Thursday, November 02, 2006

Zack Vank Revisted. *UPDATED*

Ah yes, the Zack Vank saga continues ad infinitum. We have much to discuss, but the basic point of all of this is that I was totally right. Something was rotten in that lovely insignificant country of Denmark, and there is no doubt in my mind that Zack Vank is the concoction of a devious fiend after my own heart.

When we last left Mr. Vank, we had discovered several factoids about Zack that had been randomly placed throughout Wikipedia, including a strange allusion to Paul Verhoeven and Zack being related to Margaret Hamilton, the actress who played the Wicked Witch of the West. Since then, Weenie Enema has discovered enough information to conclude beyond the scope of a reasonable doubt that Zack Vank exists on Wikipedia and nowhere else.

Jim Gemma is the Media Relations Director for the Las Vegas 51s, the minor league baseball team that Zack Vank supposedly played for. He has written me a succinct email addressing my many concerns about Vank and the team Gemma represents:

I just looked at the 2001 51s final stats and the all-time roster and a player by the name of Zack Vank didn't play with Las Vegas.

Take Care,

Jim Gemma
Las Vegas 51s Media Relations Director

Unless the Las Vegas 51s organization has a personal stake in pretending one of their players isn't real, I think we've got Zack Vank dead to rights. But, assuming there are a few readers who remain skeptical and/or braindead, let's examine the history of Zack Vank's Wikipedia article, where we FINALLY discover the origins of the Paul Verhoeven controversy, among many, many other juicy details.

Does it make sense to anyone else that a minor league baseball team has an alien head as their logo? I think Entertainment Tonight crew members should have these hats. Entertainment Tonight? ET? Alien? He he he. I. Slay. Me.
(In case you were wondering why they actually DO have those alien heads, it's because the 51s are named after Area 51, which has often been suspected by the tinfoil hat brigade of harboring extraterrestrials.)

The Zack Vank creation was fairly recent. A user named CFreeman115 created an article stub about him on August 28:
Zack Vank, born January 4th, 1982, is a professional baseball player.

Career

On July 26th, 2006, minor league centerfielder Zack Vank was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Kansas City Royals organizations, a throw in player in the Odalis Perez/Elmer Dessens deal

I've already checked up on that, and there isn't a single source outside of Wikipedia that claims Zack Vank was involved in that transaction. None. Two minor leaguers WERE involved in that trade, but they were pitchers Blake Johnson and Julio Pimentel. Apparently the Kansas City Royals were not in need of an outfielder, but based on their underwhelming offensive performance this year, maybe they SHOULD have traded for a fictional player.
CFreeman115 polishes it up a little and adds a few stats, that he bats righty, etc. During the next few days, little bits and pieces are added and Zack Vank begins to take form.
On September 2, the creator gets, dare we say it, creative. The snippet about Vank being a surrealist with a bat is added, as is random trivia about Vank and Jeff Keppinger (a real baseball player who was with the Mets for a while) being really into Solstice, a Nintendo game.

That looks like fun. *stifles yawn*

On September 7, we encounter insanity:
After coming out of the closet during a game in early 2005, Vank has become one of the most loved baseball players in the homosexual community. Commonly during Royals gametime, dozens of business and office windows throughout San Francisco's Castro neighborhood display large signs bearing the slogan, "We Wank For Vank."

Wait. How does a baseball player come out DURING a baseball game? What exactly has to happen there? Short of man-on-man action in the outfield, claiming that he came out of the closet during a game is beyond ridic. If someone came out during a minor league baseball game, believe me - we would ALL know about it. And there would be video.

CFreeman115, make up your mind. Is he diddling Kerri Strug, or the population of San Francisco?

Kerri Strug does not wank for Vank.

And it's called The Castro, not Castro. And they have really good burgers. I have a coupon for free cow if anyone's heading over there. Zack? You interested?

Within a few minutes, the Wank for Vank story is gone, and frankly, I think the quality of the overall article suffers as a result. What a great phrase.
At this point, some of the Wikipedia staff get suspicious and propose that the article be deleted because "subject appears to be non-existant." You think? This of course begs the question why this is STILL up on Wikipedia, even though it's been almost two months since the dogs at Wiki started suspiciously sniffing around.

This is where we should really start tipping our hats to the creators of Zack Vank. Realizing that their fun was going to be short-lived if all they did was provide unsubstantiated information and start sexual orientation rumors, they created an external link to the high school Zack Vank supposedly went to, the Redwood High School previously mentioned at the end of my first post about him. Not only did they do that, they created a little profile for him there so that if anyone on Wikipedia got suspicious, they could click on the link and see:
"Currently playing centerfield for the Omaha Royals, sometimes well, sometimes poorly. I hope the team's doing well. I mean, to be honest, it's not the HEIGHT of my concerns right now... but I'm earnest in saying that if you dare to dream the impossible dream, you could end up like me; in Kansas City, running around a big diamond in hundred degree heat."

