Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Carlos Zambrano

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A first-hand view of the No Hitter

Goat Reader D.B. has posted over on her GROTA blog a link to her flickr account. She took the liberty of capturing the event with her camera, proving forever that she was on hand to see it. (%$##@ lucky!)

Posted below are some highlights, but check out her flickr for the full monty.

Sausage House
Photo courtesy of D.B.

The Field before the game
Photo courtesy of D.B.

The Big Moose
Photo courtesy of D.B.

Carlos locked in
Photo courtesy of D.B.

Mob scene
Photo courtesy of D.B.

Mob Scene 2
Photo courtesy of D.B.

Again, thanks to DB for the fantastic pictures. I, uh, didn't exactly ask for permission, per se, to post the pics here, but if you want to see the full set, just check out the post on the Readers Blog by DB.

Pictures from Holy Shit Carlos Zambrano's no hitter

Available here! Please excuse the damn netting which fouled up almost every shot!


Where were you on September 14, 2008?

I remember.

The skies had been opened wide for 3 days straight, the rain pouring onto the ground. The earth swelled and the water rose above, puddles becoming ponds and ponds becoming lakes. The air shifted colder and colder, a sense of forboding permeating the day. People are suffering throughout the South as the flooding brought back unsettling thoughts of destruction and loss. Nothing was right in the world.

Until Carlos Zambrano took the mound, prepared to show Houston a REAL hurricane.

Like a gunslinger or a gladiator returning from oblivion, Zambrano took the mound and the fate of his squad in his right hand. Geovany Soto nodded his head and extended his fingers and the game was under way.

As if on queue, the rain stopped and moved to the East. As if knowing what was happening, the air warmed a bit and the clouds separated. Something was Brewing.

6th inning, seventh. Eighth inning, 9th.

Over three decades of waiting and there it was. Before our very eyes, another record was achieved and the first no-hitter since Milt Pappas was in the record books.

It was a symphony. It was a masterpiece.

I will remember where I was, my sons sleeping in the other rooms, too young to know what this meant.

I will remember hitting record on my DVR, knowing that this was something to cherish and keep forever.

I will remember forgetting all the wrongs and ills in the world, if only for just a couple moments, as My Team mobbed Our Ace.

I will remember my friend texting me to tell me that this was his greatest day as a Cubs fan. I could sense the tears welling in his eyes that he could not have watched it with his father who taught him to be a Cubs fan.

I will remember that this was something that I will tell my kids about when they are older.

This was the moment the 2008 Cubs ceased to be a team rather than The Team.

I will always remember September 14, 2008.

I would have been fine with a "Quality Start"....

...I figured Senor Holy Shit Carlos Zambrano was good for about 100 pitches, and then Lou would come take him out. What IF he tried to take him out at that point, which would have been with 2 outs, facing Erstad? Z would have stripped Lou's flesh from his bones with his talons, sucked his marrow out, and wore Lou's skin as a frilly frock on his next trip back to Venezuela. So good times, all around?

Heh. My ass. Today I'm gonna write about God, and Mother Nature, and what the hell did I ever do to any of you to deserve what just went down? (In all honesty, it would have been exceedingly hard for me to attend a Sunday night baseball game in Milwaukee, drive home, then get up at 5 bells to come here today, but...) if it weren't for a lousy 14 dollar "check valve" that my contractor DIDN'T put in my house, my basement would have been dry, I would have been in BeerCity yesterday, and at least the opportunity would've been there for me and Wendy to buy tickets to see the FIRST CUBS NO-HITTER since Christ was a kid.

Dovetailing from my post on Friday, More Good Things happened besides history - the inflamed rotator cuff of our most intimidating pitcher seems to be fine. Our entire ballclub, which as recently as Wednesday morning seemed in freefall, now enjoys a 7-game lead for Home Field Advantage in the NL. When you consider Senor Holy Shit, Harden and Dempster, we have to be the prohibitive Short Series favorites. Throw our #4, Ted "the Cannibal" Lilly into the mix, we are the Long Series favorites, too. Who else has this? Now all Uncle Lou has to do is sit back and be judicious on how often he pitches his starters, uses his pen, and plays his hitters, strike that balance between work and rest, maybe give Dempster a few days of rest, maybe let Marmol try his hand at closing a game or two, and oh yeah, maybe pack Howry on the next scheduled trip to the Space Station. Not to mention that the no-no knocked the Sux (who were sweeping the Tigers) off tWWL's telecast last night! Take a suck of THAT, Ozzie Tourette!

Firstguessing, not secondguessing: I am not applying for my Nostradamus Psychic Friends membership card here, or anything, because over the past 36 years there have been scores of times I thought the time was ripe for a Cubs no-no. But it was clear to me from the first that Houston got pooched up the butt by Bud Lite, and it was obvious to me, to my wife, and anyone else watching this deal that the Asstrolls did NOT want to be there. They arrived in Milwaukee at 2:30 in the afternoon...checked into their hotel, the SAME hotel their opponent was occupying (?!?)...then went directly to the park and, as the "home team", checked into the Visitor's clubhouse. I assume that they had first choice as to what clubhouse they wanted to occupy, and I imagine the Visitor's accomodations at a Miller Park aren't as bad as, say, Beautiful Wrigley Field, but when you understand that major league ballplayers are not all Rhodes Scholars and are notorious creatures of habit, it really is not that surprising that they went out there and played like turds that fell out of a tall cow's butt.

