Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chicago Journalism 101: Emotion Police

Might as well let it out, Carlos. The media will say it for you if you don't.
Carlos Zambrano has been demoted to the bullpen. Say what you will about the move's usefulness to the team, but it's a demotion nonetheless. Anyone with a Sesame-Street-level grasp of psychology knows that this would upset any professional pitcher. No pitcher greets a demotion to the bullpen with a "Hooray!" Pitchers who get promoted from AAA to the bullpen might be quite happy about it, but they'd be even happier if their organizations told them they would be starters.

I know this is simple, but since quite a few people in the Chicago media seem so oblivious to the facts, let's go over what we know once again: Carlos Zambrano was a starter. Management demoted him to the bullpen. Not a soul alive needs to interview him to know that he's upset about it.

But the Chicago media did ask him about it. In the same way they insist on asking athletes how they feel after losing in a championship game, reporters are contractually obligated to ask Big Z how he feels about the demotion. I don't begrudge them asking, necessarily. They have to write something. But I hope they understand it's a stupid question that serves as nothing more than a litmus test of Carlos Zambrano's professionalism.

And Carlos answered. He's not "happy happy," but he's happy. Are they happy? Not at all. The print journalists have been relatively quiet about Z's responses, but the radio and television guys are going nuts trying to drum up "insider" stories about how angry Zambrano is and what the ramifications will be. Will he demand to be traded? Are the Cubs provoking him on purpose? Why do the Cubs feel the need to bend over backwards to pacify Zambrano? Will Jim Hendry wake up with Ryan Theriot's head in his sheets? Does Big Z like Carlos Marmol or does he like him like him?

Let me get this straight just one more time: Zambrano gets demoted. Everyone in the world knows that will make him angry. Reporters ask him if he's angry, and he very professionally, responsibly, and respectfully lies for the good of the team and to the disappointment of those who want to see him erupt so violently that O'Hare has to close until Hendry finds a suitable setup man.

I don't get it. Z passed the test. He's controlled his anger well enough to pitch and to avoid spouting off to the media. So the columnists, analysts, and hosts who rant about Zambrano being an over-emotional diva have nothing to complain about unless they're actually suggesting Zambrano shouldn't be angry.

If I'm following this right (which would be somewhat lucky, because I can't stomach these moronic, sanctimonious imbeciles long enough to actually follow their logic) they used to criticize Z for not controlling his emotions. Now they're lambasting him just for having emotions? Gotcha.

Personally, I think it's time for the media to learn a little lesson in emotional health, courtesy of the aforementioned Sesame Street. And there's an important lesson for us as well in what makes the media angry: not paying much attention to them.


  1. Big Z and Milton Bradley are this year to Chicago media what Brett Favre has been for several years to national media. They'll pull a story out of these guys regardless of what they do, and regardless of how much we really want to hear about it. It's getting old...

  2. It's true. Everyone who has ever been in high school couldn't wait to be done with it because we dreamed of something better. Why the sports media insists on regressing back to that way of life is beyond me.

  3. In journalistic talent or in height? Never mind. Same answer either way, I'm sure.


Spill it.

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