I did my own investigation into this and contacted a 2006 graduate of Redwood, Michael Ahlberg, who was very nice slash hot, and he concurred that this was fake.

However, Wikipedia doesn't take the heat off quite yet. On September 11, they propose that the article be deleted because "cursory Googling turns up NOTHING." This dispute remained at a stalemate for about a week, until September 17, when we finally get our answer to the Paul Verhoeven question:
In September 2006, Vank spoke to the Kansas City Star's nationally known columnist Jason Whitlock, on the topic of the rumor that Vank had been contacted about writing a screenplay version of his upcoming book, Minnesota Malt. "I haven't heard anything," Vank replied. "Besides that, I'm a ballplayer. Nobody's giving me a shot cause they think I'm some sideshow, some distraction. I'm a fucking centerfielder, and I'd be one of the best if they'd give me a shot. I don't give a shit about Hollywood, I give a shit about outplaying DeJesus and not getting my shot. A fucking movie. Then they'd give the script to some asshole like Paul Verhoeven. Did you see The Hollow Man? Did you see that piece of shit? Fucking train wreck." Vank later recanted, stating that the anger of not being included in the Royals' September call-ups had weighed on his mind. He stopped short however, of retracting his statements about Paul Verhoeven. The story was not published in the Kansas City Star, but rather on one of Whitlock's columns for ESPN.com's Page 2.

Well. I didn't see THAT coming. It's really genius. The backbone to any great lie is inserting little truths to confuse the people trying to separate reality from fiction. It's done here by inserting the last name of David DeJesus, who actually plays centerfield for the Kansas City Royals.

I am so tempted to ask him, "How do you feel about a fictional player giving a shit about outplaying you?"

Also, I still think Paul Verhoeven should be given a little bit more credit, considering he made Total Recall, or as I call it, "The Movie With Arnold Schwarzenegger and a Martian Whore With Three Boobs."

"Baby, you make me wish I had THREE hands!"

At this point, the Zack Vank creators finally evade their article's demise by getting another external source, this one for a link to an article on espn.com by Jason Whitlock, which common sense suggests is supposed to be the source of the Paul Verhoeven controversy. Guess what? You need a subscription to see the whole article. Apparently, the Wikipedia fact patrol didn't feel like registering an account to check up on this new development.
The addition of the Whitlock article finally does the job - Wikipedia dismisses it's claim that the article is a hoax. Score one for Zack Vank.

The Paul Verhoeven segment is deleted two days later, and everything is quiet until October 2, when the sentence "He has been rumored to be in a relationship with former olympian gymnast Kerri Strug." appears. I think this is where we came in.

If you will recall, at the end of my last post on this, I mentioned that I had written the email provided for Zack Vank on the Redwood High School site, and low and behold, I got a response:
Hi Emma, thanks for writing. You'll have to forgive my delayed response; I've been devoting much of my time lately to the writing of my book, tentatively titled "Minnesota Malt." I haven't yet had a chance to read your blog, but once I'm freed up I'll be sure to give it a look.

In response to your question regarding my status on the team's website, I myself was unaware of this ommision until I received your e-mail, and I checked for myself immediately. I'm not quite sure how this happened, but I've since contacted the webmaster in hopes that he'll correct it sometime soon. Thank you very much for bringing that to my attention, I want to make sure my name is out there when my book is released (which may take a while, at this rate).

Regarding the "bizarre comments" I've made, I'm not quite sure what you're referring to, though I must say I'm very interested. Where did you hear about this, and what were the nature of the comments?

I hope this clears up some confusion, and I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again for writing.

Best wishes,
Zack Vank

I am marrying whoever this is, and I've (of course) asked them to do a blog interview. Hopefully, this won't end up like the Chuck Norris Random Fact Generator guy, who called me a cunt and refused to do an interview after he said he would. Talk about the pot calling the kettle cunt black.

Chuck Norris once visited the Virgin Islands. They are now The Islands.

3 Comments:

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so confused. So there apparently is a 'real' Zack Vank. . . or is this the guy that created him that sent you the letter?

-Ingrid

 
At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Zack Vank said...

I respect you not to deny my existence. I may have been absent from the majors for the entirety of my career, but that doesn't mean that I'm nonexistent. I've been spending much of my time as of late working on my book, which is why I haven't been in the news as much lately.

;)

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger e.e.grimshaw said...

baffled gape.

 

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