Last week, we got word that the Miami Marlins were close to an agreement that would have them featured featured in season two of Showtime’s The Franchise. In its first season, the reality television show followed the San Francisco Giants through the course of the season, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at a major league clubhouse. A rich history of antics by many of the Marlins’ players and coaches practically guarantees drama rivaling any hour of television that Bravo could produce. A recap of a few of these events can give viewers an idea of what to expect.
Just this month, the Marlins traded Chris Volstad to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano. The 30 year old last pitched on August 12, ending both his season and career as a Cub with a bang. It is almost a shame that an incident as irreplaceable happened last year, outside of Showtime’s spotlight.
Zambrano was pitching against the Atlanta Braves when he gave up back-to-back fifth inning home runs to Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla. He followed up with two hard inside pitches to Chipper Jones and was ejected from the game. Video of the affair, which almost turned into a benches clearing brawl, can be seen here. All in all, nothing too outrageous. Every pitcher gets tossed from a game every once in a while.
When the rest of the Cubs returned to the clubhouse after losing 10-4, though, Zambrano’s locker was empty. The team was notified by clubhouse staff and trainers that not only had he already left the park, but had informed staff that he had decided to retire from baseball for good. Players were shocked, and Manager Mike Quade seemed downright angry in his interviews with the press, saying “whatever your thoughts are after a tough outing, you don’t leave your teammates. The hell with me, you just don’t leave your teammates.” Third baseman Aramiz Ramirez seemed perplexed by the event, saying that he saw no reason for Zambrano to throw at Chipper in the first place.
Following the incident, Zambrano was placed on the disqualified list and suspended without pay for the rest of the season. Obviously the pitcher has since decided against retirement, and will be wearing a Miami Marlins uniform come Spring Training. No matter your thoughts about taking on a player as volatile as Zambrano, his final days as a Chicago Cub would have been Emmy worthy. Winning might be the Marlins’ only way of filling seats, but a dose of Carlos Zambrano should give Showtime a ratings boost.