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Ryan Dempster is unsure what to think about Carlos Zambrano

Aug 17, 2011, 2:40 PM EDT

Carlos Zambrano AP

Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster was on a radio show today and he was asked about Carlos Zambrano and whether or not he would be welcomed back to the Cubs.

Dempster was pretty sensible about it all in my view. He noted that some stuff would have to happen before Zambrano could come back and noted that, whatever Zambrano does, he may not be back anyway.  But he didn’t slam the guy either, noting that off the field Zambrano is a nice friendly guy that everyone likes. But …

“As a human being, as a person, Carlos has been great. He’s been so supportive of me and my family and anything that we’ve ever done. I think something just happens when it comes to being out there on the field that makes him do certain things, and I don’t know the answers to that.”

Not that I’m going with the esteemed Dr. Dempster as an authority here, but there’s probably a lot to that. Everyone wants to ascribe selfish or jerkish motivations to the guy for his behavior. I wonder if it’s not the case that the guy is actually mentally ill in some way and just can’t deal with the ups and downs of athletic competition.

  1. Jonny 5 - Aug 17, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    I worked with a crazy person before, a real spaz too. The trick is to make them think you’re even more crazy than they are. That really throws them for a loop and rewires their brains some. After that the person was as sweet as warm apple pie to me….

  2. willcoop - Aug 17, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    The issue here is not wether Carlos is a nice person. To a man all of his teammates and former players just love the guy off the field. But on the field the guy turns into vapors, dissappears and just acts as if he owns the entire field. I said that act last year of finishing strong was an anomaly and would not carry over to this season. Nor did I believe his line of bullshit to start the season saying he was changed for the umpteenth time in his career. He is never going to change and fatly has become one of the games best to a bottom of the rotation guy at best. Can’t depend on him to mentally invest himself when adversity hits him. The Cardinals have long been known for taking on projects and retreads and resurrecting them, but Zambrano is a different animal and I’m just waiting for him to finally and completely flame out of the league. In any way the Cubs can’t continue to advocate this behavior and continuously bring him back with his apology tours and clubhouse bullshit. Cut the cord and move on.

  3. vanillakokakola - Aug 17, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Craig, what mental illness could you possibly attribute to this? As someone who works in the mental health profession, I’m really sick and tired of people assuming that anyone with anger management issues or an explosive temperament is obviously mentally ill. It’s probably just that – anger management issues. That’s not a mental illness.

    Please think twice before applying these kinds of labels to anyone and everyone you please. It’s incredibly offensive, clearly much more than you realize since you seem like the kind of writer who goes out of his way to make sure no one feels alienated or offended by your writing.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 17, 2011 at 3:44 PM

      Padron me for not knowing that “mental illness” was such a defined term of art. I assumed things like anger management issues and other personality disorders were included under that umbrella. If not, apologies.

      • vanillakokakola - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:19 PM

        “Anger management issues” aren’t a personality disorder.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM

        So, what, you’re going to sharpshoot lay persons’ knowledge of your field all day? Or do you have something constructive to add here?

      • vanillakokakola - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:29 PM

        Er, I did add something constructive by correcting your misunderstanding that anger management issues are a mental disorder.

        I was actually in the process of looking for a link to better illustrate my point when I made that comment. I couldn’t find anything that illustrated my point precisely, but I did find two links that would be helpful to read. One (the second link) is more succinct but a little trite, the other is longer but explains the issue better:

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:02 PM

      “…clearly much more than you realize since you seem like the kind of writer who goes out of his way to make sure no one feels alienated or offended by your writing…”

      Have you not read his Phillies posts?

      • kopy - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:04 PM

        So do you think Vance Worley’s last outing was a fluke, or is he regressing to the mean?

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:07 PM

        Fluke—but of the “every couple starts” variety. Though the recurrence of it would kind of fly in the face of the flukiness of it, wouldn’t it? A recurring anomaly, maybe?

      • kopy - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:13 PM

        Could be. Plenty of successful pitchers blow up every now and then. He may have just gotten hit hard since his K/BB totals and ratios weren’t much different last game than they were the rest of the season. Mostly though, I just wanted to test the theory that any article can be turned into a Phillies thread.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:28 PM

        Like that needs to be tested. I just have to shine the red P—or is it the Phanatic in profile?—into the HBT sky and Phightins Phans will descend upon this thread like nobody’s business. Meh…nah…it’s not worth the energy….

      • kopy - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:35 PM

        I always wondered how it worked. You’re right, though; I reckon it’s too slow a baseball news day to bother. Which is pretty much why I started this in the first place.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:09 PM

        Actually, you just have to ring a bell, and they all come running for meal time.

    • ftbramwell - Aug 17, 2011 at 8:46 PM

      I’m just a dumb lawyer, but your statement could be read to state that there are no mental disorders that manifest with extreme emotional outbursts. While I don’t “work[ ]in the mental health profession,” I find it extremely unlikely that there are no mental health disorders that present in the way Mr. Zambrano has acted. Moreover, unless you’ve conducted an examination of Mr. Zambrano, I’m suspicious of your claim that his behavior is “probably . . . anger management issues” rather than something organic.

      Minorities have been unfairly painted as being unable to control their emotions. Please think twice before perpetuating offensive stereotypes.

    • sawxalicious - Aug 17, 2011 at 11:02 PM

      I am most certainly a lay person, but have had the experience of dealing with and working for people that were dignosed with bipolar disorder. I am NOT diagnosing Zambrano, but have to stick up for my fellow layman Craig on this one. Bipolar disorder IS a mental illness and affects many people. It is often not diagnosed until the person has had soem serious blowups in their personl/professional life. There are different reasons people don’t get diagnosed; some people don’t have health care;sometimes they and the people around them ignore the symptoms (With Zambrano being a multimillionare meal ticket to numerous people around him, do you think those people want to say “Hey Carlos, maybe you’re bi-polar?” Nope, because bi-polar has a bad stigma too it. Just my opinion (and I am prepared for the possibility that Carlos is simply a whiny A-hole).

  4. thejjharris - Aug 17, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Nothing some cocaine and whiskey can’t cure.

  5. Jonny 5 - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:05 PM

  6. waitillnextyear - Aug 17, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Are we talking about the same Carlos Zambrano who punched out his catcher (Barrett) in the dugout a few years ago, went after Derek Lee last season, and has had several other outbursts over the years? Is this the same Carlos Zambrano who, as a result of these outbursts has gone to several anger management sessions over the years?!? You must be a defense attorney, right?

    • ftbramwell - Aug 17, 2011 at 10:27 PM

      And since those anger management sessions haven’t been effective, doesn’t that make it more likely that there is something organic?

  7. Walk - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    I am fed up with carlos zambrano’s antics myself, at the very least they are getting old and wearing on my patience. Bottom line for me though is the guy is only thirty or so and it would be a shame if someone so talented could not find a roster spot because of his antics. I sincerely hope i dont see him on one of those shows about what could have been, bad enough i see kerry wood and mark prior on them from time to time

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