In addition to Ozzie Guillen’s return, tonight’s Cubs-Marlins tilt
matches up Carlos Zambrano against his old buddies brings the Cubs to Carlos Zambrano’s house.* And despite the fact that he blew up all the time and walked out on the team last season in Atlanta, they seem magnanimous enough:
“He had a lot of friends on this team,” Marlon Byrd said. “That’s what people forget. You see his antics on the field, and the reasons he was suspended, and all the other b.s. But at the same time, you still have friends he has guys he texts on this team, and talks to on this team We’re going to see him and hopefully he’s looking good and feeling good.”
That sentiment was echoed by many. Gosh, the Cubs seem centered. Probably because they are, reports Patrick Mooney:
But now that Theo Epstein has been given the keys to the kingdom, there is a sense of stability and confidence in the long-range plan. People have noticed how quiet it is around this team.
“Everybody just focuses on what we do – playing baseball,” outfielder Alfonso Soriano said. “Everybody’s relaxed and enjoys what we do.
This is a first that I can recall, by the way: a losing team — the Cubs are 3-7 — with good chemistry and a peaceful clubhouse. And here I thought those things are what caused a team to win.
*Yeah, I wrote that Zambrano was facing the Cubs tonight. Not sure why I thought that.
A brutal couple of updates on the night of Jose Fernandez’s death from Jeff Passan of Yahoo and from Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald.
Passan reports on the leadup to the fateful boat trip. About how a friend of one of the other men killed on the boat had pleaded with him not to go out in the dark. Then there’s this:
After Saturday’s game, Fernandez had asked a number of teammates to join him on the boat. One by one, they declined.
Marcell Ozuna was one of them. Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald reports:
Following Monday’s game, Ozuna said he turned down an invitation from Fernandez after Saturday night’s game to go out with him and join him for a spin on his boat . . . “That night I told him, ‘Don’t go out,’” Ozuna said. “Everybody knew he was crazy about that boat and loved being out on the water. I told him I couldn’t go out that night because I had the kids and my wife waiting for me.
Losing a friend and teammate under such circumstances is brutal enough. Adding on survivor’s guilt would be close to impossible to bear.
David Ortiz has used Derek Jeter’s Player’s Tribune as his personal podium all year as he says goodbye to the Major Leagues. He continues that today, on the eve of his final series against the Yankees.
In it Ortiz talks about what playing the Yankees meant to him over the course of his career. About how the fan hate was real but something he embraced. About how the series back in the days of Jeter and Pettitte and Mariano and Mussina were “wars.” He also talks about how the Yankees were basically everything when he was growing up in the Dominican Republic. The only caps and shirts you saw were Yankees shirts and how they were about the only team you could see on TV there. As such, coming to Boston and then playing against the Yankees was a big, big deal.
Ortiz says “[s]ome players are born to be Yankees, you know what I’m saying? I was born to play against the Yankees.”
And he’ll get to do it only three more times.