By Dave Wischnowsky –
(CBS) Matt Garza believes in Carlos Zambrano.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the Cy Young race this year,” the Cubs’ current ace said about the Cubs’ former one. “I kid you not. He’s got that good of stuff.”
Jeffrey Loria believes in Carlos Zambrano.
“He’s an amazing talent, ans we’re glad he’s here,” the Miami Marlins owner said about the pitcher that he acquired from the Chicago Cubs this offseason. “… You have to get past the things that everybody wants to look at. I can move past those things. He’s a really devoted parent, husband, family man. He cares about people. He’s really involved with his church. That says a lot about who people really are.’’
Carlos Zambrano believes in Carlos Zambrano.
“I know my passion,” the 30-year-old Venezuelan said this week after arriving in Jupiter, Fla., for the Marlins’ spring training camp. “I do apologize for all the other things [in Chicago], but in my mind and in my heart, I just wanted to help the Cubs and do good for them, for the fans.’’
And, you know what?
I believe in Carlos Zambrano, too.
I believe the guy is talented. I believe he is a decent person, albeit a ridiculously hotheaded and immature one. And I believe that he’s one of the most passionate – and entertaining – athletes in all of baseball.
I also believe that the Cubs couldn’t be luckier to be done with him.
And I’ll still feel that way even if he does win a Cy Young Award this summer.
And a home run crown.
Earlier this month, Zambrano said that in spite of storming out of the Cubs’ clubhouse during a game in Atlanta last August and announcing his “retirement,” he feels that he could have returned to Chicago this season.
“I don’t think it would have been difficult,” Zambrano told MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. “I’ve changed my mentality and God has helped me change a lot of things about how I am. It all depended on the work I was going to put in and the mentality I would bring back to them.”
Now, fool us once, shame on you, Carlos. Fool us twice, shame on us. But fool us five – or, you know, 10 – times?
Well, thankfully, Theo Epstein is no fool.
And Cubs fans shouldn’t feel like fools, either, even if Zambrano does end up accomplishing great things in South Florida this year, next year or every year for the next 10. That’s because, I’m quite confident that those great things would never have happened in Chicago.
Rather, disruptive things would have.
The Windy City’s clock on Zambrano struck midnight long ago, and the Cubs were never going to get anything better than an exploding pumpkin from the guy.
Now, Miami, might. (Or it might not.)
But I’m fine with Ozzie Guillen going ahead and pumping out “Don’t Stop Believin’” as Zambrano’s theme song in South Beach.
Because, it doesn’t play in Chicago anymore.
And Big Z wouldn’t have, either. Not great, at least.
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. Follow him on Twitter @wischlist and read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.