Wed May 27 05:47pm EDT
Maybe it wasn't quite George Brett quality, but it was very special and up there with the rest of the all-time greats — Hal McRae's telephone throw, Lloyd McClendon's stolen base toss and anything from Lou Piniella's vast Hall of Fame arguing resume.
Here's VIDEO, and here's a play-by-play of what happened, with updates throughout:
• With the Cubs leading the Pirates 2-1 in the seventh, Zambrano threw a wild pitch that got past catcher Geovany Soto(notes) and caused Pittsburgh's Nyjer Morgan(notes) to break for home. Zambrano covered the plate, but Morgan snuck his left hand in to tie the score and umpire Mark Carlson called him safe. It was a great call, actually, but Zambrano disagreed and went berserk.
Reporters are speculating that Zambrano could be suspended as many as 10 games for his wild 'n' crazy actions.
• After some screaming and demonstrative hand gestures from Zambrano, Carlson turned his body into Zambrano, who then used his shoulder to give a little shove back and almost guarantee a suspension from the league office. With Piniella running from the dugout as fast as he could, Carlson threw Z out of the game.
And that's when the real fun started.
• Zambrano, ball still in hand, pointed a finger at the umpire and said what looked like "YOU have to be thrown out! YOU!" and then mocked the ump with a "You're outta here!" mime. This put a smile on the face of Piniella, who knows a thing or two about the art of getting thrown out of a ballgame.
"I'm the only calm, cool, collected one around here it seems," Piniella said. "Just kidding."
Here's a screen shot of Z giving Carlson the heave-ho:
• Zambrano kept arguing, even after Piniella and coach Larry Rothschild separated him from Carlson. Z was about 15 feet from home plate when he heaved the ball toward the left-field bleachers, only making it to the warning track.
That's OK; Zambrando continued venting in other ways.
• Zambrano whipped his glove at the dugout fence, barking at Carlson the whole way. Then he picked up a bat and took several whacks — I counted five — at the poor Gatorade machine which Ryan Dempster(notes) tried to destroy the other day. Finally, Rothschild (left) escorted him into the clubhouse, where presumably more damage was done. Somewhere Michael Barrett's(notes) face started to hurt without him knowing why.
Piniella said he would speak with Zambrano about his temper. Hen house, meet fox.
"He’s got to tone it down a little," Piniella said. "He cares, but gosh you can argue a little bit, get your point across to the umpire that he thought the runner was out and just get back and go out and pitch."
• Zambrano apologized for his actions and to the umpired afterward, saying he overreacted:
"I overexaggerated after that play to throw the ball and to do the other things, you know," Zambrano said. "Hopefully MLB will review the play and we'll see what happens.
"I apologize to him. Like I say, after he kicked me out, I should have gone to the clubhouse and kept watching the game. I apologize throw[ing] the ball and do[ing] other things.
"I should have control of myself in that situation."
The Cubs have been especially edgy lately, with an eight-game losing streak in their recent past and all sorts of other frustrations in the history of the ballclub. Until now, these Cubs merely had taken out their frustrations on either the umpire or the Gatorade machine. This is the first time both have been targeted in the same tantrum.
Don't worry, though. The G dispenser still worked, as trainer Ed Halbur proved afterward.
"They should be paying us for all the publicity we've given them," Dempster said. "Everyone will want one now."