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You Can Throw Fire, But You Can't Be a Hothead

So it looks like Joel Zumaya is feeling some remorse for his explosion of rage at Mark Wegner on Wednesday night. He says he acted like a "jerk" and promises he'll never act in such a manner again.

(As someone who was once kicked out of a softball game in college for complaining a bit too vigorously about an umpire's strike zone - he was right; our pitcher stunk that afternoon - I can almost relate. Oh, wait - that's not really the same thing at all, is it?)

Believe it or not, he wanted to ask the umpire to forgive him for acting so disrespectfully.

"My apologies go to the umpire," Zumaya said. "I actually wanted to talk to him and tell him, 'That's not me' and if he would forgive me for disrespecting him. It was very stupid. I was disappointed and embarrassed (for) yelling at the umpire for no reason."

After taking a dip in Lake You, Zumaya came to realize that maybe his head's gotten a little big (not in that Barry Bonds way) and he has some growing up to do before becoming Detroit's closer.

"I can tell you I'm not ready to be the closer," he said. "I have a lot to learn. When it comes, it comes, but I'm not in any hurry because I'm not ready yet."

It's a rather refreshing dose of humility from a kid who probably has every reason to think he's badder than bad right now. If you didn't already admire Zumaya for his awesome talent, he also seems like a genuinely decent guy who cares about his conduct. Of course, you also don't want him to lose the intensity and edge that makes him such a fearsome reliever. But he can't become unhinged by things beyond his control and let umpires get into his head like that, either. I imagine it's a rather fine line to walk for someone who's experienced so much success so early in his career.