They attended elementary school together in the early ‘90s and developed a love for baseball that has stayed with both of them to this day.
One of these young men grew up to be a Major League pitcher. He will make $127 million over the next six years and is married to a woman who looks like she just stepped out of a fashion magazine.
The other provides commentary on baseball games from the comfort of his couch. He might make $1 million over the course of his lifetime and is married to the polar opposite of a supermodel — me.
The pitcher in question is San Francisco Giants starter Matt Cain.
Cain is from Dothan and finished high school in Tennessee. However, he spent part of his childhood in Zac’s hometown of Vincent.
Zac doesn’t claim they were best friends or anything. He has only vague memories of Cain, who was a year ahead of him in school.
Zac’s brother, Jeremy, played on the same basketball team with him. Zac can recall watching Cain throw a basketball the full length of the court when he was around 10 years old.
Other than that, Zac’s only association with Cain is a photo that may or may not exist of them playing on the same Little League team.
As much as Zac would love to say they played on the same field together, he admits it’s likely just wishful thinking.
I thought it was pretty cool when Zac told me a few years ago that he had gone to school with a professional baseball player.
We have followed Cain’s career closely during the five baseball seasons that we have been together, and what a career it has been.
Cain is a three-time All-Star. He won a World Series with the Giants in 2010 and threw the 22nd perfect game in Major League Baseball history in June against the Houston Astros.
If things continue to go well for the Giants, Cain will add a second World Series ring to his collection by the end of the week.
I didn’t realize how surreal it must be for Zac to watch someone he knows pitch in the World Series until I started jotting down some ideas for Christmas shopping.
I always get Zac something baseball related, and it’s usually from the online store of the Chicago Cubs. This year, though, I thought he might enjoy having a piece of memorabilia to commemorate Cain’s perfect game.
Then I realized that an autograph Zac could have obtained for free in elementary school is now worth between $100 and $200.
If some little girl happened to save a “Check yes or no” note signed by Matt Cain, she could probably pay off her house today once she found the right collector.
Zac’s attitude is almost as astonishing to me as the idea of something as intrinsically worthless as a signature suddenly becoming so valuable.
If I were in his shoes, I’d probably be saying stupid things like “What makes Matt Cain so special? How come he gets all the breaks and I have had to struggle for years just to get where I am today?”
Thankfully, Zac doesn’t look at life that way.
I’ll never forget how upset he got the first time we watched “The Family Man,” in which a successful businessman played by Nicolas Cage wakes up with the wife and kids he would have had if he had chosen love rather than money 13 years prior.
Halfway through the movie, Zac got very agitated and told me turn off the movie. Confused, I asked why.
“I just can’t watch it anymore,” he said. “He’s got a nice house, a wife, healthy kids. What’s he keep complaining about?”
The Zac Cohron philosophy can be summed up in a song by Montgomery Gentry that I heard this week for the first time in years.
One of the choruses holds an important reminder for those of us who are sometimes tempted to compare ourselves to the Joneses (or the Cains.)
“You don't need to make a million, just be thankful to be working. If you're doing what you're able, putting food there on the table and providing for the family that you love, that's something to be proud of.”