SYRACUSE | Zach Walters talked outside of the Syracuse Chiefs locker room in a light blue t-shirt with a pretty cool design on it.
It was a giant squid attacking a pirate ship ala 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Then on the inside of his left forearm he has a pretty big tattoo that looks like an angel.
He seems like a pretty cool guy.
He is originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming and when he is greeted with the incredulity of meeting a Wyoming baseball player his response is also pretty cool, "I have never met one either."
Walters was raised in Bozeman, Montana where herded cattle and rode bulls before he moved to Las Vegas in eighth grade.
OK, yup, he is cool.
Even with all of that, his grandfather might be cooler.
Walters' grandfather, Charles, played for the Army baseball team when he was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division from 1957-58.
It is practically impossible to be cooler than a guy that jumps out of a perfectly good airplane on purpose. You can't be cooler than a guy that has the guts to jump into combat with the extent of his supply line limited to what he can haul around on his back. You just can't.
On top of that, Charles Walters was a football player too. Zach's father, Patrick, was in the Air Force and played football as well. The influence was there, but Zach Walters stuck to the diamond.
"It was an athletic family," Walters said. "As I grew up, and got better, I leaned more toward baseball. (Grandpa) was a big guy, like 6-5, 240. He was not a small human being."
Walters isn't that small himself. At 6-2, 220 he was drafted by Arizona and then came to the Washington organization in 2011 in a straight trade for Jason Marquis. Last year, he started in Single-A Potomac and went to Double-A Harrisburg before he finished the year here in Triple-A Syracuse. He hit .266 with 12 homers and 49 RBI combined.
This season, he has four home runs and a pair of doubles in his first five games and the Chiefs were 5-1 before the home opener on Saturday.
"It is funny when winning how everyone wants to talk to you, food tastes better, and the lights are shining brighter," Walters said for a pretty cool answer. "When you are not it is a struggle uphill. Right now, it is fun. I like the culture that we have going on. We aren't coming out there just to do well, but we are coming out there to kick some tail."
Even though he led the team in homers as of Friday, Walters doesn't consider himself the coolest guy in the clubhouse.
"As a team it is fun to be around. There are so many different characters that coming to the ballpark isn't an obligation. It isn't a chore. It's exciting. Owings, Marrero, Corey Brown, Costanzo, there are just all these characters. It is just fun to be around and to see what they are going to say next," Walters said. "When we are working we get the most out of it so when we get to a game it isn't about pressure or a feeling of urgency it is just about relaxing and making things happen."
Even though not a "cool guy" in the clubhouse, Walters has been known for some cool wardrobe choices beyond his t-shirts. He had a pair of neon green shoelaces that drew the attention/ire of MLB vet Jayson Werth before, and his white patterned spikes look a bit more like spats on the field.
"I picked it up when I moved to Vegas. That is my Vegas flair," Walters said.
Cool answer, it must run in the family.