Saturday, August 13, 2011

Carlos Zambrano walks out on his team

There are few things more unprofessional for a professional athlete to do than to quit on his teammates during the season.

But on Friday night it appeared the Chicago Cubs' Carlos Zambrano did just that. As the Chicago Tribune notes, Zambrano had an awful performance on the field, serving up five home runs in a loss to Atlanta, and than an even worse one after he made his way to the clubhouse.
[Cubs' manager Mike] Quade said he never spoke to Zambrano, and just saw the empty locker.

"I figured he has just decided he has had enough," he said. "I have too much respect for the rest of the guys in this room to worry. It's on him now, and whatever he wants to do, whatever he's going to do, I guess he has made up his mind because he didn't stick around and tell anybody about it."

Zambrano's teammates were surprised initially, but then again some weren't that surprised at all. Zambrano has a history of doing strange things, and this could be just another chapter in his controversial career.

"I've never seen that before, someone just get (ticked) off and leave and retire," Aramis Ramirez said. "I've been around for awhile. Even with him, players don't do that. He has been playing for awhile. He knows anyone can have a bad game, a bad week, a bad month. It happens to everybody."
There is no way to defend Zambrano, and his teammates are in a no-win position. A moment of frustration is one thing, but to take that to the level he did is indefensible. He would do himself a favor and not change his mind. And the Cubs would be wise not to take him back if he wanted to return.

Zambrano's amateur-hour act occurred on the same night the Braves retired the uniform number of one of the game's gentlemen and great managers -- Bobby Cox. It's a shame that Mr. Cox's night was marred by a ridiculous act of selfishness.

One important issue (as it always is with professional sports) is money. If Zambrano does indeed retire, the Cubs would not be responsible for another cent on his contract. However, if he were to return and then were to be cut by the club, well, guess what? He might get some or all of those dollars.

So, why would I not be surprised if Zambrano asks to come back?

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