On Friday, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox met for round two of the Crosstown Classic. The big story wasn’t the White Sox extending their win streak to 10 games — it was Carlos Zambrano’s meltdown in the dugout after giving up four runs in the first inning. The incident landed Zambrano an indefinite suspension from the Cubs.
After the game, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen met with Big Z for dinner. Now this may seem odd in most situations, but Guillen and Zambrano are known to be good friends because they both hail from Venezuela. Sox GM Kenny Williams said that the Cubs could look at the meeting as a positive thing:
“I view that [dinner], and I’m sure Jim does as well — if he doesn’t, someone needs to let me know and I will speak on the situation — but I view that as nothing but a positive. … Ozzie probably had some things that I’m sure the Cubs and Lou and Jim would have liked to have said to Carlos, that he was able to say in a much different way and probably get through to him.”
I couldn’t agree more. This hasn’t been the best year for Zambrano who was demoted to the bullpen when Ted Lilly was activated from the disabled list. Zambrano was once thought of as the Cubs’ ace and though he never really said he was mad about the move, I think Friday may have been a release of that anger and frustration.
Guillen can offer Zambrano something that most of his other friends can’t; he is not only a friend but also a manager and can share advice about keeping his cool or control. Plus, it’s not going to hurt Ozzie to talk to Zambrano because this is the last time his ballclub will see the Cubs anyways. It’s obvious that Zambrano and Lou Piniella have their differences and Carlos may not be benefiting from the coaching he’s receiving on the northside of town.
The real question now is what happens to Zambrano. Will the Cubs lift his suspension and wait until he actually does hurt one of his teammates before they decide to finally eat the contract? With his track record, it will be hard to convince another team to take him on, but hey the Cubs were able to unload Milton Bradley so anything can happen.
Williams: Guillen a Positive with Big Z [ESPN Chicago]
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