If you have been following the Pittsburgh Pirates all season, you have noticed the hand gesture the players give each other after a big offensive play. When I saw Greg Brown and Steve Blass doing it, draped poorly in bubble-wrap over a month ago, I understood the point they were trying to make, even though Brown and Blass probably didn't.
For those of you who are into bad movies, like myself, we all remember the Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott classic "Dude, Where's My Car." The movie had memorable moments of the "Dude" and "Sweet" tattoo monologue that tries to duplicate the "Who's On First" classic of Abbott and Costello, the "and then..." Chinese drive-thru worker and the Continuum Transfunctioner. But the one scene most may forget is the space cult of the Zoltan. The bubble-wrapped jumpsuit loons following their leader Zoltan, played by Hal Sparks, caught the eye of the Pirate players, and has lead us to the hand "Z" everyone is doing at PNC Park now.
Almost 12 years since its release, the movie makes its appearance on Sunday afternoon theater on local television stations, but the Pirates have taken a scene from the comedy and made the Zoltan into a team-building gesture that has spilled over into the fanbase. Many still can't do it properly, (folks, its left hand on top, OK?!), but the signs, the shirts and the stupidity of it to outsiders creates a fun movement in what has been a magical season up until now in Pittsburgh, with the Pirates now ten game above .500 and currently in first place.
It's a good thing the Pirates are playing great baseball this season. If the team fell off and went back to its losing ways back in June, after the start of the "Zoltan movement," many of the people now flocking to games would laugh and say, "Hey, remember when those bums were doing that stupid hand thing? Yeah, the worked out well." They're not saying it this year. Instead, they are the ones making the same gesture in the stands. How long until we see someone come to the game wearing the green tang-top and shorts with a bubble-wrap jumpsuit? Zoltan night anyone? Either way, have fun with it, and may the power of Zoltan be with you and the Pirates for the rest of the season. ZOLTAN!
Update 12:16 a.m.
Greg Mercer teaches you how to do the Zoltan properly in the YouTube video below.