The latest obsession

NEWSFLASH: I get obsessed with things…

…but baseball is not always at the top of my list. When I was little, I was obsessed with coins, rocks, cats, and my rubber band ball. In fourth grade, it was ping pong. One summer at sleep-away camp, I spent all my free time building an arsenal of mother jokes. “Your mother’s so fat, she stepped on a dollar bill and made change…Your mother’s so poor, she got married for the rice…You’re mother’s so dumb, she thinks Winnipeg is a sweepstakes for pirates…Your mother’s so old, I told her to act her age and she dropped dead…” In high school, all I cared about was being able to dunk a basketball. In 1995, I was obsessed with sign language. In college, I couldn’t play enough Scrabble, and then for a few months, I moved on to Arkanoid. Nowadays, I go through stretches where my entire life revolves around my music collection. Or my writing group. Or my hormones.

At the moment, I’m obsessed with scanning EVERY one of my old photographs–and there are thousands. Check out this one I just found from April 3, 1996…


I was 18. I’d just been in Paris for six weeks, and I came back to NYC with my first goatee. I thought it was bad-***, and when Opening Day rolled around, I wasn’t in a rush to shave. I still managed to snag 10 balls that day at Shea, but who knows? If I’d been sporting a younger look, I might’ve gotten 12.

I’ve recently added a few other photos to my albums, and there are more on the way…


  1. Chad

    Nice photo. Do you count a foul ball hit to the 3rd base coach and then tossed to you during a game a game ball?

  2. Zack

    Oh ****. I forgot to answer that question in my last entry. The answer is no. All my game balls came to me unassisted…meaning they were not thrown. If one got wedged in a net, or something like that, and I was able to get it without any help, then I’d count it.

    That said, if you get a ball from the third base coach and want to count it as a gamer, go for it. You could even create a separate category for “gamers that were tossed.”


    Zack: Gotta say… this blog and your obsession are both pretty cool. I have a lot of reading to get through, but one question immediately springs to mind: Do you have a job? :o) If you do, how do you find time to do this all?

  4. Zack

    Thanks for the heads up. Silly stuff.


    I have two jobs. I write for, and I also do web site stuff for my family’s book store here in NYC. Both jobs have flexible hours, so I can usually get the time I need to go to games. Of course, I’ve only been to 12 games this season, which really isn’t THAT much time. I realize that it must seem like all I do is collect baseballs since that’s what this blog is all about. In any any case, thanks (for reading).


    Thanks for replying. I was thumbing thru the April (or was it May?) archive, and saw that you are indeed employed. The more I read, the more interesting this gets. VERY cool.


    ZAck- NIce picture. Let’s see what Jose Lima has to offer the Florida Marlins Hope it is
    Good pitching.


  7. Zack

    Thanks, Kaylee. Didn’t know Lima is pitching tonight. I haven’t even gotten to read yesterday’s box scores yet.***** photo obsession got in the way. But I’ll be catching up soon.

  8. Nick

    I didn’t think my comment would start an 80 comment all out war. Oops. Oh well.

    I just think it’s sad how some people view you. They look at the success which you have obtained through hard work and they feel the need to insult it. The man who accussed you of self-promotion probably has a hobby or something he enjoys doing. I wonder if he will share it with us and let us decide if it is a waste of his time. Zack, you are a friend to Major League Baseball and I’m sure The Show wouldn’t have it any other way.

    But I bet they are going to want some of their baseballs back, though.

  9. Zack

    Yeah, I saw that last comment on the White Sox blog and didn’t bother to respond. Some people just don’t get it. I’m glad you DO.


    Can’t we just forget this whole White Sox fiasco. O yea didn’t Willis hit a grand slam, how many pitchers have hit gram slams?

    And probably for the few times in my live I’m rooting for the White Soxs, Why? Cause they’re facing the Red Sox.

  11. Zack

    I agree. Let’s put it behind us. The ChiSox are losing right now anyway. Haha.


    Why can’t the Jays beat the bottom feeders! Ah well can’t wait for the Jays to come back home for the mariners series, really looking forward to seeing Ichiro.


    ZAck-did i here that right did ythe mets designate Jose lima for assignmet

  14. Nick

    Why are you so sad? You got 10 baseballs!

    I had a dream last night that I snagged 17 balls at Miller Park because they let me run around the outfield with the players during batting practice. So I scooped up everything I could.

  15. Zack

    I haven’t heard anything about Lima yet, but it would be charitable if they designate him. The guy (though nice and fun and all that) should be released.


    I was smiling on the inside…and I like the dream. I’ve had a few along those lines.


    Hey Zach.

