Perhaps I am preaching to the choir when I write this, as there seems to be a strong amount of positive support on Bleed Cubbie Blue for Carlos' recent speech to the clubhouse following Sunday's embarrassing loss. Regardless, given the degree to which some so-called-journalists from ESPN and other unnamed Chicago media sources have attacked Carlos yesterday and today, I believe it's important to come to his defense.
You've probably read a few of their articles, claiming that Zambrano had a "tantrum," an "out-burst," or another "blow-up," and that it's time for this underachieving, temperamental hypocrite to go somewhere else. This could hardly be farther from the truth. When listening to the audio of the event, I was struck by how soft spoken Carlos actually was while he gave his speech. Make no mistake, this was not an unplanned explosion of anger, this was a premeditated, firm speech to a team that lacks the leadership it needs to be competitive.
Haven't we all been calling for years for Carlos to step up and become a clubhouse leader? What happens when Carlos takes a stand in the clubhouse, giving a calm speech that outlines how UNACCEPTABLE the effort and results produced by this team actually are? He is attacked for it. I, for one, think that is entirely and completely unfair. We've all been frustrated this year by the lack of direction, leadership, and competence for this club. There is absolutely no reason to throw Carlos under the bus when he steps up to call out this team for their pathetic play.
Who else has taken a stand and done this? Certainly not Mike Quade, clapping away idiotically in the dugout like a mechanical cymbal-banging monkey toy while his team comically tries to score runs, pitch, and play defense. His one challenge to the team produced laughable results. Not Tom Ricketts, who is full of useless naive optimism and pathetic excuses, and seems more concerned with the bottomline then the actual product on the field. Likewise with Jim Hendry, or even any of the so-called good clubhouse guys he worked so hard to add to this team. Someone needed to step up, and Carlos did, with another fantastic pitching performance and a challenge to his team to stop playing like an embarrassment or AAA team. THIS is what we have all been waiting for from Carlos Zambrano: the leadership to supplement his contributions on the field.
Some have criticized Carlos for not being delicate enough, or "throwing his teammates under the bus." If you listen to the audio, Carlos did no such thing. Furthermore, I think we can all appreciate the blatant truthfulness of his speech. He didn't mince words, or coddle anyone's ego. How long have we all been calling from that accountability for this team as well? Let's face it, this team is a joke. They can't pitch, they can't hit, and they can't play defense. They're uninspired, poorly put together, and overpriced. They're the result of bad management from top (Ricketts) to the middle, (Hendry), to the bottom (Quade). In the Chicago and national media, who gets the blame? Carlos Zambrano, for finally telling it like it is. This team is embarrassing, and running Carlos Zambrano out of town for pitching well and becoming a clubhouse leader is not the answer.
While much has been made about Carlos' anger in the past, he has UNDOUBTEDLY undergone a transition from a temperamental gatorade-bashing pitcher to a thoughtful clubhouse leader. We've all seen the change. Well, all of us except a select few who insist on preaching this sad, antiquated narrative. Don't let the Paul Sullivans or Gene Wojciechowskis of the world tell you that your eyes are wrong. This is all exactly what we've been waiting for, and this is exactly what this pathetically cobbled together and managed baseball team needs.
I know I don't speak for everyone when I say this, but I know what I want to see:
Fire Quade. Fire Hendry. Keep Zambrano.