Carlos Zambrano’s August ejection, short lived retirement, and subsequent suspension is hardly the only incident guaranteeing exciting reality television if the Miami Marlins end up featured on season two of Showtime’s “The Franchise.” In fact, another Big Z blow up from the previous season mixes Zambrano’s antics with another character about to spend his first season with the team.
On June 25, 2010, Zambrano started an inter-league game against the Chicago White Sox. After giving up four runs in the first inning on two doubles, a single, and a home run, he returned to the dugout with a vengeance. The video might be the only way of doing the scene justice.
Zambrano absolutely exploded, directing most of his ire at first baseman Derrek Lee, who, in the eyes of Zambrano, had failed to prevent Juan Pierre’s leadoff double. It looked for a moment like punches might be thrown. The fiery pitcher was sent home after the game by manager Lou Piniella, and suspended indefinitely.
A few days went by before Zambrano had any contact with either Piniella, GM Jim Hendry, or anyone with the Cubs. Later that very night, though, the Cub’s $91.5 million starting pitcher actually went out to dinner with…wait for it… new Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen. Guillen was working at the time as the Manager of the Chicago White Sox, the very team that Zambrano had started against earlier in the day. That’s right. Before communicating with anyone on his own team immediately following a dugout explosion, Zambrano sat down for dinner with the opposing team’s manager and his whole family.
Now, it is widely known that Zambrano and Guillen maintain a close personal friendship. Guillen is said to have been the driving force behind the Marlins’ trade for the big righty. That kind of behavior, though, is an absolute embarrassment to the team paying him millions of dollars for the privilege of putting up with his actions. While Zambrano was out wining and dining with the opposing manager, Piniella was actually too embarrassed to go out with his own wife and daughter.
That kind of behavior is pretty shameful for a 30 year old man being paid over $90 million dollars to play baseball. But reality television knows no distinction between when adults ought to stop acting like children.