In one breath, Carlos Zambrano taps the "C" logo over his heart and says he never imagines playing for anyone but the Cubs.
It figures, because Zambrano never has played for another organization and, even though he's only 27, no one on the roster has been with team longer than "Z."
Then comes the next breath, when one never knows what Zambrano will do or say.
"Well, if I do, I want it to be in a White Sox uniform," Zambrano says.
So goes what must be a jarring read for Cubs fans by Chris DeLuca in the Chicago Sun-Times. Zambrano, who signed a huge contract extension in '07, continues to swear eternal loyalty to the Cubs on the one hand.
Then comes hand No. 2. He also would love to play for the hated crosstown White Sox, for whom he grew up rooting. Zambrano started spin control before reporters in Arizona were done taking notes.
From the Sun-Times:
''I apologize to the Cubs fans for saying this but you don't have control, when you are 6, 7 years old, of your feelings. Your feelings are with the team you see as a child. For me, it was the White Sox.'' — Zambrano
The love continues for Zambrano into the present. The White Sox are managed by the devilish Ozzie Guillen, a fellow Veneuzelan and someone with whom Zambrano is close. Friendship is OK, but these are the same White Sox who previously won a World Series in 2005. Cubs have been waiting (those still alive) for a trophy since 1908. There's some friction there.
'Duk mentioned in his 25 Random Baseball Things about how some people growing up in Chicago have a disease that causes them to root for both North Side and South Side. It's one thing for a fan to be stricken, but Zambrano is the Cubs ace, charged with leading the team to a bleeping championship and the world's largest-attended goat exorcism.
Maybe Guillen's words — which are quite complimentary toward Zambrano — can ease fans psyches.
Again, quoting the Sun-Times:
''I've never been around somebody who is so nice a person, then all of a sudden, the game is on and he is exactly what you want. You talk to Carlos without the uniform on, I don't know if he can pitch for me. And when you see him with a uniform on, I don't think he can be my friend.'' — Guillen
Feel better, goat riders of the apocalypse, bleeders of Cubbie blue? Doubtful. Cubs fans never felt they could trust Zambrano, depite his no-hit stuff and rare ability to swing the bat. It's not like Z is always on his best behavior. Now this!