I mean, I love Senor Holy Shit as much as the next man, and he is a very good pitcher, but last night he looked like Nolan Ryan and Mad Dog Maddux rolled up in one. He ain't THAT good, he kept bouncing 50-foot sliders up to the plate. I loved his post-game interview, when he said he kept seeing the scoreboard registering 98, 99 MPH for his pitches, which pumped him up more. Uh, Senor? That particular feature of Miller Park is notoriously inaccurate, you didn't just wake up feeling like the 1998 Kerry Wood. Like I said, I'm sure Senor Holy Shit didn't score a 35 on his ACT's.

The Cubs fan part of me has never felt such dominance. This team looks unstoppable in 7-game series. But just like most of the rest of the free world (and I would post the links as proof, but there's no need, just go to ANY sports-related site) deep down, I feel the Asstrolls are more the victims in this deal than the Cubs are conquerors. I understand the logistics of it all - it's raining seemingly everywhere, the Trop dome is not open today, the Hump dome was not open yesterday (Vikings). So the Beer dome was the only option, when you consider that the douchetube that runs the Asstrolls waited until late Saturday night to concede that it would be impossible to play ball in Houston. He was a greedy bastard, and his players paid for his avarice.

Eh, I just re-read my last sentence, so. Hey, Houston? How DO you like deez nutts? You suck, you're uniforms are ugly, there's gonna be another 25,000 Cubs fans in there again today. Why don't you just take another 10 whiffs and get the hell back home?

I would have been happy with a solid, quality outing. But we got extra gravy, more rolls, and they forgot to charge us for our drinks. BONG! I stole this pic from Desipio, but too damn bad, we all should share more. Love IS in the air...Z and Lou get their luv on


Carlos Zambrano with the no hitter!

First no-hitter since Milt Pappas!

Milwaukee loses and it's a 7 game lead!

Now *that's* a pitcher I want in the playoffs.

Carlos Zambrano has shoulder tendonitis

Cubs.com is reporting that Carlos is simply suffering for a bout of rotator cuff tendonitis, which is probably the best we could have hoped for.  They say he will be out for a week and there's no reason to think they are being anything less than forthcoming.

Ask Dr. Jason: What is tendonitis?

Tendonitis of the rotator cuff is when is hurts to throw a baseball.  Similar to the flesh eating virus, tendonitis presents itself with the same symptoms as your basic flu, except for the fever, nausea, and vomitting.  The aches and pains part is the same, though.

The Cubs would be insane to bring him back next week unless the Brewers are threatening to overcome the Cubs for the Central lead and, even then, they're probably better off with Marshall.  In all seriousness, tendonitis is little tears in the tendons and absolutely nothing will help other than rest and anti-inflamation medication.  Let Carlos rest.  His rotator cuff is sleepy.

But still, good news.

This message was approved by the Mark Prior Institute


Li'l Carlito and the Evil, Soul-Sucking, Man-Eating MRI Machine

Some possible reasons why Z didn't get his MRI as scheduled yesterday:

- Claustrophobia.  Afraid that his big ass would get stuck in the tube

- Fear that the intense magnetism would suck away his mojo

- Fear that the images would reveal that Z is a bionic cyborg constructed of pistons, rods, gears and the ass end of a 1954 Buick Roadmaster

- Time committment - a hour in the tube is an hour spent away from IM'ing his brother and swilling Red Bull

- Plus, an hour in the tube is an hour he doesn't get to spend fighting crime

It turns out the real reason is a bit less sinister.  What we laymen don't realize is that when an athlete undergoes an MRI, it isn't just a 'straight' MRI - rather - it's the one with the dye injection.  The injection causes the athlete to be 'disabled' for a number of days.  Most times, this isn't of much concern, since the vast majority of athletes who are driven to the point of an MRI, aren't coming back to perform anytime soon.  So it never gets mentioned.

I guess Z didn't want to commit to having to sit out the 7-10 days due to the injection.  But it appears that reason may win the day after all, because they're going to give him another chance today.  So, even if he is healthy as a horse, he is out for two weeks, minimum.

I don't know if it is even worth putting him on the DL at this point, but I am not planning on seeing his act before the last week of the season, if that.

UPDATE: he faced the big bad machine after all.  No mojo was sucked out.  He will miss perhaps only one start, after receiving an anti-inflammatory shot.

Carlos Zambrano to have MRI tomorrow

According to 670 The Score ("Goat Riders: We Listen to Sports Talk radio so you don't have to"), Carlos is scheduled to have an MRI tomorrow.  To me, this makes it a certainty that he's going to hit the DL.  If it hurts enough to look for structural damage, it hurts enough to take a couple weeks off.


