Not that he needed to tell you, but Carlos Zambrano isn't exactly a paragon of physical fitness. Sunday, he told you anyway.
Cubs doctors believe Zambrano's back issues -- he's still fighting his way back from an injury to his lower back, and is scheduled to join the Cubs on Aug. 25 -- are directly related to his abs. How? Something to do with the stomach bone connecting to the back bone. We don't know; we failed Anatomy 101. The important part is that the doctors want Carlos Zambrano to start doing an ab workout routine he should have been doing long ago. Only, he hasn't. Why, Carlos?
"My problem is I've been lazy," Zambrano told the Chicago Tribune. "There are things in life you don't like to do, but you have to do them. I don't like abs [abdominal muscle workouts], but I have to do them. I have to start doing them every day and be serious about it."
"I've got to be honest with me and with you [media] guys and the fans. I'm 28 years old, I'm not 16 anymore," Zambrano said. "I'm a big guy and I work hard every day, [but] one of the things I don't like to do is my abs, my core work. If I do abs every day and keep doing my job and be serious about my abs, I'll be OK."
This is why we love Big Z: he's relatable. He's like us. Well, sort of like us. He can throw a 96 mph fastball on the corner of the plate for a called strike, and we can't. But in terms of human weakness, of doing the things that we know are good for us and avoiding the things we know are bad -- taking that three-mile run every day, subbing a salad for a cheeseburger, maybe not piledriving 10 cigarettes in the matter of two hours on a Saturday afternoon on your deck (ahem, not that we do this) -- Zambrano is just like we are. We hate ab workouts, too. We hate running.
And like Zambrano, when we do this stuff, we do it because the temporary pain will be replaced with a long-term strength. We grow up. We gain a perspective slightly wider than the space immediately in front of our noses.
This isn't the first time we could relate so closely to Zambrano -- his outbursts on the mound are not unlike what some of us do during rec league basketball games. But this is the first time we felt it so poignantly. Carlos Zambrano: professional athlete, imperfect human. Sort of just like us.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.