throw Theriot a hanging breaking ball instead of a fastball, allowing him to tie things up.

Yes, this would have been a useful lesson for the kids. Maybe a dual lesson: (1) Sometimes it’s better to be seen rather than heard; but (2) Even if you can’t follow rule number 1, at least always tell the truth.

So, hey, at least Zambrano was half in the good yesterday. Because even if his motives were bratty and selfish (question: would he have called Marmol out if it was a Ryan Demptser start that got blown?) he’s not wrong.

  1. halladaysbicepts - Jun 6, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    I’ve always thought that Zambrano is a missunderstood guy. He cares about winning, just doesn’t care too much for either his teammates or the managers that he played for.

    He probably drove poor Lou Pinella to an early retirement and took 5 years off his life.

    • Jonny 5 - Jun 6, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      See I always thought he was just a big Jerk, who also cares about winning more than he cares for his teammates or managers….. Hmm?

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

      I agree. The guy just wants to win. He is a competitor. It would be one thing if he just ripped his teammates and did not hold himself accountable. But that is not the case. I’m glad somebody had the guts to come out and speak the truth. The Cubs are an embarrassing mess. I think Zambrano gets upset when he doesn’t see the same level of passion for winning from those around him. I’m sure the national media is crushing him for this (I heard those two clowns Hershieser and Valentine doing so last night), but I salute you Carlos Zambrano. Way to speak the truth.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 6, 2011 at 1:06 PM

        If you want to show competitiveness, show professionalism and tactfulness when you do.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 6, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        Sometimes those character traits that make people good, also make them a bit of a jackass. It happens. For instance, Michael Jordan was a jackass and did and said crazy stuff in the name of competition. For example, a common story with merit is that he was playing some board game with Steve Kerr’s mom. She won and the next day he took it out on Kerr by punching him in the face at practice. On the court, however, that competitive streak won the Bulls six titles. So, you take the good and the bad. Not comparing Jordan and Zambrano; just illustrating that often times personality traits and performance are linked.

    • 78mu - Jun 6, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      From seeing the reaction of Cubs fans it seems they appreciate what he said and agree with him. And the David Haugh column in the Trib today has to be one of the most ridiculous overreactions ever and it’s good to see the fans let him know how stupid his idea is.

  2. shawon0meter - Jun 6, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    Glad someone said it!

  3. alawson2 - Jun 6, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Are you suggesting that the Cubs aren’t embarrassing?

    • alawson2 - Jun 6, 2011 at 9:58 AM

      by teh way check out my blog,

  4. yettyskills - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    Zambrano is the worst teammate since Barry Bonds. There is no misunderstanding. He is an idiot, a headcase, a boardline 2-3 starter in the league who’s only impression left on the game will be for being a joke of a teammate.
    Too stupid to realize that even when he is right, he is the pot calling the kettle black and therefore should shut his mouth. But he doesn’t have common sence. He would have to pay me to let him on my roster and in my clubhouse.

  5. jimbo1949 - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    Could we get a picture of Zambrano dressed up as Ralph Kramden?

    • aceshigh11 - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      You just made me bust out laughing at work. Well-done!

  6. SmackSaw - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    You could add

    (3) It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

  7. yettyskills - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    “Cubs starter will point the finger at anyone and everyone, but never, ever at himself”
    By Gene Wojciechowski

    Sums this idiot up perfectly

    • shawon0meter - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:16 AM

      Because most of the time he isn’t the one too blame. But just to prove that article wrong

      ‘It was all my fault,’’ said Zambrano, who called the walk to Edgar Renteria ‘‘unacceptable’’ and said that was the reason for his arm-waving gestures in the dugout after being taken out of the game. ‘‘My team played good today. I let my teammates down the way I pitched that last inning. It’s unacceptable. If you want to blame somebody for today’s game, blame me, not my teammates.’’

      After he blew a lead against the Reds about 3 weeks ago

      • paperlions - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:57 AM

        Yep, Zambrano always accepts responsibility when he screws up. That is probably part of the problem, he holds everyone else to the same standard and doesn’t differentiate between ripping on his own performance and ripping on the performances of team mates.

  8. shawon0meter - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    This isn’t a case of Zambrano being an idiot at all. He’s a team leader speaking the truth as far as I’m concerned. This team needs to be called out. I realize the Cubs aren’t gonna turn the season around and win the World Series but at least someone is sick of losing!

  9. thomas2727 - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    I am hoping they fire Quade and the we want Ryno movement starts to pick up steam now.

