Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Millar talks to Zambrano, says Z was ``trying to pump up'' Cubs

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Kevin Millar, a spring training teammate of Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs this year, appears to be one of the few, if not the only, ``teammate'' to have reached Zambrano since Friday's incident at U.S. Cellular Field.

Now an MLB Network analyst, Millar talked about Zambrano's take on the incident - echoing the explanation a source close to Zambrano gave to the Sun-Times on Saturday.

``I spoke with him the other day, after the games on Saturday, and the main thing he wanted to get across was that at times guys like Carlos, they don't know how to handle or how to fire up a team,'' Millar said. ``There wasn't one play that made him mad; it was just the whole team and the way they've been playing made him made, and then he was frustrated, he said, after his inning and came in and was basically trying to pump all the guys up.''

Multiple Cubs on Saturday scoffed at that explanation, given the ``this team is horse----!'' venom spewing throughout his tirade.

``He told me a week before that he wanted to get Carlos Silva to do something to the team because he's doing well, and Carlos Zambrano said that he knew [Silva] wasn't the right guy to do this at this time because of his struggles,'' Millar said. ``I told him straight up, I said, `You can't say this team's playing like girls. ... you can't say that this whole team that's not clicking for some reason or `We're not playing hard' because he's a big part of that problem.

``He understood that ... and that's what he was trying to get across. It wasn't a personal thing with Derrek Lee - obviously, Derrek Lee took it personal, and [Zambrano] felt terrible and we obviously see what happened in the dugout. We see the way he's reacted, and this is the second time. [In 2007,] he went out and fought Michael Barrett and beat up Michael Barrett. Well, then they end up trading Michael Barrett thinking that, `OK, we'll get rid of him but something has to be done.' Now [Zambrano] going to anger-management counseling ...I think this is the new fad that we're trying to show that at least there's an effort there.''

More cynical baseball executives have suggest, particularly in Milton Bradley's case with Seattle last month, that ``seeking help'' and refuge on the restricted list helps keep the big contract secure in the face of behavior that might be used to justify heavy financial penalties.

Millar continued: ``That was basically his view, that he shouldn't have done it, he wasn't the right guy to do it, he wanted Carlos Silva to do it last week. It wasn't one play. It wasn't the Derrek Lee play that caused this whole scene. He ran in the dugout and was yelling at the whole group.''

Asked whether Zambrano - who has a full no-trade clause (and 2 ½ years at $45 million left on his contract) - wants to remain with the Cubs, Millar said:

``I think he wants to heal the situation, whether he remains a Chicago Cub or not. Who knows if the wounds are too deep? Who knows? That's Jim Hendry's job. But see this is the problem: We give huge contracts to players, and now we think, `Oh, that equals leadership,' or, `If a guy's doing well, that equals leadership.' That's not the case. You create these monsters through organizations, and Carlos Zambrano's Carlos Zambrano.

``I think they knew this was an intense guy. I think they knew this [is a] guy who dances to a different beat at time. But he's not a bad human being by any means.''

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4 Comments

I know why the Cubs aren't winning and I know how to fix it.

In my own personal thoughts and words, I am truly disappointed in Zambrano, and if anybody for one minute thought that he was trying to motivate the team are seriously mistaken. Get rid of him; trade him to the american league say like to the Baltimore Orioles. Let him go there to try and get them "pumped up".
Now, I have been a cubs fan since the day I was born(lol)all of my family were and are cubs fans and it is a shame that my grandparents,and my father did not get to see the cubs win a world series, and the way it looks I won't either! I watch the cubs quite often, and I am to the thinking that the cubs are "tanking!" I see how D.Lee and Ramirez are swinging the bat; and please explain Randy Wells; he wins his 1st 3 games and then he struggles to go 4 innings?? The only cub that is out there playing 100% is Marlon Byrd. As for Castro, I can say that he is pretty good but, they should have left him in the minor league to let him work on his game. He is or has made far to many mistakes that have cost the team dearly. Someone please tell me what is wrong with Fukedome?? Why isn't he playing?? Is it because of Tyler Colvin??? If that's the case then, I am sorry to say that the cubs are not going to go to far, except maybe a fight to stay out of last place, or perhaps the worst team in the major's.
Now, everybody should know that getting rid of a manager is not always the right way to go; look at the history; Lou has been here for 3 going on 4 yrs. Dusty Baker 4-5yrs. Miracles don't always happen overnight. It takes time to put things together to form a winning team.(RIGHT??)So, then tell me how is it the Yankees, Red Sox,Braves,Cardinals,Angels,and now the Dodgers always have winning seasons year after year and making the play-offs consistantly, but not the cubs??? Why is that???? And then all of a sudden the cubs have a winning season, and play good for about 3yrs. if there lucky and after that they are in the cellarfor 10-15yrs.????
I think that you have to have a manager that is willing to stay with the club much longer than 3yrs. to put a good team out on the field and build from there. The team that we have now,they really do not want to play at all I'm sorry to say,all they are doing is showing up and milking up everything they can get away with. EXAMPLE?? Again look at Zambrano,if I had been the manager, he would have been suspended for the 1st time indefinitely and I would not have cared at all how much money he was being payed in fact, I would cut him off, not pay him anything on the basis of not performing to do his job and for not being a professional!! Go ahead and sue, the way the legal system works it will years until he would possibly collect anything. The same woulld go for the other player's, if you are not performing then they would lose money. These clubs pay out this big money for what?? To perform, be a professional, I realize that a player is going to have bad days, everybody has those. but there is a huge difference between a bad day and not wanting to play.
And take D.Lee,a professional, usually a good over all player,then why does he swing at a pitch that he has to bend over to reach to try to hit the ball that is over in the opposite batter's box??? Once-just a mistake; twice, hmmmm??.... three times and more; BULL!!!! and I am talking about all in one game!!! Something like that happens, the player(s) just don't want to play in my own opinion!!! And Ramirez is the same way. Now, please do not take me totally the wrong way, I do like these players,but somehow and in someway you have to find out the reason(s) why???
Now I go to pick on Lou; a while back Lou jumped all over a reporter asking him what kind of baseball is he playing??? Well Lou, now I want to ask you the same question;"what kind of baseball are you playing?" Do you not believe in making the other team's pitcher work??? If so, then explain why all of the swings at the ball on the 1st pitch?? Why does it only take around6-12 pitches to get your guys out and it takes your pitcher 20-30 pitches to get the opposition out??? Come on Lou tell all of us what kind of baseball you are playing??? And Lou, I agree with you that you are not stupid, perhaps you are ditsy and dizzy all at once and not realizing it!!!
Oh yes!!! Lou we have a new statistic forming and along with it comes an award, please tell us who on the team is best at grabbing his crotch??? That is all I have to say so "GO CUBS GO" or JUST GO CUBS GO AWAY THE STATE OF ILLINOIS AND THE CITY OF CHICAGO NO LONGER WANTS EMBARRASSMENT!!!!

Do we need any more explanation as to why Millar is not on this team?

Zambrano can really help pump up the team by stop giving up home runs and getting back the velocity on his fastball. The Cubs are paying $17 million a year for a batting practice pitcher with a bad attitude. Another fine move by Jim Hendry.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on June 29, 2010 12:06 AM.

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