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Whoever originated the proverb "The more things change, the more they stay the same" deserves three vowels and two extra spins on Wheel of Fortune.
And two weeks with Carlos Zambrano. Check that; he's a bit busy for the next 14 days. It has something about a visit to the doctors.
Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall or a tape recorder on a desk? Or better yet, a Gatorade dispenser?
Doctor: How do you feel about what you did in the dugout?
Zambrano: Nothing really. I was trying to motivate my teammates and get an appetite working for my dinner with Ozzie.
Doctor: You mean Ozzie Guillen? He's already spent time on our coach. We had him here for some sensitivity training. Do you think you need sensitivity training, Carlos?
Zambrano: NO . . . I'M ALREADY A VERY SENSITIVE PERSON!
Doctor: Carlos, put down that vase.
Zambrano: It looked like a Gatorade machine to me.
Trust me; the doctors will need doctors after attending to Big Z.
Nothing's really changed since September 17th of last year when I wrote this for the Beachwood in "Zambrano: Ace or Ass?"
Zambrano can pitch. And he can pitch a fit, too. Unfortunately the latter holds true more often than the folks in the front office are willing to admit. The act has grown stale though it really isn't an act. What you see from Big Z is what you get.
And that's the conundrum: What to do with Carlos Zambrano.
Coming into this season, Zambrano had the fifth best winning percentage of any starter in the majors over the last five years. That's heady stuff. But the stuff in his head is what's separating Zambrano from being an ace. Instead, he's more of an ass.
Aces can win World Series'. Asses can keep you from playing in them.
What a shame.
And what a sham! Doesn't it appear Zambrano is throwing away a career after the Cubs threw $91 million into his bank account? And it's that largesse that has fed the monster. Zambrano took the money and ran but along the way wreaked more havoc than a severe thunderstorm.
More from my 2009 column:
But Zambrano represents a cultural problem not foreign to many locker rooms. It's the Me First syndrome . . .
Zambrano ranks right up there with an impressive litany of tantrums. There was the tirade against an umpire that prompted Z to fire a ball into the outfield. He nearly decapitated pitching coach Larry Rothschild while trying to decapitate a Gatorade machine. He skipped a team charter on his birthday without permission. He admitted his chronic back problems may have stemmed from being lazy about doing abdominal work. Then, after she reported his admission, he wanted to show Sun-Times columnist Carol Slezak his bare chest to prove that he was in swell shape . . .
Yes, he's irascible and oft times uncontrollable. He doesn't listen to authority, suffers his fielders with unending stares when they don't make a play, doesn't take care of his body and melts down as often as an ice cream cone in July.
But the odds are Hendry won't be able to swing a deal for Zambrano. And maybe he won't want to.
It's really Zambrano's call. Does he want to grow up? Does he have the capacity to do so?
It's the difference between being an ace or an ass.
The key sentence here is, "Does he have the capacity to do so?"
I'm not sure maturity has anything to do with Zambrano's behavior problems. He has his money and he doesn't give a damn. And, of course, he has a few screws loose. But you already knew that. And so did the Cubs.
Now, for those of you who want the Cubs to trade Zambrano . . . You know those doctors in New York? I can make an appointment for you as soon as possible.
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