    Of course I am guessing Ryno would not come back as long as Hendry is there.

    I cannot believe I advocated hiring Quade over Ryno.

    • paperlions - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      What, exactly, do you think Sandberg could do with a team with the level of talent and injuries? The Cubs just aren’t a very good team, and they have some high priced players *cough*aramisramirezrafaelsoriano*cough* that are pretty indifferent/lazy….players that didn’t respond to Pinella and haven’t responded to Quade, why would they start to care of Sandberg and his hyper-positive approach showed up?

      • antifreeze27 - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:10 AM

        If the Cubs really want Rafael Soriano instead of Alfonso, I’m sure a trade can be worked out. I’d rather have an overpaid OF who occasionally can hit than an overpaid RP who can’t pitch.

      • paperlions - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:17 AM


        Damn, I knew that seemed wrong when I was typing it.

      • antifreeze27 - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:42 AM

        Haha I know, its just amusing to look back at Alfonso’s career path. He went from 40-40 2Bman and young superstar to being traded for ARod to exiled in Washington and refusing to play OF to huge Cubs contract and overpaid bum REALLY quickly it seemed. And BTW the Cubs can have ARod for Ramirez right now too if you can deal with the $ and years left on the contract

    • Jonny 5 - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      Ha! hahaha! You mean the future Phillies manager Ryno?

      • thomas2727 - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:38 AM

        Don’t count on Ryno managing the Phillies unless Charlie gets canned soon.

        I am sure Ryno has a clause in his contract that lets him interview for any MLB managerial openings.

      • grizz2202 - Jun 6, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        Didn’t Ryno leave the Cubs organization almost immediately after the hiring of Quade? Seemed a lil pissed to me, he may not want to manage there…

      • jeffro33 - Jun 6, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        Ryne Sandberg will be the next manager of the Phillies without question. Charlie will not be managing for more than another 3-4 years, and as Ryno gets his experience at AAA and perhaps on the Phillies bench in another couple of years, his grooming will put him next in line.

        Surely he could interview for another job during this time, but if you know you are part of a succession plan with a rock-solid franchise with a strong revenue stream, beautiful ballpark, and an ownership committed to winning, wouldn’t you be patient??

        I’m sorry, but I just don’t see too many other jobs out there that would be better for him, Cubs included.

  10. cintiphil - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Zambrano always thought he was better than he actually is. He felt in the past that he should be the Cy winner, even when he actually fell apart at the end of the season. He is a tough competitor and understandable why he feels about the Cubs as he does. He never has lived up to his potential in the past, even when he had a great start. The second half of the season, he seems to fall apart. I think that his emotions get the best of him, and that is part of the reason he has no reason in what he says. But I agree, the Cubs are embarrassing this year.

  11. icanspeel - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    Anyone else think this would have been less of an issue if someone else besides Carlos Zambrano said it? I don’t fully agree with how he said it, but in a way it’s good to see frustration about losing and wanting to win.

  12. esraem - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    Also with the injuries, I thought the Cubs are playing their AAA team?

  13. Old Gator - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    If you think the Cubs are embarrassing now, try and imagine them with Ozzie for a manager.

  14. yettyskills - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Speaking the truth?
    Ok the truth
    You lost 2 games to a 1st ballot HoF who has done it to many teams and pitchers.
    You lost 1 on a pitch that never should have been taken deep, by your best closer, with his best pitch. What did his teammates do wrong in that 1st one? 6 inches low and 6 away wasn’t good enough for FAT Z, spoken like he has never been burnt a thousand times.
    This is simple, Cubs fans want to complain about many many things, Fat Z is rotten garbage of a teammate and water is wet.

  15. yettyskills - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    And I promise you, if any of his teammates, gave him the “truth” about how he is fat and out of shape, is completely unprofessional, is a boardline starter who could be better if he took his profesion that he is paid millions of dollars more seriously.
    He would reply by attacking his only teammates….yet again, with fists and feet like the cancer teammate that he is, others rally against him, not bond and see him as a leader.
    Cause he isnt a leader, he is the anti leader.

  16. crimhollingsworth - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Having heard the full rant on SC this morning my favorite line from Z was
    “We stinks.”

  17. trigdaddy - Jun 6, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    I mean I do feel bad for the guy. Two straight ND’s where he pitched 15 innings with 2 ER’s. But this happens to several pitchers throughout every year. Why make a public statement? If you have a problem, go talk to the guys on the team that you think could step it up a bit. Bashing your team publicly will not make them play better.

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