By Shawn Muller-
(CBS) Quick question: Now that Carlos Zambrano has been traded to the Miami Marlins, who will be happier knowing that “Big Z” will have finally thrown his last pitch as a member of the Chicago Cubs?
The fans who were overly tired of the antics of baseball’s version of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde?
Or the water coolers in the Wrigley Field dugout?
Although I think the water coolers are probably throwing a party in the storage facilities inside Wrigley Field, there is no way anyone (or should I say anything) could be happier about this news than the fans.
Enough was enough.
Zambrano’s “act” was beyond tired.
From his dugout spat with Derrek Lee while playing the White Sox at U.S. Cellular back in 2010, to his leaving Turner Field during a game against the Atlanta Braves last season—which led to his subsequent placement on the disqualified list—it was evident (probably two years too late, mind you) that Carlos was no longer wanted—or needed—in the Cubs clubhouse.
For a team that is looking to start over, new team president of baseball operations Theo Epstein had no choice but to deal Zambrano, even if it meant eating $15 million of the $18 million the pitcher is due in 2012. Sometimes you just need to trim the fat.
Now, I don’t want to totally rag on the guy. It’s not like “Z” didn’t have some good seasons during his time in Chicago.
In fact, I would say Zambrano was effective more often than not during his 10 years on the North Side. He won 125 games as a starter, while accumulating 1,542 strikeouts. He was an All-Star in 2004, 2006 and 2008. He won the Silver Slugger Award three times. And he also threw the franchises’ first no hitter (2008) since Milt Pappas back in 1972.
The problem is he accomplished all of those feats (outside of his win total) prior to the 2009 season.
I am sure many Cubs fans will agree that it is quite the relief to know we will no longer have to witness anymore of Zambrano’s public meltdowns, his little temper tantrums in the clubhouse and locker room, or his ever-so-popular knack for quitting when things weren’t going his way on the bump.
A change of scenery was the best route for both the Cubs and the explosive pitcher, and a marriage with the Miami Marlins and new manager Ozzie Guillen is a match made in heaven. Both Zambrano and Guillen had turbulent moments while in Chicago. Both men are known to act like babies when things don’t go their way. And both men are good friends.
I am sure the Miami sports media and Marlins beat writers are licking their chops at the thought of having these two personalities together in the same dugout in 2012. Throw in another turbulent persona in Hanley Ramirez, and Miami is looking like quite the ride to say the least.
Suffice it to say, I think you will agree with me when I say: Goodbye and good riddance Carlos Zambrano.
Cubs fans can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they won’t have to wonder when number 38 is going to “lose it” any longer.
He’s all yours Miami fans.
Oh, and to all the Marlins’ water coolers: HEADS UP!
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.