That’s it. It’s over.
Last year we saw Zambrano go from demoted Opening Day starter, to average joe member of the rotation, relegated to the bullpen, off the roster altogether and then back on the team throwing like the effective Zambrano we all know and love.
Effective Zambrano is not coming back this season. Likely, not at all.
Zambrano gave up five home runs to the Atlanta Braves, threw a couple more pitches at Chipper Jones and was ejected from an otherwise uneventful outing. On Bobby Cox night at Turner Field, the Braves were retiring Cox’s number six for the many pennants he helped lead the team to. Never to be out done, Zambrano must have figured, go ahead, retire a number. I’m going to retire altogether.
Zambrano headed to the locker room, cleaned out his things and announced to the Cubs staff that he will be retiring. Blee-blee…blee-blee-blee…that’s all folks.
Zambrano has always had a battle with inner demons. On many nights, he came out the victor and was able to quiet the crazy and pitch the Cubs to a W. On the other nights, Zambrano lost to the demons, lost his control and then lost the game for the Cubs. Worse than contributing a string of not-s0-quality starts? Quitting on your team completely. Walking off the field after being ejected and taking his anger out on Larry ‘Chipper’ Jones, was another start to a horrific outburst by Z. This time, he took it too far. Emotions get hot. Words can be said. Fists may be thrown. It’s not to be tolerated but at least it happens in the heat of the battle. Fighting so hard to help his team, the venom has spilled over a couple of times and led Zambrano to physically attack teammates in the dugout. I believe quitting on them altogether is even worse.
Quitting delivers no fight. It delivers no effort. It only makes you stand out as a loser. As someone who can’t be counted on. As someone who can’t be expected to ride the highs and lows of a season until the story plays itself out come September or October. It’s a long time from April once the fall comes around. The summer is filled with excruciating hot days and a ton of frustration to go along with some wins that make it all worth while. That’s simply the game of baseball. You need to have 25 men altogether willing to keep their hands and feet inside the car and mostly all times and go along for the ride together. Otherwise, you haven’t got a chance.
Zambrano quit on his team and in quitting there is no way for you to give your team a chance. Quade saw that and that is why he berated Zambrano to the media. He didn’t know where he was. He had 24 other guys battling their butts off in Atlanta. Hot, steamy, frustrating to play Atlanta. Atlanta is a good team. The entire National League is chasing Atlanta for the wild card spot. You need everyone in if you’re going to have a chance to go home victorious. The Cubs were lucky to pull out the series victory. Of course, the two games they won? The ones where Zambrano wasn’t pitching, leading the way.
Zambrano, I have always argued, makes the Cubs stronger. Despite the craziness, his talent made this team stronger. Made this team a contender. Sure, their record shows otherwise this year despite Zambrano’s starts. However, now, I believe it is time to say goodbye to Zambrano. He can go anywhere he wants. Good luck finding a team willing to put up with a quitter who is a hot head to boot. Oh, I’m sure he’ll find some contender willing to take a chance on him. Teams have taken chances on worse in the past. However, whomever it is that takes the shot on Zambrano, they need to understand that they are getting garbage. A cramping, hot-headed, unpredictable, lousy teammate, quitting piece of garbage. If you feel a couple of wins might be worth a shot, then go for it. I doubt it will play out favorably.
The Cubs have banned Z from the team completely and he is not being paid for the time. 30 days he has been banned from the team. On the ‘disqualified’ list. Banned. That is a strong word. Disqualified and banned. A couple of words I’m sure no great player wants on their resume. Great players don’t need to worry about it though. They are usually not headcases. And if they are, they usually find a way to avoid the tags of ‘disqualified’ or ‘banned’. I mean, how many great players can you think of that have been disqualified or banned from their team? I can’t think of one.
I can think of a talented player who has extreme mental issues and can’t get a grip on the demons to hang in there and help his team out down the stretch, quitting on them, their fans and the organization after five lousy home runs. I can think of ‘that guy’. Unfortunately, ‘that guy’ was one of ours. Well, is one of ours. For how long though, is yet to be seen.
After 30 days has passed, depending on how this works (can the team trade him if he’s on the DQ list?) when he returns, it needs to be a quick ‘make sure you grab everything out of your locker, Z. The bananas, too.’ type of return. And then back out the door he goes. No therapy. No bullpen assignment. No more games. Proverbial or scheduled.
Zambrano’s time is up. He needs to no longer be a Cub. ASAP.
Go Cubs Go!