Carlos Zambrano is the only Cub not allowed to have a meltdown

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The Chicago Tribune’s Dan McNeil is no fan of Carlos Zambrano. After railing against his contract and going on about how he’s no Ted Lilly, McNeil predicts a Big-Z meltdown:

Put me down for the first week in May for not-so-Big Z’s first
implosion. Not sure if it will be getting tossed for undressing an
umpire or pulling up lame trying to stretch a double, but an eruption
is a certainty. Until the man-child proves he’s as right between the
ears as he is in the hips, I’m betting against the Cubs getting this
cat’s potential actualized.

I think the richest thing about this is how he uses Ted Lilly of all people to demonstrate just how awful Carlos Zambrano is, because Lilly is no stranger to drama himself.

No wait, that’s not the richest thing. The richest thing is that just last summer McNeil wrote that the Cubs’ biggest problem was that Lou Piniella was acting all calm and professional instead of being a combative jackass:

Unearthing bases. Kicking dirt. Spitting. Scratching.
Fighting one of his own players, as he did in Cincinnati with the
behemoth-sized Rob Dibble.

None of those outlandish behaviors will solve the Cubs’ most urgent
problems, but when a historically fiery manager ceases to breathe fire,
then you have a brand new problem to tack onto the list: resignation.

To sum up: you can get away with acting like a jerk if you’re Ted Lilly. You can not only get away with being a jerk but you damn well better be a jerk if you’re Lou Piniella. But Lord help you do those things and your name is Carlos Zambrano.

53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro homers in independent league ball

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It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.

If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.

Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.

Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.