Derrek Lee IS a deadass, but....
...you just don't do what Carlos Zambrano did today.
So, now, what's gonna happen? Not much, I'm afraid. The league isn't going to agree to "sponsor" an indefinite leave of absence for Z. A few games, at most, of league-backed suspension, and then he has to return to the team. Hendry talked out his own ass as much as you'll ever hear him today, but don't believe his threat that he intends to ride out the string one man short.
For one thing, Lou won't abide by that, not that Lou has any room to make any demands at this point. A team takes its cues from his manager, and Lou Piniella is a defeated man. He is every bit as defeated as the 2006 Dustbag or the 2002 Smooth Baylor. Lee and most of the rest of the team look like they are just going through the motions, waiting for a change to be made.
This long-awaited change isn't going to happen. Piniella is no quitter - he will gut out the rest of the year, not so much because he wants the remainder of his money...well, maybe it is the money. But he isn't going to quit. Hendry will never fire Lou, because based on the unwritten "2 field managers per general manager" rule...he hired Baker, ran his course, then hired Lou. Typical baseball etiquette dictates that the next field manager for the Cubs will be hired by a new GM.
As for the owner...his hand was forced when Lou ran his biggest investment and highest-paid player into the bullpen, which introduced all sorts of injury risk, and Ricketts decided it was a good time to plan an African safari. The Ricketts family is doing NOTHING with this damn team. They are Wrigley Field owners, and the on-field product is secondary to the good times and revenue streams generated by the butts in the stands.
And as long as the days and nights are warm, the beer is cold, and the bathrooms accessible, the Chads and Trixies and all the Keokuk housefraus will keep spinning the turnstiles.
What you see is what you got, folks. Z will be back in a week or so. Nobody wants his dumb ass at this point, even IF Ricketts opted to eat the contract, which they won't. So you'll have a bunch of guys walking on eggshells the rest of the year, making their fishing and hunting plans, and counting the days.
If you choose to follow this team the rest of the year, prepare for disappointment more often than not. Enjoy Lou stuttering his way through the post-game conferences the rest of the summer, one he'll never accomplish. Enjoy Ramirez's stirring quest to reach .200. Enjoy Lee Eating Ass ala the 2001 McGriff. Enjoy watching once promising young guys like Soto, Theriot, Colvin and Wells play their way into oblivion. Enjoy Carlos Zambrano acting like a petulant tool the rest of the year, leaving game after game early and burning out whats left of our bullpen.
And Good Lord, if they manage to win a game once in a while, by all means, play the song, wave the flag, and swill the Kool-Aid. Every time they manage to score more than they give up, please, bang the pans and proclaim that THIS is the game where they turn it around and make a run.
Because that's what you want, isn't it? Blind, unconditional hope?
Not me, goddammit. I have two degrees, and I have been deemed 'redundant' by three companies in four years. I have two sons, 17 and 21, who call me disappointing because I can't understand why they want to do all the things they do. I wake up each day wondering if this just might be the day that one of the major arteries clogs shut, or perhaps the headaches I've been having the last two weeks aren't stress after all, but something far more sinister.
I need an escape, I need some GOOD news, and right now, the Chicago Cubs ain't it. They remind me too much of life on THIS side of the TV screen.