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Zambrano apologizes after criticizing Cubs fans for booing him

9/4/2007 - MLB Carlos Zambrano Chicago Cubs + more

CHICAGO -- Carlos Zambrano apologized to Chicago Cubs fans
Tuesday, one day after he criticized them for booing him following
another poor performance.

The Cubs' ace, who recently signed a $91.5 million contract and
is winless since July 29, said his apology came from his heart. He
said he was sorry during a news briefing after he'd met earlier
with team president John McDonough and general manager Jim Hendry.

"I'm a grown man. I know when I make a mistake. I know what I'm
doing. I know when I have to come to whoever I offended. I don't
think somebody has to tell me what to do," Zambrano said.

"I'm sure he went to bed last night feeling bad and I'm sure he
woke up this morning feeling worse," Hendry said.

"Nobody made him say anything or told him he had to do
something. He knew he made a mistake and I think he's very
disappointed in himself. He puts a lot on himself to try to help us
win."

Zambrano was rocked for eight runs, seven hits and walked five
in 4 1/3 innings. And he also ran through third base coach Mike
Quade's stop sign and was tagged out easily during an 11-3 rout
Monday.

Zambrano has a 9.56 ERA in three starts since Aug. 17, when the
Cubs gave him a $91.5 million, five-year contract extension through
2012, and he is 0-5 with an 8.29 ERA in six starts since beating
Cincinnati on July 29.

As he left the game Monday and walked to the dugout in the fifth
inning, Zambrano pointed to his head to tell the fans he heard
them.

"I will remember that," Zambrano said of the fan reaction. "I
don't want to stink and [have] bad outings. I know the great moment
of my career will come."

"I don't understand why the fans were booing at me. I can't
understand that," Zambrano said. "I thought these were the
greatest fans in baseball. They showed me today they just care
about them. That's no fair. Because when you are struggling, that's
when you want to feel the support of the fans."

But Zambrano had a different view on Tuesday.

"I love the Cubs fans. I still think they are still the
greatest fans of baseball," he said. "They have the right to boo
people, do whatever they have to do because they have been waiting
for 99 years. Sometimes we don't do a good job and they get
frustrated, too. I apologize to them."

Zambrano has promised to stop wasting some of his emotional
energy. He drew a stare from Milwaukee star Prince Fielder recently
when he went into a fist-pumping celebratory display after a
first-inning strikeout.

Earlier this season he got into a dugout altercation with
catcher Michael Barrett that carried over into the clubhouse, where
Barrett got a black eye and needed stitches in his lip.

Zambrano's also broken a bat over his knee in anger and slammed
his helmet down so hard after being thrown out at first that it
bounced all the way into right field.

Now, he's joined a fraternity -- Cubs players who've been booed
at Wrigley Field.

"I think I reacted to something that people did to me. That's
just reaction," he said.

"It's not that I have to be in control of my emotions. I know
what I can control and know what I can't. I reacted to something
I've never seen before. It was overwhelming."

Manager Lou Piniella, who's been know to have an emotional
outburst or two during his long career as a player and manager,
said he and pitching coach Larry Rothschild would meet with the
big right-hander and try to get him pitching like he was in June
and July, when he won 9 of 11.

"He's a good kid, he really is. A good young man, he doesn't
mean any harm," Piniella aid.

"He and I probably have a lot of in common because I've stuck
my foot in my mouth a lot of times, too. As I've gotten older, I've
gotten a little wiser. And you make mistakes in life and when you
make mistakes, you're a man and you apologize like he did. And
that's it."