Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nice to Meet You #17 - Carlos Zambrano

Of course Carlos Zambrano got tossed from yesterday’s game. Of course he did.

I found myself watching baseball highlights early last evening, and when one watches the baseball highlights in the early evening, one only gets highlights for the day games. And no one plays more day games than the Chicago Cubs. Which is how I saw Big Z doing his temper tantrummy thing in front of the home crowd. That’s always good for some hoots and hollers, but what really made my day was seeing Zambrano actually toss the umpire out of the game. Obviously he can’t do that, but that’s what he did. Made the motion with his arm and everything. It was hilarious. What a nutcase.

My chance encounter with Zambrano after a Bulls game failed to end positively, and I’m not saying that just because I loathe and abhor the Cubs the way teenagers loathe and abhor chores and curfews and stuff. It ended negatively because, well… because Z just wasn’t really all that cool a guy.

Like many professional athletes, Zambrano has a posse, and they rolled down the United Center corridor like the crew from “Reservoir Dogs” you could almost imagine them in slow motion, smoky dry ice trailing behind their tattooed, leather-clad bodies. Sunglasses indoors. That kind of thing.

He and his boys were hoping to say hey to some of the guys on the basketball team, but they were still in the locker room, so they lingered. I, too, was lingering, so it felt like an appropriate time to introduce myself. NBA guys I’ve met in droves, but it’s not often I meet ace pitchers, even for teams that I hate.

So I said, “Hi Carlos. Nice to meet you. Did you guys enjoy the game?” Can you believe I had the audacity, the unmitigated gall, to say such a thing? Neither could Zambrano, who looked at me like a homeless person asking for a $20 bill and huffed a haughty laugh to himself while sharing glances with his equally aloof buddies. All that was missing was him throwing a thumb in my direction and chuckling a “Who does this guy think he is?” It was needlessly rude.

So it came as no surprise to me to see him tossed from a game today and then throw a tizzy fit the likes which I haven’t seen since I was six years old and my mother wouldn’t just buy the damn coloring book for me at the Walgreen’s. To be truthful, I needed no more reasons to dislike the Cubs, but Carlos Zambrano is the meniscus to my tall glass of Cubs Hate. If they somehow find a way to trade for the cast of “The View,” my cup shall overfloweth.

I can’t write about this anymore. I’m getting myself all worked up. Go Sox.

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