The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 30, 2013

A Don McCormack column: A Blair for the dramatic!

Former Falcon Zak Blair off to blazing start in Arizona

(Continued)

Feelin’ the heat

Blair has seen — and felt — the extreme heat wave that is gripping the Southwest.

“It really is unbelievable,” he said. “During the day, it’s 120 degrees. Right now, I just got off the field and it’s 11 p.m. and it’s 100 degrees.”

Blair admits the heat has been a shock to his system.

“I’ve eaten so many bananas, you wouldn’t believe it!” he said with a laugh. “And I’ve already been through several cases of water.

“It’s a situation that during games, every time you come off the field, you have to take several drinks of water. It’s not easy to stay hydrated. In fact, it’s very difficult.”

So difficult, in fact, it’s almost suffocating.

“Absolutely,” Blair said. “It’s kind of difficult to breathe, at times.

“I kind of feels like a sauna.”

Staying in touch

Being 3,000 miles away doesn’t mean Blair has lost touch with his family, who has been following him around from ballfield to ballfield for the great majority of his 23 years.

“Hey, I’m an only child, so I’m used to a lot of attention from my family,” he said through another laugh. “I’m very close with my family and I’ve been in touch with them quite a bit and that helps so much.

“In fact, I just got off the phone with my dad right before we began this conversation. I call him to let him know how I did, then I realize it’s 11 here, but it’s 2 a.m. back in Ohio.

“He answers the phone and he’s obviously very tired, but he always wants to know how things are going. I could talk baseball with him all night.”

Staying the course

Even though the level he’s playing has been upgraded, and while the heat is on — literally, Blair hasn’t changed his approach to the game... or life.

“I’m just trying to keep working hard, keep my nose to the grindstone and see where it takes me,” he said.

And that has yet to be decided. In the meantime, Blair is content playing second base for the AZL Cubs, managed by Bobby Mitchell, a former major-league outfielder with the Yankees (1970) and the Brewers (1971 through 1975).

“I haven’t heard anything about moving on,” he said. “The way I figure it, if I keep busting my tail, working as hard as I can and hitting the ball, they’ll find a place for me.

“And that’s all I can ask.”

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