A Gummy Bear - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A Gummy Bear

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Gonzaga Grad Tyson Van Winkle had a big following at the Bear's games. The Yakima catcher even had his own cheering section, but he has been promoted up one level to South Bend.

That could mean more playing time for backup catcher Zac Varnell. The Arkansas native has been known mostly for his chewy, bubbly habit.

"Here we go," said Varnell. "Well, strawberry, pink lemonade, blue raspberry, sour cherry, watermelon, and green apple."

Zac Varnell is always chewing gum.

"I'll chew seeds every now and then, but gum is long lasting," said Varnell. "Even if the flavor runs out you can still chew it. I guess it makes me relax and concentrate a little better."

He starts at 1 or 2 pieces before the game and he ends the game with 8 or 10 pieces, all at the same time.

"I think what I've been doing lately is going for colors," said Varnell. "I chew it up and see what color it turns."

But while he is a scholar in the gum department, he hasn't had a chance to figure out pro baseball yet. Varnell has just 8 at bats on the season and is batting .125. Now, that's hard to swallow.

But if his dedication to baseball is anything like his dedication to blowing bubbles, Varnell will figure it out.