Many Cubs fans had been waiting a long, long time for this day—and no, I’m not referring to the Cubs first win of the 2012 season.
Rather, Carlos Zambrano finally made his first major league start wearing a uniform other than Cubbie Blue.
Big Z lasted six innings allowing 4 ER on 4 hits, walking 2 and striking out 6 against the Reds at Great American Ballpark on Sunday.
Tension rose as the Reds plated three runs in the first, but Zambrano stymied any potential meltdown to kept himself and the Fish in the game.
Following Zambrano’s departure, the Marlins tallied three-runs in the seventh knotting the score 4-all, leaving the 30-year-old right-hander with a no-decision.
Cincinnati, however, eventually rallied for a 6-5 win scoring two runs off Miami closer Heath Bell in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Zambrano’s start also marked his first in the majors since August 12, 2011 following his ejection during a game against the Braves in which he stormed out of the visitor’s clubhouse before the final out and declared his early retirement from baseball to Cubs officials.
Theo Epstein, presumably with the encouragement of Tom Ricketts, later finalized a trade of Zambrano & cash to Miami in return for RHP Chris Volstad on January 4, thus ending El Toro’s 11-year tenure with Chicago.
Volstad, coincidentally, makes his first start for Chicago against Milwaukee Monday night at Wrigley Field.
As I’ve said for many years, Carlos Zambrano’s circus-act grew tiresome and draining in Chicago, and long before that fateful August night in Atlanta.
But you can’t pin all the blame on Zambrano for it was the Cubs who continuously enabled his childish antics and fits of rage long after it was tolerable from his managers, teammates and fans.
Sadly, the once promise of a would-be ace steadily declined into a pitcher no longer welcomed or worthy of wearing Cubbie Blue.
Sunday truly was a long time coming–for both Zambrano and the Cubs.