Dusty Baker managed the Chicago Cubs from 2003 to 2006, which coincided with the early years of Carlos Zambrano’s nascent career. Zambrano was a bundle full of energy back then, too, and Baker says he regularly had to reign Zambrano in when he was bursting into anger flames.
The manager who had Carlos Zambrano through his best major-league seasons had more closed-door sit-downs with the emotional pitcher than the public ever knew and seemed less surprised than disheartened by the latest blowup.
”It saddens me. He’s a good guy,” said Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, who had Zambrano through the pitcher’s first four full seasons as a starter, through 2006.
”Hey, man, I know where he’s coming from because I fought most of my adolescent life [with my temper,” he said. ”My dad cut me three times — my own dad cut me from my Little League team three times because of my temper. He said, ‘If you can channel that into a positive direction, you can be something. Until then, you’re going to get cut again.”’
Baker hauled Zambrano into his office numerous times early in a career marked repeatedly by incidents involving showing up teammates with angry displays.
”We had quite a few conversations about things,” Baker said, ”contrary to everybody thinking ‘Dusty’s so easy-going.’
”[Anger] was always there, but he was channeling it to win. Carlos hates to lose. This guy is a competitor, big-time.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.
No surprises, I suppose, as we all saw how Z was in those days (and these days). A bit surprising that Dusty, who’s always regarded as a “player’s manager,” and usually goes out of his way to avoid saying anything concrete about any players, was willing to lay it out there.
Still, it is interesting to hear that “anger” has been an issue for so many years. Maybe anger management really will end up a good thing for Zambrano, after all.