How it might have been….
The uncut version of ESPN’s interview was found under the Sports Center desk while the night shift was cleaning in the Bristol, Conn., studio. The kind night crew thought the original recording would be helpful to Zambrano’s doctor. However, after watching the tape, the doctor removed himself from Zambrano’s case and went immediately to the local sports bar. Not knowing what to do with it, he sent it along to The Hardball Times. Here’s the unedited transcript of the interview with Zambrano.
AS ON ESPN: “I was trying to fire up the team. Lee told me to shut up, and I got more excited. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. The last person I would be mad at is D. Lee; he’s a Gold Glover. I was just mad at myself.”
NOT SEEN ON ESPN: “I got excited. One way I like to fire up a team is to throw a lot of hard objects around in the dugout. When Lee told me to shut up, that was really stupid of him. C’mon, seriously? Doesn’t he know it’s all about me? If I want to fire up the team and make my teammates uncomfortable, everyone should get on board with that.
“I know Lee’s a Gold Glover. That’s a really nice award from the ball glove maker people so I decided to go easy on Lee. I didn’t even bust his lip open or throw a bat in his direction. But, if it was Jeff Baker telling me to shut up, well, he hasn’t won crap. No awards, ever. He’s someone I would really start inflicting pain on. Players who haven’t won awards consider yourselves forewarned. Watch what you say to me; I won’t be kind.”
AS ON ESPN: “I texted Lee two days after it happened, and we talked about that. I apologized to him, and he responded well. He’s a professional. He’s one of the best teammates you can have.”
NOT ON ESPN: “Unlike myself, Lee doesn’t generally go around smashing things with bats when he gets mad. If he was such a good teammate he would start doing stupid stuff as well. That way we could both work on building team chemistry using my techniques. Although, I’ve got to give him a little credit, he did respond to my text message the way I wanted him to. You know, in my anger management class, they tell us to use ‘I’ statements. They say this will help to avoid criticizing or placing blame. But this is all Lee’s problem here. He needs to respond good to my apology. He’s the one who needs to act like a professional, not me. I just started all this crazy stuff in the first place, and if people don’t like my apologies, than it’s their fault.”
AS ON ESPN: “If I play better and do the right things, everything will be fine in Chicago.”
NOT SEEN ON ESPN: “I’m convinced that if I just do the right stuff, even though I have no capacity to understand what that is, it’s all going to be fine in Chicago. I’m sure unemployment will go down, probably crime as well. Oh, and we’ll probably even win the World Series this year. The whole city really revolves around me.”
AS SEEN ON ESPN: “Thank God the Cubs have sent me to the doctor for anger management. I’ve had three sessions already… doing exercises. I have to write down every time I get mad.”
NOT SEEN ON ESPN: “The most important thing the doctor told me was to think carefully before I say anything. He told me if I don’t, sometimes I’ll do or say something I’ll regret. So, I’ve been writing down all the times I get angry and I’ve thought about this real carefully; I decided to screw all that writing stuff. The best thing for me to do is to go ahead and speak on national television. You want me to do a daily update? I’d be cool with that. I know my manager, Lou Piniella, said it would be a good idea to speak to my team before I spoke to the media, but what does he know?”
The Hardball Times very much appreciates having the unedited recording of Zambrano’s interview with ESPN. We completely understand why he quit, and we’re going to head on down to the local sports bar with the doctor. In the future, if the night shift finds anything else under the Sports Center desk, they can just let us know here.