I was watching SportsCenter tonight and saw pitcher Carlos Zambrano completely lose it during a Cubs game. After the umpire threw him out of the game for arguing a call at the plate, Zambrano jerked back his thumb mimicking him, and seemed to shout "you're out!.” Zambrano then threw the ball into the stands. What happened next was even more bizarre. Zambrano grabbed a nearby bat and ran up to the Pirates' batboy, challenging him to a duel (in his enraged state he had assumed the skinny teenager was indeed a pirate). When the batboy shrugged his shoulders, Zambrano muttered something about the boy having scurvy and leapt on to the top of the dugout.
Zambrano let out a guttural scream and ripped off the shirt of his uniform (revealing a gold lightening bolt tattoo down the middle of his chest). He then ran up the stairs and climbed up into the announcer’s booth. Zambrano grabbed the microphone in the now empty booth and gazed out at the packed stadium. Carlos Zambrano then raised his fist in the air and proceeded to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, bastardizing not only the song (as has been become the custom at Wrigley Field) but the English language as well.
Suddenly, as Zambrano began to shout at the fans to root, root, root for the Cubbies, Cubs manager Lou Piniella appeared next to him in the booth. Piniella put his arm on Zambrano’s shoulder. Zambrano looked into Piniella’s eyes and Piniella said “It’s all right Carlos. It’s ok. The umpire knows you didn’t mean anything by it.” Zambrano looked into Piniella’s eyes and dropped the microphone. His massive shoulders slumped and his expression turned into that of a boy who knew he had let down his father. His eyes began to fill up with tears and Piniella (affectionately known as Sweet Lou) hugged him tight and said “Let’s go home Carlos.”
The cameraman went back and forth from capturing the two hugging in the announcer’s booth to showing people in the stands feeling the emotion. Within a few seconds the crowd erupted in cheers and began chanting “Carlos, Carlos, Carlos”. But Zambrano and Piniella had already left the announcer’s booth and could be seen by another cameraman walking slowly down a ramp together, heading out of Wrigley Field (I could swear I thought I saw Piniella handing Zambrano a Lifesaver.) The SportsCenter host then said to stay tuned for a report on an incident involving Terrell Owens and a waiter at a Chili’s in Buffalo.