The Legend of Carlos Zambrano

It was late September and I was in Chicago for business. What kind of business I won't say, but I wasn't someone to be triffled with. I thought I was a big guy, a tough guy. Then I met Carlos.

I was at a small bar on the Northside, McSomethingOrTheOther. Frankly, even if I remembered the name I wouldn't remember the name. I had a martini followed by another followed by a shot. Waiting for the buzz to kick in, I stared with glazed-over eyes at the TV. Some local sportscaster was trying to breath life into another tepid Bears season, but I wasn't buying. Just as the first wave of intoxication started to blur my vision, the air went out of the room. I'd claim I heard a record scratch, bring the music to a halt, but that's just too cliched. Hell, it might have. I barely remember the night. But I do remember him.

He walked into the room like he owned the place. I swear to God, he was ten feet tall if he was a foot and he sure as hell was a foot. Hell, he probably played out a foot at the urinal with plenty of slack left over. When he crossed the window, day turned to night. When he crossed the room, men turned to boys and women turned to expectant mothers. He was a force of nature. He was Carlos.

I swayed slightly in my barstool, staring up at the giant. Through the vodka haze he didn't look so tough. I'm pretty sure he was even smiling, although he could have been baring his teeth. I would believe either. And in the worst decision of my life, I decided he wasn't so special. Why did he get to block out the sun? Why not me. I'm just as special. I'm certainly just as drunk. And so I gathered myself and forced myself onto wobbly legs.

And this is were it gets hazy. I'm fairly certain I poked him in the chest. I know, I know...you don't even have to say it. I can definitely remember the look of surprise on his face as he stepped back, making room for my uneven approach. And then I was in his face, my stinking breath all over him. And then I woke up.

...a bruise on my right check.

He had the presence to take me down with his left hand. That's the legend of Carlos Zambrano.

Z wuz robbed

A couple of brief pitching-related thoughts for today:

- We need to go back to the days where the Official Scorer is given more leeway as to the determination of the winning pitcher.  Much has been said about how hard it is to win 20 games anymore, and certainly the five-man rotation is the biggest culprit.  (Now that I am writing this, I should have tried to find an article on how the five-man came to be - I suspect it came from Earl Weaver - and I bet it was probably because he HAD five quality starters, and wanted to use them all, and the rest of the league, as it always does, simply mimics the successful teams without considering whether or not they had five pitchers worth the consideration).

And we have seen plenty of games like yesterday's, where the bullpen blows a lead, and in fact the man responsible for coughing up the lead ends up being "rewarded" with the W when his own team comes back. 

Although coming out of a game after 5 innings and 82 pitches is the antithesis of what a warrior should be, fact is that Zambrano, not Gaudin, deserved the win yesterday.  If Zambrano ends up with 18 or 19 wins this year, I am going to remember the August 3rd game.  I know in the past, the official scorer had the ability to deny the win that automatically went to Gaudin, in favor of rewarding the pitcher who "was most effective".  I don't remember if this applied just to relievers, or if starters were ever part of the equation, but Z got screwed out of a win here.

I understand we're just talking baseball card stats, but it just seems so unfair.

- Mr. Wood got on the radio today and proclaimed himself ready for action, tonight, if need be.  He also reveals that he has declined the opportunity to rehab in the minors, which in the past was something he readily accepted.  Peoria and Des Moines know him well.

Part of his new attitude may be due to his new role - since he is now responsible for only one inning, he feels he can get back in touch as a middle-inning guy for a few days.  Part may also be due to the recent showing by Alfonso Soriano - with very minimal minor league rehab, and a few initial days of struggle, he has come back hotter than ever.

I'm not sure, though, that this is going to be as easy as Kerry thinks.  First of all, the move will require that someone else either moves down, or out.  I'm not sure what purpose in life Scott Eyre serves on this team, and I think Mr. Bob Howry could use some downtime.  But either one MAY be more effective at this point than Bandaid Kerry.  Regardless, someone will have to go, which when taken into consideration with the imminent return of Jon Lieber, is going to require some tough choices, which you'd like to hold off on until everyone involed is completely ready.

Second, and in my mind most importantly is I do not believe that Carlos Marmol will be able to function in the closer role if Wood is on the roster.  Even if Wood has already pitched or is otherwise made unavailable on a particular game, I can see this flying apart badly.  So much of Marmol's game is necessitated on his intense concentration on EACH pitch he throws, and I can see Wood's mere presence as a distraction as Marmol tries to get the three biggest outs of each game. 

It's illogical as hell, I know.  I can't throw up any stats or cite too many examples where this has happened.  Let's just stick this idea in the back of your mind; and if Wood comes back for the StL series as a middle reliever, and Marmol comes in for a save but is not focused, let's just chalk this up to another example of the Big League Athletes and Their Dependence on Knowing Their Roles theorem. 

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