What did Carlos Zambrano say after his brutal Labor Day start that required an apology? Nothing, really. Zambrano said simply he didn’t “accept” being booed after his poor performance — including a baserunning boner on offense — and that “when you’re struggling, that’s when you want to feel support from the fans.” The only place Zambrano really skirted propriety was when he said Cub fans are the best in baseball, but their churlish behavior on Monday showed it was all about them.
Nothing too terrible — or untrue — there. Even when Mark Buehrle was scuffling last year for the White Sox, he didn’t get booed the way Zambrano was Monday, but then again a World Series championship buys a lot of charity, while the Cubs themselves have been saying for years going back to the Dusty Baker administration that they were trying to shake the image of being lovable losers. So the fans booed Zambrano, he in turn ripped the fans, and when the media made a big deal of it in Tuesday’s papers Zambrano — clearly at the Cubs’ urging — went into damage-control mode. Hey, as Jim Bouton said to his roommate Gary Bell in Ball Four, it’s never wrong to say you’re sorry, even when you don’t mean it — and perhaps then most of all.