This is not terribly unexpected, but Jon Paul Morosi reports that the union expected to file a grievance on behalf of Carlos Zambrano by the end of the day today in response to the Cubs placing him on the restricted list.
We all have our opinion about Zambrano — and I bet that most of us think that he’s out of line and wouldn’t put up with his crap for ten minutes if we didn’t have to — but before you jump on the union here, understand that it is their job to be an advocate for the player, not a judge. Just as a guy who mows down a street fair in a Buick while hepped up on goofballs is entitled to a defense, so too is a player when he runs afoul of his team, no matter what we think of him.
And, setting aside Zambrano’s history and his obvious flair for the dramatic, it’s not crazy to think that a month-long suspension — which amounts to a multi-million dollar fine in his case — is excessive punishment for what amounts to a two-hour temper tantrum at the outside.
My guess is that it’s all negotiated down to some sort of shorter suspension and, like has happened so many times in the past, Zambrano is back with the team soon, talking about how he’s readjusting his attitude and all of that.
On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.
The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.
Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:
While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.
Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.
It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.
With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.
Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.