Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano -- trying to earn his 100th career victory -- instead added another chapter to the crazy side of his career in the seventh inning today against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Arguing a close call at the plate on the tying run, Zambrano was ejected after making contact with plate umpire Mark Carlson. After Carlson gave Zambrano the heave-ho, the veteran pitcher pointed his finger in the ump's face and did an animated routine of his own, ejecting Carlson.
Manager Lou Piniella pulled Zambrano away, but Big Z wasn't done. On his way off the field, he chucked the game ball into left-center field -- taking one hop to the warning track -- then heaved his glove against the fence in front of the Cubs dugout. The glove rebounded and was immediately kicked by pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
And Zambrano still wasn't done.
On his way down the tunnel to the clubhouse, Zambrano grabbed a bat and started whacking the recently repaired Gatorade dispenser in the dugout. He nearly struck his own pitching coach in the process, as Rothschild tried to intervene.
Maybe Zambrano knew his outing was coming to an end. His last pitch was his 114th of the game.
Here's what set him off. With the Cubs leading by a run and Nyjer Morgan at third base, Zambrano threw a wild pitch that bounced toward the Cubs' dugout. Zambrano rushed to cover the plate and catcher Geovany Soto's throw arrived at the same time as Morgan, who was sliding head-first.
Carlson called Morgan safe and Zambrano immediately got in the umpire's face. Replays showed Morgan was indeed safe.
Aside from an automatic fine, Zambrano almost certainly will be suspended by the league for his actions.