Recently retired Carlos Zambrano wasted no time making the transition to retiree by purchasing a town home at the Palm Vista Active Adult Community in Coconut Grove, Florida. The 30-year-old former hurler has settled in the retirement village and, just like his playing days, is generating buzz everywhere from the horseshoe pit to the room where everyone waits for the mail.
“Oh, yeah, the Z. Don’t get me started,” said Ethel Weintraub, who is the president of the card and board game committee. “He lost a game of pinochle to Helen and I and he took a bat and demolished the coffee machine. It was crazy”
Indeed, while Zambrano no longer wears a big league uniform, it’s stories like that one and more that show he’s lost none of the fire.
Howard Kellerman recalled a recent game of bocce ball with Carlos
“Real cocky, you know?” Kellerman said. “After every turn with the pointing to the sky. And Old Man Chester looks up every time, like he’s looking for an airplane, because he’s kind of losing his marbles, though he won’t admit it. And the brawl at bingo that Carlos started too! There hasn’t been this much uproar at Palm Vista since the coffee shop switched dessert from tapioca to Jell-o.”
The mood grew incredibly tense when 93-year-old Zeke Williamson went deep against Carlos in a game of Wii baseball. Zambrano swore to himself in Spanish and brushed Williamson off in his next plate appearance.
“He sure seemed sore after I crushed that home run,” said Williamson. “But that’s what he gets for hanging another curve ball up in the zone.”
Zambrano, however, says he’s finally found a home. Morning mall walking and early bird dinners are all part of the routine for him now. And the future may even bring a reunion.
“I’m hoping to meet up with Lou Piniella at jai alai,” said Zambrano, “but it has to be during the day because he still can’t drive at night, I think.”
Written by Nick Kotwica. Image by Kurt Evans.