By Dave Wischnowsky-–
CHICAGO (CBS) As the Cubs continue to crumble into dust – and oblivion – some people this week are trying to demonize Carlos Zambrano for speaking his mind.
Others, meanwhile, seem ready to canonize him for speaking the truth.
Me? Well, after his history of beating catchers, water coolers and, far too often, himself, I’m not exactly eager to christen Zambrano as St. Carlos after Sunday’s fire-and-brimstone speech about the Cubs, but I do mostly agree with his assessment of the team.
And I’m actually a little envious of him.
Now, that has nothing to do with Zambrano’s paycheck (well, maybe a little), but rather everything to do with the fact that I just can’t seem to muster the kind of energy about this current incarnation of the Cubs that Big Z generated when he ripped his team a new one.
Perhaps I need anger management.
“We should know better than this. We play like a Triple-A team,” Zambrano now famously spouted after the Cubs lost in extra innings and were swept in St. Louis. “This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team and the owners. Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassed – that’s the word for this team.
“We should know better than what we (did) on the field. We should know that Ryan Theriot is not a good a fastball hitter. We should know that as a team. We should play better here. We stink. That’s all I have to say.”
Truth is, it’s more than I can figure out to say these days about the only team in Major League Baseball that hasn’t yet won even three games in a row – and very well might not all season long.
The Cubs do, however, do have this losing streak stuff down pat, having now dropped seven in a row after Monday’s 8-2 decision in Cincinnati.
And far worse than anger, many fans of the Increasingly Less Lovable Losers are becoming apathetic about the team. And while Zambrano’s comments on Sunday might have been a bit (or a lot) bombastic, they weren’t wrong. Nor do I think they were misplaced.
In fact, I think the Cubs should be pleased that at least somebody still cares about this team – even if he isn’t a paying customer.
“I just want to get together with this team and play better, be a good leader for this team, do the best I can to help this team win a ballgame,” Zambrano told reporters on Monday, before the Cubs’ loss to the Reds. “We can be 11, 12, 15 games out, but we start winning games, who knows?
“It’s not over yet. Believe me guys, it’s not over for the Cubs.”
If you say so, Carlos. I admire the optimism, but why don’t you get back to me when the Cubs actually sweep a team.
Even a Triple-A one.
Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com. Read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.