Zambrano: I’m Sorry, Cubs Fans

Carlos Zambrano is sorry, and he wants the world to know. The statements he made (quoted in that ESPN Chicago article) are pretty much exactly what people are looking for from a guy after an embarrassing episode. The video is more an apology to the fans, which, again, is exactly what the Cubs organization is expecting from Zambrano.
They’re also expecting him to pitch better, so we can only hope there’s some connection between his composure in general and his abilities on the mound. I’ve always doubted that to be true, but I hope I’m wrong. Will writing in his anger journal every time he gets mad really help him locate his cutter?
Hey, maybe it will. No one who watches the Cubs with any interest can deny that emotional investment in this team has its share of physiological effects. Fans get nervous during games, so players undoubtedly do too. The difference in most professional athletes, or any public performer for that matter, is that they can harness the nervous energy as a catalyst, propelling them to even better levels of performance than they would otherwise achieve. That’s why we cheer, isn’t it, to provoke such a response? 
Anger isn’t usually so beneficial, but it can be. Vin Scully has said that Jackie Robinson played better when he was angry. His vitriolic reaction to the hatred he faced fueled his performance without causing him to explode. Most human beings don’t respond that way, but some do (my only other example is Wesley Snipes in White Men Can’t Jump, so I’ll move on). I don’t think anyone suspects Zambrano of being one of those rare exceptions, at least not anymore. 
From what Zambrano is saying, much to the pleasure of Jim Hendry and the rest of the Cubs’ front office (and potential trade partners, I suppose), he’s taking his anger management therapy seriously and views it in a positive light. Some people, with Ron Santo as their most vocal leader, think Zambrano’s anger and lack of composure is the only thing stopping him from being an all-world pitcher. If they’re right, the next couple of months should be a lot of fun to watch.

3 Replies to “Zambrano: I’m Sorry, Cubs Fans”

  1. I dunno. I don't like Zambrano, but who really gives a crap anymore? I used to care but I just don't now. Watching the Cubs without his blow-ups the past several years would have made it all the more painful. If I have to watch the team lose, I might as well see him throw a ball into the outfield and beat the shat out of a water cooler. We have to get our money's worth somehow. On the list of problems with the Cubs, this dude is so far down the line it's not even funny…

  2. It's been a long time since he's made a significant contribution pitching the baseball. If he's not pitching and pitching reasonably well, his antics are well below sideshow status. I still think he's had horrible luck in the pitching department and been misused all year, but he's got to take responsibility for what he can control and pitch well before any of the emotional stuff becomes fun to watch again.

    I hope he doesn't just bottle everything up, and I would hope he is learning that. I'm guessing he does need to learn to stop spouting off at everyone off the field, which is probably the kind of thing that has been driving his own team crazy.

  3. I just have a hard time believing he's the only dude in there spouting off. Teams are like marriages. You take each other for granted eventually and say something you shouldn't. Everyone does it, and it's life. You apologize and move on. Maybe he does it more than most? Or doesn't apologize after? Or does it so often that no one thinks he means it? Who knows. There's a switch inside of some people that when they don't have their arrogance and pride, they lose their competitive fire. I'm not saying that's the case with Zambrano, necessarily, and I would never condone bad behavior anyways even if it was. But it seems like when this guy bottles things up, he pitches worse and has bigger blow-ups. Combine that with a mediocre team, and you have a recipe for disaster. It's like the perfect storm. Same thing happened with TO. Sure, he aged, but when he tried to behave, it negated who he was: a cocky jerk. Combine that with a bad team, and you have an average receiver who can't find a job.

    I hope he pitches better, because when he's on, there aren't a lot of better pitchers in baseball. However, I'm pretty sure the guy's so mixed up not emotionally and within the scheme of the staff on his team that he may be lost for good…

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