Cubs place Carlos Zambrano on disqualified list

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Carlos Zambrano retiring? If only it was that easy.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs have placed Zambrano on the disqualified list. This includes 30 days without pay and no contact with the team.

While Zambrano cleaned out his locker and reportedly told some of his teammates that he was thinking about retirement following last night’s ejection, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that his agent Barry Praver told Cubs GM Jim Hendry that he is “not in the retirement mode.”

Right on cue, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears from a source that the players’ union plans to file a grievance against the Cubs for their decision to place Big Z on the disqualified list without pay.

If the Cubs are lucky, this will end with some sort of settlement where both sides will sit down and Zambrano will get a sizable chunk of the approximately $24 million left on his contract and be sent on his merry way. Not holding my breath on that, though.

UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Cubs were told within two hours after Friday’s game that Zambrano “definitely” wasn’t retiring. He also made “private, emotional remarks” to the club staff and returned his belongings to his locker.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.