Now and Zen, it just clicks

This whole Zoltan thing with the Pirates got me thinking. It’s great that the last letter in the alphabet is finally getting some love. Until now, it was best known for putting people to sleep. When you were tired, you had to get your Zs. Check out your old Dennis The Menace comics. That’s the sound good-old Mr. Wilson made when he nodded off on the couch.

The Bucs’ “Z” can have a long life, even after they tire of the connection with “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Even now, you can derive your own meaning from it. Make the “Z” sign and you could be referring to …

  • ZZ Top
  • “Z,” the one-letter title of a 1969 thriller by famed director Costas-Gravas.
  • Your pet zebra.
  • Richie Zisk, the Pirates’ 1978 All-Star.
  • Zappos, your favorite on-line shoe-shopping site.

If the Pirates have a good game tonight, things could get extremely confusing for the Giants’ pitcher. Barry Zito will be wondering whether they’re trying to tell him something.


Hey Tom: For those fans not in the PGH area (and thus unable to get a grasp of the meaning) can you explain the “Zoltan” reference and the Z hand signals the players seem to be making on and off the field? Thanks very much.

During the series in Washington, As Barajas rounded third, he found the rest of the team standing with interlocked fingers forming the letter ‘Z,’ a trend that Neil Walker helped start in Atlanta. The sign references Zoltan, a character from the movie “Dude, Where’s My Car?” that they watched in the hotel one night between games, and a sign now given after a hit.

“We just started doing it, we’ve been raking ever since,” said starter A.J. Burnett, who got Barajas with a shaving-cream pie in the face after his winning homer. “That was my favorite part of the night, seeing 20 guys behind home plate doing that. It shows you what a group we have.”

In the scene of the movie the line is :

“We are finally going to fulfill our prophecy of Outer-Space Travel. They laughed at us when we said aliens existed. And they mocked us when e started wearing bubble wrap jump suits. But who’s laughing now, Huh? I’ll tell you who’s laughing now. We are!”.

And the characters in the scene flash the sign of Zoltan.

Kind of mirrors the Bucco’s season in a way….. No?
I’m not laughing that’s for sure!

Thanks, Russ! I haven’t seen the movie but if the significance works for the team, then let it be Z! Same in ’79 I suppose with We Are Family. I hated that song but if the team gelled around it, then who was I to complain?! Very best to you and the Bucs from New England, or Red Sox Nation, where I think I might be the lone Pirate fan!

Tom, thanks clearing up this Zoltan signal. I was wondering why they were doing it. I like it. This franchise has needed some cohesion. But, you forgot two more important Zs: Frank Zappa and World War Z.

I also forgot an even better one: One of the original “pay-TV” channels, very popular in Southern California in the late ’70s” The Z Channel.

I’m an upstate NYer. I don’t know that channel. How about Planet Z by the B-52s?

Hey Tom I also remember in the movie ‘Big’ Tom Hanks’ character put the coin in the Zoltar machine which granted his wish to be big and again to revert back to being a kid again. Almost makes me want to drive from Delaware to Coney Island right now. Also wanted to let you know I really enjoy your coverage of the Pirates. My love for them started as an 8yr.old little-leaguer and is still going strong 43 years later. Take care.

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