The fire inside Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano has always made him a showman on the field, causing him to break bats over his leg and throw trademark temper tantrums on the mound. But the right-hander plans to intentionally entertain fans with his behavior this season, promising “thrills and spills” much like the one he exhibited in a spring training game Monday against the San Francisco Giants when he tripped after rounding second base.
“This is the final year of my contract with the Cubs and I want to make it a memorable one,” Zambrano said. “The reaction of the crowd when I stumbled to the dirt after running around second was nothing short of exhilarating. I want people on the edge of their seat and not knowing what I’m going to do next.”
In addition to the on-the-field antics the Cubs ace plans for this season, Zambrano has reportedly taken up fire eating, juggling, and mental telepathy in order to be an “all-around entertainer.”
Although Zambrano’s hustle and showmanship is appreciated by new manager Lou Piniella, fellow teammates expressed unease with the idea, particularly Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
“I don’t get it,” Ramirez said of Zambrano’s actions. “I was watching Carlos sprinting around the bases the other day like some kind of Olympic champion and thinking ‘Why is he running so hard?’ Nothing short of a contract year would make me hustle like that.”