Monday, August 15, 2011

Today's High Five - Cra-Z (& PGA) Edition

5. Sure, Carlos Zambrano is Cra-Z ... but if the Cubbies sack him for good, they'll miss a chance to finally get a big-game performance out of what already has been a $115 million investment in the loony right-hander. So what if he's 0-for-a-decade? Haven't you ever heard of a late bloomer?

4. Deficit, schmeficit. Joblessness, schmoblessness. Recession, schmession. Some dude named Keegan Bradley has won the PGA Championship, and all is grand in America again!

3. The MLB union says the Cubs have no right to suspend Zambrano without pay for 30 days. Seems the guild doesn't want there to be a precedent for teams punishing bombastic, lunatic, headhunting quitters. Makes sense to me.

2. As entertaining as it was to watch Tiger Woods hit the same kind of shots that I all too often do, shank you very much, the PGA Tour desperately needs him -- or somebody -- to be The Guy.

Right now, the tour is a massive blob of Luke Donalds (No. 1 by default), Steve Strickers (just good enough to not win the big one), Phil Mickelsons (fading former heroes), Rory McIlroys (not-quite-ready-for-coronation young guns) and a boatload of Keegan Bradleys.

As a fan, I want somebody setting the bar. I want The Guy every other golfer knows he must beat.

Yes, no-names occasionally won majors even before this current run of has-beens and never-will-bes ... but at least those nobodies had to beat Tiger Woods to do it. Now, alas, they only have to beat Jason Dufner.

1. It was nice to see Cubbie brass take a stand against not just Cra-Z but the entire notion that it's permissible for a bad pitcher to go headhunting just because he's bad.

Though I've never been a big fan of beanballs (because I generally am against assault with a deadly weapon), I at least understand the unwritten rules justifying "purpose pitches" in retaliation for an opponent's hotdogging or headhunting.

What I've never gotten is the belief by many that it's all right for a pitcher who has been rocked to throw at the next batter. Or for a team that gives up homers to a guy in his first two at-bats to then throw at him his third time up.

That amounts to a player or team saying: "I (we) suck, and I (we) can't get you out, so I'm (we're) gonna be chickenshit and throw at you. So there."

So good for Jim Hendry for saying that isn't OK -- yes, the Cubbie GM finally did something right.

And here's hoping the Cubs won't condone the practice even when the guilty pitcher isn't a multimillion-dollar albatross the team desperately wants to dump.


  1. Not defending Zambrano's post-ejection actions, but he didn't throw anywhere near Jones' head. He threw it in the ribcage area. People like Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale used to make a living at that.

  2. Gibson and Drysdale didn't throw at a guy just because the guy was better than them. Period. Had Jones or one of his teammates hotdogged, you might have a point. But all they did was beat Zambrano. And he reacted by being a douchebag. And then a quitter. I totally defend every word I wrote: Any pitcher (or manager) who throws at a batter just because he can't get the batter out is chickenshit and shouldn't be in the majors.

  3. Zambrano didn't throw at Jones because he couldn't get him out. He threw at him because he had allowed 5 homers including ones to the prior two hitters. It's not the first time a pitcher has reacted that way, and it wasn't close to head-hunting.

    The problem was the post-ejection behavior and Zambrano's track record.

  4. Throwing at a batter because you suck goes against the baseball code and it's cowardly. And, given Zambrano's regular lack of control on the mound, it's dangerous. Just because other cowards have done it doesn't make it right. I've appreciated the discourse, Cam, but you're wrong about this one.

  5. sometimes your balls just get away from i am going to have to figure out a way to use shank you very much...still a funny guy...and a serious sports watcher too...thanks mike...

  6. Wrong about what?

    Did I say what he did was wonderful? I said it used to be done regularly and the old timers thought it was part of the game, except they would've thrown it higher to knock the guy down. I also said he didn't throw at Jones' head.

    If it wasn't Zambrano and he didn't threaten retirement afterward, this would be a non-story.