JZ: Puzzling. I learned a new pitch in Spring Training, and I thought that would make me an elite closer.
JG: What was this new pitch?
JZ: It is called a slow ball. Basically I just lob it over the plate, and the batter gets so confused, he either swings and misses, or just watches go by for a strike. One of our rookies, Jason Johnson taught it to me. He said everybody is doing it in Colorado, which is where he came from. I wonder what happened to Jason this year? I don't recall blowing any of his leads…. That would make him an anomaly.
JG: Why do you think it didn't work for you?
JZ: Well, basically I had trouble locating it. I couldn't get it over for a strike. That was why I walked so many guys this year. And the umps were squeezing me for some reason. Maybe it was me calling them "blind bats" in that one pre-season game, but I can't be certain. A couple of them may have left the ballpark too. I don't recall any specifically though, as I was on heavy medication all year.
JG: Until Game 7, you had some post-season success. What do you contribute that to?
JZ: That's funny that you should say that. I had abandoned that slow ball until Game 7, as it was hurting my arm so much. But I knew how much that game meant to my team, so I summoned up all of my courage, and threw it a few times. I mostly kept them in the park though that game.
JG: Your manager/owner, Chris Klein, has been ripping on you in the media all season long, and you have been silent. Now that you are a free agent, do you have anything to say back to him?
JZ: I didn't really understand what was going on. He kept saying how bad I was, then kept putting me in save situations. I would much rather play for a guy like Jerry Manuel, who will take you out of the closer role after you blow a few saves, regardless of how established a closer you are. But for Mr. Klein to call me a piece of **** may have been uncalled for.
JG: What do you think of Jose Cruz, and his heroics?
JZ: You know, I had never even heard of that guy until after that game. I am pretty sure I never even faced him before Game 7. He is actually getting much more credit than he deserves. He is not so smart. I mean, sure he hits a homer off my to tie the game. Who didn't? But then a couple of innings later, I came back with the same pitch (slow ball), and threw it right past. Shouldn't he have been looking for that pitch on an 0-2 count? Everybody knows I am going to throw it.
JG: So what happens now? Where do you see yourself next year? Certainly not back with the same owner, I assume.
JZ: Hell no. I would never play for that guy again. Well, unless he pays me minimum wage or better. Unbelievably I haven't gotten too many offers so far, so I am guessing the market is flooded with quality relievers unlike myself. I will just wait and see. I may even hold out.
JG: Hold out? Who are you holding out from, as a free agent?
JZ: Well, I also have this drug thing hanging over my head. I don't know if I am supposed to talk about this, so I will anyways. Apparently the Summer League has such huge standards, that it may have been against league policy for me to be taking medication that I bought on a street corner in a ziplock bag. Such standards! And the league is looking into making the Truffles forfeit any games that I made a difference in. Good luck to them, as they are wasting their time. So far they haven't found any, and I suspect they won't. Regardless, you probably won't be seeing me pitching in this league for a while.
JG: Thanks Jeff, it has been…….. interesting.
JZ: Don't worry Jim, I always have my singing career to fall back on. Like I like to say, "H to the Izzo..". By the way Jim, you are no Dick Schaap.