8/13 Big Z
One week ago at Wrigley Field, Carlos Zambrano’s Big Z Foundation was being celebrated. Today, Zambrano may be headed home. The Cubs’ volatile right-hander served up five home runs to the Braves, was ejected for throwing at Chipper Jones, and then cleaned out his locker and left the ballpark.
If this is the end, it’s been a wild ride with Zambrano, whose outbursts have overshadowed his pitching too many times. There was the fight with Michael Barrett in the Wrigley Field dugout, the tantrum at U.S. Cellular Field with teammates last year, and the criticism he leveled at Carlos Marmol this year in St. Louis. He could dominate on the mound. He threw a no-hitter at Miller Park against the Astros in 2008, and pitching coaches felt he was a Cy Young waiting to happen. He has a huge heart — his foundation, which is in its beginning stages — has had an impact on an orphanage in Guatemala. But his emotions got the better of him.
I’m not in Atlanta with the Cubs, and wish I could’ve been there. A friend of Zambrano’s told me he suggested the pitcher sleep on his decision, and wait until morning. But no. Cubs GM Jim Hendry will honor Z’s wishes. We’ll find out more Saturday in Atlanta.
– Carrie Muskat