After his disastrous outing in Atlanta on Opening Day-—the Cubs’ worst season-starting loss in 126 years, since Chester A. Arthur was U. S. President and Sitting Bull was still leading the Lakota Sioux—-Carlos Zambrano faced the press and maintained his cool. But the next day, the Cubs starter received a true shock: a membership solicitation from the American Association of Retired Persons.

The last pitcher remaining on the Cubs roster from their almost-historic post-season run of 2003, Zambrano is indeed an Old-Timer. But the mixup came when his 54.00 ERA was apparently confused for his age, and the computer-generated letter was sent post-haste.

Rumors that Zambrano responded by soiling his Depends and smashing his Geritol cooler have not been substantiated. But when he saw the many discounts available to AARP members, Zambrano reportedly signed his ERA up, with himself listed as “spouse.” AARP has not specified if this membership will be rescinded if his ERA dips below 50.00, the lower age limit for AARP membership.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella, a long-time proponent of the Early Bird Special at Olive Garden and other AARP perks, just shook his head and muttered something about a “Cubbie Occurrence.”

By Bill Savage