Many professional sports contracts preclude players from participating in non-sanctioned extracurricular athletic activities like pick-up basketball games or extreme baking. After learning that Carlos Zambrano recently played some softball, I am wondering whether Chicago Cubs player contracts have the same kind of language.

According to a Sports Illustrated reader, who provided the picture at right:

“Last night in my men’s league softball game, an unlikely player happened to be on the other team. It was Carlos Zambrano. I would think the Cubs would not be too happy about this! He played left field every other inning and made sure to use his opposite throwing arm so he wouldn’t screw anything up. He popped up twice and hit one out of the stadium another time. Super friendly guy. He even offered to sign autographs for everyone after the game. Dude looks in shape, at least 20-30 lbs lighter.”

At least Zambrano looks in shape.

Now, am I actually troubled by Zambrano playing a little offseason softball? Nah. From the account, it sounds like he was doing his best to protect his money-maker, and was in no greater risk of injury than he would be doing usual offseason conditioning.

In fact, it’s kind of cool. Can you imagine showing up to re-live your high school glory days against a bunch of dudes with beer guts and poorly-groomed goatees (note: and you, yourself, are one of those dudes), and across the diamond strolls Big Z? I would probably squeal (if I was lucky) and shit (if I wasn’t).

I also highly doubt the Cubs aren’t already aware of Z’s softball escapades or would have a problem with it if they weren’t. To me, it sounds like solid community involvement.

And as long as he isn’t pitching, the odds that he explodes and kills someone’s mom because she didn’t bring enough orange slices is greatly reduced.

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