Yesterday I flipped from the Reds-Dodgers game to the Cubs-Cardinals game. The kids were watching with me, and as they do every time a game is on, they constantly asked me questions about who so-and-so is, and is this guy good and all of that. Carlos Zambrano was on the mound and they asked me about him.
“Is he good?” my daughter asked.
“Um, yeah, sure, he’s good” I said.
“Is he cool?” my son asked.
“Well, I don’t know if ‘cool’ is the right word,” I told him.
All of this led to me explaining to them — as my wife listened in from the other room wondering why I engage in these conversations with the kids — about how Zambrano more or less flips out once a year and beats up coolers and fights with his teammates and stuff. I think I started it with the idea of teaching the kids a lesson about composure and good sportsmanship, but it really just made them think that Zambrano was awesome. I pretty much fail as a father.
Anyway, the conversation ended with the kids asking me to keep the game on because they wanted to see “the Carlos guy” go crazy on some Gatorade coolers or yell at someone. I told them that it wasn’t going to happen because Zambrano has been better behaved this year and maybe he was trying harder to be a better teammate and all of that. Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. I feel like I need to share with the kids, however, the fact that Zambrano threw his teammates under the bus after the game:
Albert Pujols won Sunday’s game in the 10th inning with another walk-off homer. This time it was a Rodrigo Lopezfastball traveling 426 feet into the left-center field seats. But Zambrano felt burned by Carlos Marmol. The closer blew the save in the ninth when Ryan Theriot lined a two-out double down the left-field line, scoring the game-tying run from first.
“The problem wasn’t Pujols,” Zambrano said. “We played like a Triple-A team. This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team, for the owners. Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassing. That’s the word here for this team.
He specifically called out Marmol’s decision to throw Theriot a hanging breaking ball instead of a fastball, allowing him to tie things up.
Yes, this would have been a useful lesson for the kids. Maybe a dual lesson: (1) Sometimes it’s better to be seen rather than heard; but (2) Even if you can’t follow rule number 1, at least always tell the truth.
So, hey, at least Zambrano was half in the good yesterday. Because even if his motives were bratty and selfish (question: would he have called Marmol out if it was a Ryan Demptser start that got blown?) he’s not wrong.