Say what, Preppy?
He's never watched an episode, but White Sox 2016 first-round pick Zack Collins knows exactly who he's named after — 'Saved By The Bell' character Zack Morris.
The catching prospect's parents both watched the show, which originally aired on NBC from 1989-92 and later in syndication. Patrick and Wendy Collins liked the pop culture icon played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar so much they decided to name their first-born after him. Collins, who was selected 10th overall last June out of University of Miami, was born Feb. 6, 1995.
"(Zack Morris) was the cool kid with the cell phone and the ladies," Patrick Collins said. "We just loved Zack as a name and said, well let's name him after Zack from 'Saved by the Bell.' We were joking about it and 'Yeah, let's do it.'"
While Zack Collins has seen a few clips, he's never viewed a full episode of 'Saved By the Bell.'
He knows nothing of Mr. Belding, Bayside High School, Kelly Kapowski, Screech, Lisa Turtle or Jessie Spano's "I'm so excited" meltdown. Collins even confused the character his name is derived from, thinking his parents surely named him after popular athlete/drummer A.C. Slater rather than Morris, the smooth-talking cool kid with the oversized 1990s cellphone.
The 2016 Johnny Bench Award winner said he rarely watches television but counts the Food Network's 'Diners, Drive Ins and Dives' and Nickelodeon's 'Drake and Josh' and 'Sponge Bob' among his favorite shows.
"I'm a big teen-Nick guy, those kind of shows," Zack Collins said. "Also, I'm kind of a foody a little bit. I like to know when I go somewhere what I have to try."
Given he's likely to start the season at Single-A Winston-Salem, Collins probably won't reach Chicago in time to nab a reservation at The Max, a pop-up version of the show's diner that is located in Wicker Park through May.
Coincidentally, Patrick Collins thinks his son shares a lot of similarities with the character played by Gosselaar, who currently stars as timeout — the catcher — in FOX's 'Pitch,' a show about baseball's first female pitcher. Those likenesses apparently began at an early age. Back when he played T-ball, Zack Collins' helmet had "Zack Attack," the name of Morris' fictitious high school band, airbrushed across the back.
"He was like that calm and cool kid that talked to his teachers in such a friendly way in school," Patrick Collins said of his son. "He was all the smooth character with the teachers and his friends and the way he carried himself.
"It's so crazy how he grew up to be that style of a kid."