Zambrano's tantrum S.O.P. for Cubs


Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely after a dugout tirade Friday, according to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry.

Zambrano had to be separated from teammate Derrek Lee in the visitor's dugout after surrendering four runs to the Chicago White Sox in the bottom of the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field.

It was unclear what upset Zambrano, but his frustration was directed at Lee. The two were face to face before manager Lou Piniella and others intervened. Zambrano also walked up and down the dugout shouting and knocked over a Gatorade cooler before Piniella told him to go home.

"His conduct wasn't acceptable," Hendry said. "His actions toward his teammates and staff were not acceptable.

"He will not be at the ballpark tomorrow. We'll play with 24. We'll play with 24 before we tolerate that kind of behavior."


Piniella said it's the first time he had to send a player home before a game ended since sending Milton Bradley home from a game last season. That game also happened to be against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

"Boy, every time we come here," Piniella joked.

It's the first time since last season? No kidding?

It's good that Piniella can joke about it. It's good that Piniella can joke about the second time in two years that a high-visibility, well-paid player had to be sent home in the middle of a season. It's good that Piniella can joke about something that almost never happens in other organizations (let alone solid organizations). It's good that Piniella can joke about Zambrano's second dugout fight in three years (granted, the first had better video.)

I don't know. Seems to me that while Zambrano's obviously got some anger issues, the Cubs also have some management issues. Their general manager keeps committing gobs of money to players who can't control their tempers, and their manager just throws up his hands and makes jokes.

None of it matters much this season. But I'll bet next spring we see an "Under New Management" sign.