The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


June 30, 2013

A Don McCormack column: A Blair for the dramatic!

Former Falcon Zak Blair off to blazing start in Arizona

Zak Blair’s personality has pretty much always been geared toward baseball and the tools of his trade match that perfectly.

As in, walk softly and carry a big stick.

Three weeks into his professional baseball career, the former Jefferson star is doing exactly that.

Playing for the Arizona League Cubs, the Mercyhurst University graduate is swinging a red-hot bat, to the tune of a robust .444 clip.

So much so, in fact, he is leading the entire 13-team league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage), hits and RBI.

In other words, the first-year Cub is proving to be a bear for AZL hurlers.

“It’s gone really, really well,” the 20th-round draft pick of the Cubs said in a telephone interview at 2 a.m. Sunday (11 p.m. Arizona time) after just leaving the ballpark following an 8-6 Cubs win against the AZL Athletics in Mesa.

Blair led the hit parade for the Cubs in the victory, going 3-for-4, with two doubles, three runs batted in, two runs scored and a walk.

“It was a good day,” the son of David and Carol Blair said.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound left-handed swinging infielder laughed when made that obvious understatement.

Blair’s humble reaction when quizzed about how things have been going is a byproduct of a game in which how a player deals with failure is more important than how he handles success.

“I would never call baseball a job, because it’s my dream, but I can see what guys do drop out of the game,” he said. “Because it really is such a game of failure... and how you deal with it.”

The routine

Blair took me through a typical day for him in his new life.

“Well, first, I’m living in a Best Western,” he said with a laugh. “It’s not a hotel, it’s a motel. I live with a guy from Seton Hall.

“I wake up before 10 and get some breakfast, then go back to the room and watch some TV and relax. I’m at the ballpark by 1:45 to get in some extra work and break a little sweat.

“After that, I go back to the locker room and grab a bit to eat, with lots of fruit and water. At 3, we go out for what they call ‘early work,’ on a half-field, which is only an infield, and we take ground balls, work on double plays and situations.

“Basically, we have a two-hour practice before we play each game. After the early work, we take a break and go play the game.

“It’s pretty regimented.”

Text Only
  • Sam Going strong!

    Back on track... and still alive and kicking, er, hitting!

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 18U Outlaws split first two

    A stirring rally in their last at-bat allowed the Ohio Outlaws 18-and-under squad to prevail in its first game at the Eastern National Tournament on Thursday in Sterling, Va.

    August 1, 2014

  • UMC rolls to church title

    The Andover United Methodist Church co-ed softball team capped a successful season by applying the basics. Timely hitting and solid defense both came into play as they polished off the losers’ bracket winner, New Life Fire of Geneva, 10-4, to claim the Ashtabula Church Co-ed Softball League — Thursday Massucci Division championship.

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians Mariners sink Tribe

    Another difficult day on the trade front ended with a disappointing loss for the Cleveland Indians.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Taylor Outlaws edged by a run

    The slimmest of margins proved to be the difference in determining the outcome of a clash between the Ohio Outlaws Gold and the Virginia Shamrocks in the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals on Wednesday in Salem, Va.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Olivia-smile A Don McCormack column: Holt right at home at Mount

    When a young person from this area goes off to college and continues to play sports at the next level, we do feature stories on them.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Twin State Night at Raceway 7 next

    This week is the annual Twin State Club night at Raceway 7. Regular racing will be presented in all five divisions. With the points races nearing their conclusion the racing will be hot as August weather Friday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tribe Kluber twirls gem

    “The ace is gone. Long live the ace.” That’s how Indians fans might be looking at matters today.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SB1 Let’s play another

    It pays to have the right hitters at the plate at the right time.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Outlaws roll again

    They may be Outlaws by name, but the Northeast Ohio-based Ohio Outlaws Gold are certainly running with the in crowd at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va.

    July 30, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video