I feel bad for the Cubs beat reporters and anyone else that has to write story about them now and then. Not because they’re having a terrible year. Again. But because the resident hot-headed goldmine of story fodder has cooled off. Without Carlos Zambrano blowing up and destroying things, there’s no good drama to report.
Thank goodness he broke that bat over his knee.
Yeah, that’s the big story in Chicago sports right now. Big Z broke a bt over his knee because he missed a hanging breaking ball and struck out.
This is big for two reasons. One, he could have injured himself and joined the growing ranks on the DL. Two, and most important, this is the sign they’ve all been waiting for: Big Z is on his way back to his old, volatile self.
In regards to the first reason, lots of guys break bats over their knees and unless there’s a rash of injuries from it, I’m not seeing the need to make a big deal out of the injury aspect of it. Remember, this is the Cubs. Getting hurt NOT playing in a game is just as likely as getting hurt while playing. And considering the number of guys already on the DL and the number of injuries this team has, short of wrapping them all in bubble wrap and padding the field, there’s nothing you can do to prevent an injury. I know it sounds flippant, but the way things have gone this season, I don’t think even the best precautions will be good enough.
As for this being evidence of Big Z going back to being Big Z, breaking a bat over his knee, while unnecessary, isn’t exactly a smoking gun. Lots of players do it.I’ve seen the Great and Powerful Joey Votto do it. Hell, I’ve seen Koyie Hill do it. I think it’s stupid, but I can understand the need for a quick release of frustration. Sometimes a few deep breaths just isn’t as satisflying.
I also don’t see this as a sign that his anger management is failing, despite some people’s hopes to the contrary. As I already said, other players that have been nowhere near anger management do it. If you want to see if his anger management is still working, check the mound. His intensity is still here (watch him chew gum), but the derailing anger isn’t. And with an error prone defense behind him, there’s been plenty of opportunities for his temper to boil over. However, the jams he’s gotten into, whether through errors or hits or walks, are no longer like watching a fly thrash around in a spiderweb, getting more tangled and making it worse. He’s kept his cool, made his pitches (most of the time), and got himself out of it.
It’s also worth noting that he didn’t lose his cool when the media asked him about (and in one instance, goaded him about) breaking the bat over his knee. He handled the situation well and with humor and didn’t jump over the table and eat anyone Rancor-style. And I’m sure everyone was bummed about that.
So, it seems that since Big Z won’t go out of his way to make some drama, Chicago sports media has gone out of their way to attempt to make a big story out of bat splinters.
Hate to say it but, this isn’t the story you’re looking for. Sorry.
Nothing to see here.