Requiem for a Zombie
My acquaintance with Carlos Zambrano goes back to his teenage days when he would sit near our seats behind the plate charting pitches between starts for the I-Cubs. He wore stiff new jeans and his hair was oiled to a sheen. Over the years he exhibited an almost womanly fussiness about his hairstyle, as unsure apparently about that particular aspect of himself as he was about the whole.
In those days he routinely signed autographs there in the stands for kids, including mine, who had no idea, either of who he was or who he would become. Neither, really, did Carlos.
I was there the night he couldn’t hold a 4-0 lead in Game One of the 2003 NLCS. That stage was too much too soon. He was barely old enough to buy himself a drink in Chicago then. The thinking was that he would grow into maybe the stoutest #3 starter in baseball behind the twin bell cows of Prior and Wood. Instead he ascended to the role of ace through attrition and was paid accordingly though, to my mind, he never earned an ace’s salary.
That’s not to say he wasn’t ever worth the rising prices of admission. I remember a game I attended with my two sons in 2006 when Zambrano was facing the Mets. After reaching first in a scoreless game by beating out an infield hit with nobody on and two out in the bottom of the fifth, he stole second practically standing up. At the last possible instant he fell back into a graceless slide that looked to have broken his ankle. When he got to his feet and dusted himself off we were sure we could see him grinning from hundreds of feet away. It was the only stolen base of his career to date. Juan Pierre grounded out to end the inning but Zambrano eventually beat Tom Glavine that day to run his record to 9-3 for a team that was 35-55 at the time.
Years later my eldest was in the bleachers the day when Zombie, as we liked to call him, got ejected and retaliated by ejecting his ejector and trying to throw the ball clear into the left field seats. I was listening on the radio and as soon as the phone rang I knew who it was.
My feelings about the trade to the Marlins are mixed. I’m glad the Cubs are rid of the tantrums and the declining performance (he hasn’t thrown 200 innings since 2007) but I will miss the buffoon too, I must confess. I will not be surprised if he wins the NL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2012, but I would have been if he won it pitching for the Cubs. The Ozzie y Carlos Show should be lively in Miami. Let’s face it, we and the Cubs have neither seen nor heard the last of the mercurial man-child. He may have lost a step on the base paths along with a few MPH on the fastball, but when he makes his return to Wrigley, if he gets on they better hold him close.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.