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updated: 8/13/2011 6:25 PM

At least Zambrano has a pulse

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  • Carlos Zambrano gave up 5 home runs on Friday, then nearly hit Chipper Jones twice. He was then kicked out of the game and threatened to retire.

      Carlos Zambrano gave up 5 home runs on Friday, then nearly hit Chipper Jones twice. He was then kicked out of the game and threatened to retire.
    Associated Press

 
 

Perhaps the Cubs and Carlos Zambrano really will divorce this time.

"I wonder whether Zambrano would be all right if he were on the right meds," a colleague of mine said Saturday afternoon.

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I countered with, "I wonder whether he'd be all right if he were on the right team."

To me the relevant question now is would the Cubs benefit more from being away from him or would Big Z from being away from them?

The Cubs never indicated they knew what to do with Zambrano. Nobody in authority seemed willing to change things up to rein him in, other than sending him to cockamamie anger management.

You'd think the Cubs would have learned from the mishandling of Sammy Sosa. What we learned from the mishandling of Carlos Zambrano is that they didn't.

Look, I have made it known that Zambrano is one of my favorite Cubs essentially because he has a pulse compared to most others in the organization.

Yes, Big Z did melt down again Friday night. He cleaned out his locker and reportedly declared that he was retiring from baseball.

Everybody associated with the Cubs from management to players to fans sighed a hopeful "Hooray!" because the club wouldn't be responsible for the $18 million owed on his contract for 2012.

Ah, but while Zambrano was placed on the disqualified list Saturday, word also came from his camp that he isn't the retiring sort after all.

Anyway, Big Z's misadventures are well documented -- all the conflicts with teammates, managers, opponents and his own demons.

But nobody can assert that Zambrano doesn't care. Sometimes he cares about the wrong things and in the wrong way, but he does care.

Sometimes his issues are appropriate, like all the Cubs' futility and even his own inadequate performances.

Isn't caring a commodity too often missing on the Cubs?

I mean, so many members of this sorry team keep walking around with their chests puffed out like they're the Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies.

Manager Mike Quade insisted that the Cubs are still contending when they weren't. Top starting pitcher Matt Garza said the Cubs are right where they want to be when they weren't. First baseman Carlos Pena keeps smiling when there's nothing to smile about.

Seriously, the Cubs are like a cult in which everybody is lobotomized into apathy.

So when Carlos Zambrano gave up 5 homers to the Braves and responded by throwing two pitches in the vicinity of Chipper Jones ...

Well, good for Big Z for being frustrated enough to let his frustration get the better of him. It was refreshing to see a Cub player, any Cub player, demonstrate that he was unhappy about something, about anything.

Look, Zambrano does a lot of stuff that is distracting to a baseball team, but what exactly does he distract the Cubs from?

Is it from this being the 103rd year since the franchise won a World Series? From the 66 years since it even played in one? From the curses, hexes and jinxes?

Bless Carlos Zambrano for being a distraction, then. At least he distracted Cub fans from having to dwell on their team being sports' biggest punch line.

A good guess is that if Big Z winds up with another team, he'll win a championship before the Cubs do.

Just like so many other former Cubs have.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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