No Chicago Cubs player since Sammy Sosa (and maybe even before him) has been as polarizing as Carlos Zambrano. Not among the fans, mind you, who – until recently – have generally supported Zambrano.

I’m talking about in the media. Some writers love(d) Z; some clearly disliked him. And, to be sure, Zambrano had his favorites, as well.

Maybe now we’re seeing why some, like Paul Sullivan, seemed to give Z such a hard time over the years (I have to confess, I’ve come around on Sullivan, and not entirely because of this Z business. I generally enjoy him now, and – for those among you who tweet – he’s an enjoyable Twitter user).

So, it’s perhaps unsurprising to see the Carlos Zambrano affair igniting in otherwise dispassionate writers a bit of passion.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer recently expressed frustration that Zambrano’s agent is only speaking to some media and not others.

“[Zambrano’s] agent, Barry Praver, is in full damage-control mode, handpicking media perceived as sympathetic to deliver the Zambrano camp’s spin, even changing details as new facts are discovered and reported,” Wittenmyer writes.

“Praver, who told ESPN a formal players-union grievance will be filed Monday to fight Zambrano’s 30-day suspension without pay, has not returned repeated messages left by the Sun-Times. He told one outlet that Zambrano returned to the clubhouse within two hours after leaving to return his belongings. And after the Cubs publicly disputed that — many players scoffing as they watched that televised report in the clubhouse Sunday — Praver told another outlet Zambrano didn’t return but had someone else take his stuff back. Whatever.”

That Wittenmyer ended this train of thought with a dismissive and derisive “whatever” makes me chuckle. Add that to the list of things I never thought I’d read in a Cubs news article.

Paul Sullivan was even more on-the-nose with his criticism of a follow media outlet for its Zambrano coverage.

In a recent tweet, Sullivan linked a Daily Herald story, which summed up various facets of the affair, from the events of Friday night, to Zambrano’s placement on the disqualified list, to the reactions of teammates. In the tweet, Sullivan called the Daily Herald article a “weak cut-n-paste job,” criticized it for “[taking] sentences verbatim from other news outlets,” and called the effort “shameful.” Ouch. Harsh, bro.

And then, when Zambrano granted an exclusive first interview to CSN’s Dave Kaplan, ESPN’s Jon Greenburg tweeted, “The Cubs beat writers should be pleased Zambrano spoke to Kaplan first. Not like this is a big story.” Bruce Miles followed up, “No one more vicious toward Z than Kap.”

Ah, such is the magic of Carlos Zambrano. This kind of tumult may be the only thing I miss when Zambrano is gone.

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