« The Goose and The Hawk | Main | An Open Letter to the Chicago Tribune »

They Call Him (The Big) Z

A lot of words come to mind when the name Carlos Zambrano is mentioned, aggressive, combustible, exuberant, moody, untamed, but literate has never been one of them. Until now.

You might have missed it but sometime last October Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood closed down some streets and celebrated “Carlos Zambrano Day” in honor of his biography, titled “The Big Z. The Carlos Zambrano Story

This was too juicy to resist. The enigmatic long misunderstood Zambrano was going to allow us, the reader, inside his mad world. Carlos would take us someplace special, mysteries would be revealed, universal truths exposed and love, happiness and inter-planetary peace would abound. Carlos would set us free!

I had high expectations. The opening line did not let me down:

eagle.jpg“The life of Carlos Zambrano is that of an eagle that flies in the middle of a storm and, facing opposing winds, ascends powerfully until it reaches the top of the mountains”

Carlos was born and raised in Venezuela
His family was very poor
He has a brother named Yormis
He was not good at baseball and nobody thought he was a good athlete
Carlos became a pretty good pitcher
Carlos went running a lot and would work on his pitching
Carlos got signed by the Cubs
Carlos was nervous about leaving his family
Carlos signed a massive, massive contract
Carlos and his family are not poor anymore
We are all God’s children
The End
(Bible quotes and praise for God heavily interspersed throughout)

Aside from the fact that this book is a thinly veiled piece of religious propaganda, there are some choice quotes that make the overall reading selectively enjoyable. Kind of like the bacon and liver dish my Mom would whip up back in the day, just enough bacon and sauce to make the liver tolerable. Of course she never charged me $15 for the privilege.

With that being said, TFB is tossing the liver aside and offering you all bacon and sauce, Dinner's up!


Carlos Biography Quotes:

“When I threw about 50 balls at him and he did not even hit so much as a foul, I realized that he did not have natural skill”
Carlos’s first baseball coach on his initial impressions of pre-teen Z

“One time all the children got together and made a sign on his bedroom door that read: “The Captain.” When the Father saw it he got very angry.”
Carlos’ brother Victor on his Father’s strictness

“I would see her and say things like ‘There is that chubby girl coming this way.’ Anything. But people would make jokes and bug me, even the leader of the brigade made fun of me about it, and I would respond, ‘Don’t joke about me and that girl because she is very ugly.”

“We started talking and kissed on the cheek and we left there as boyfriend and girlfriend. Six months later we kissed on the lips for the first time.”
Carlos recalling his courtship of his wife Ismari:

“I am going to honestly tell you the key: the first one is God.”

“That I would be signed before that “lunatic” because he didn’t play baseball. Even worse, there was a rumor going around that, once he was signed and the Americans actually saw him, they ripped up the contract in his face because they thought he was crazy.”
Zambrano’s trainer in Venezuela Julio Figueroa, on comments he received when working with Carlos

“I often talk to myself, and I remembered saying, ’Carlos Zambrano, here you are, and all you have left to do is ride this horse.”
Carlos recalling his thoughts before his first Major league game

“That was also something that God did…”
Carlos on his proficiency in English

I was so excited and I screamed. Can you imagine? I had subdued “the biggest one.” I then made some emotional gestures, not to him, but to myself-gestures showing the excitement of having subdued a big man in baseball. I thought, ‘Wow, how could I have subdued Barry Bonds?”

Carlos, on his emotional outburst following his getting Barry Bonds to ground out back in 2002



This page contains an article posted on February 27, 2008 1:16 AM.

The previous article was The Goose and The Hawk.

The next article is An Open Letter to the Chicago Tribune.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33