Last night, the Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds battled in Wrigley Field for the second game of a series in mid-September. The Cubs led the second place Milwaukee Brewers by one game, while the Reds were battling through another subpar season in fourth place.
The Cubs put Carlos Zambrano on the hill, their ace and a man who just signed a five year, $91 million contract. Zambrano also recently went through a slump of sorts, and in his most recent start at Wrigley, he was booed by the home crowd after a sub standard performance. After this, he went off on the fans to the press, saying (among other things) that the fans should be behind him no matter what.
Zambrano needed a good start. Not just for himself, but for his team. The Cubs need to win every game. That’s not realistic, but every game counts. And if you are truly the ace of the Cubs staff and worthy of over 18 million dollars a year, you have to beat the Reds at home during the stretch drive.
So what did Big Z do, after calling out the fans? Just after signing an 18 million dollar a year deal? In the middle of a very tight pennant race? He went 5 and a third innings. He gave up 4 runs. He left the game with his team losing 4-2, and it took another great Carlos Marmol outing–stranding two baserunners Zambrano left–to keep the score there.
So Zambrano got pulled early in the sixth. As he walked off the mound, what did the Cubs fans do? They cheered him. In fact, some of them gave him a STANDING OVATION.
This is your ace. You are in the middle of a division race. The team you are battling in the race won, so a loss by the Cubs ties them with the Brew Crew for the division lead with 10 games to go. The guy pitching for you, against a fourth place team by the way, just signed 90 MILLION DOLLAR contract extension. He replies by giving you just over five innings and allows four runs.
And you give him a near standing ovation.
Cubs fans, you got punked by a player. If Zambrano didnt complain about the booing in his last home start, you would of booed him last night. You allowed a player, someone who is making 90 MILLION DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, to not only pitch another horrid game during a crucial time but then alter the way you feel about the game. Get a spine, people.
You deserve better than this. You’ve waited almost 100 years for a world title. How much did you pay for your ticket last night? 50 dollars? 75 dollars? Part of the price of your ticket goes to player salaries. So basically, you’re paying Carlos Zambrano to do a shitty job and then tell you to not boo him.
I’m not saying you should throw crap on the field or shoot him with a bow and arrow. But show your displeasure. Its your right as a fan. I understand Cubs fans are known as being very supportive of their team, but what happened last night isnt supportive–its enabling. You are already being supportive by filling the park for every game over the past decade. You don’t have to accept mediocrity, especially from a guy who is making more money than you will ever see in your lifetime.
Let me ask you this, Cub fans–if Zambrano hadn’t said anything after his last start, would you had been this supportive last night? The answer is probably no. And if that is the case, you got punked. Plain and simple. I’m not trying to rile you up. You might say, ‘Hey, you’re a White Sox fan, thats why you’re writing this.’ Listen, if the same thing happened with my team, I’d be even more upset. I would hope that White Sox fans expect more from their players and wouldn’t be intimidated by some multi-millionaire.
If you were at the game last night and you cheered Zambrano when he left the game, you are whats wrong with Cub Nation. Deal with it. You give real Cubs fans a bad name.