    Last night I went to the Dodger game. I attended batting practice for the first time. Using your roster and switching hats for the away team tricks, I caught four balls, Although one was for my friend and one was for a little kid next to me, who had been pointed out. I than got a ball from the umpire after the game. My first multi ball game- 3 balls!!

    My question is that, I am planning on going on sunday to watch the game with my brother. Usually there is no batting practice on sunday. This situation is unusual. There is a day game today, saturday. and than a day game, tomorrow, sunday. Im sure there was no BP today, last nights game went until almost 11. Its the last day before all star break, will there be BP?


    dodgerdude511 its Zack

    Hey I was wondering if you read this blog, Ode to Inky, the Philadelphia Phillies and, of course, Mitch Hedberg

    This is what the person wrote…

    “So this guy on has this site about all the foul balls he caught in his life. Thousands of baseballs, each one a tiny accomplishment–a representation of luck, perseverance and hand-eye coordination.

    I have never caught a foul ball.”

    I’m pretty sure the fans talking about you! Also, do you know if they ever made commemorate baseballs for the D’Backs and Devil Rays. Do you know if there is a website for Rawlings that has every single “special” baseball made?!?

    Thanks Zack


    Ok I have a very difficult dillema. I’m going to really want to go to a Mets/Astros game that weekend, for the sole fact that I’m going away for 3 weeks to a state with no major league baseball right after that. It looks terrible. My options are merengue concert night or a sunday afternoon. Which is the lesser of two evils?


    Hey Zack-
    Mets crushed today at least 1 game of the doubleheader I did not see the other one!

    My red sox beat the world champs the white sox again.

    But they got a tough matchup tommorrow

    Curt Schilling VS.Jose contereras(who is undefeated Ouch!).Man that will be interesting.


  20. Zack

    Congrats on all the balls. I’m really glad to hear that my techniques helped you out. I have no idea about BP later today (Sunday), but if I had to guess, I’d say that they’ll skip it. They all probably want extra rest before the break…AND the two teams combined for 18 runs and 29 hits last night, so do they really NEED to take BP? That’s the way I look at it. If you go, let me know what happens.


    Thanks for the link to that other blog. I’d have to assume that the person IS talking about me…so I left a comment. I don’t know about inaugural balls for the latest expansion teams. I don’t know of any web sites other than eBay where you could see pics of special balls. I didn’t know that there was a special ball for the Japan game. (Wow, there’s a lot I don’t know.) VERY cool.


    I’d go for Merengue Night. At least you’ll be guaranteed to get some BP.


    The Mets came up BIG in the second game. Yay for Pelfrey. One ML start, one win. Can’t wait for the Sox-Sox game tomorrow. Should be great.


    My red sox won they beat those white SOX anyway they go for the sweep tommorrow.I know that was a little random psting there but,I am bored can you tell!
    GO METS and RED SOX!



    But you better root for the “right sox” which is the red sox tommorrow(sunday)because they are gunna WIN!



    Go White Soxs and GO JAYS! Hoping for the split with the Royals tonight, yeah I know that sounds so sad having to try and split a series with the Royals, but what are u gonna do, theres no crrying in baseball.


    zack-i woke up yesterday morning at my friends house when his mom told me that i guy i met at a restaurant offered to take my dad and i to the doubleheader with the tickets he had. (he has four.) at first i said no, for obvious reasons. then i found out that Pelfrey was gonna start game 2 and i gave in.

    during the first game i sat in the mezz with the guy and his tickets. first row, first base side. not bad at all.

    i got a t-shirt in the launch thing.

    then in the 8th inning i went down to the field level and started asking people for tix. i got 4 stubs for sec 21, row D, seats 1-4.

    then in between games i got dan uggla to sign a team photo card

    so we sat in those seats for about an inning. then i moved to the first row right behind the marlins dugout

    during the second inning, someone on the mets hit a foul into the dugout. joe girardi picked it up and gave it to jim presley who gave it to cody ross. i asked cody for it who passed it to reggie abercrombie and cody started holding his hands in the air like he doesnt have one. reggie starts tossing it up and down and then held it on the corner of the dugout. reggie, cody and jim presley were cracking up. finally at the end of the half inning, reggie popped up and tossed me the ball.

    after the 7th i went over to the mets side. and after the game ballboy matt tossed me a ball.

    so i was pretty happy with how it turned out. 2 balls, 1 auto, 1 tee-shirt, an exclusive david wright mcfarlane figure that i bought for $8, 7 stubs from the game.


    I did some research on “special edition” baseballs and found some interesting ones. There is even a baseball for Cal Ripken Jr.’s LAST GAME (link included) and one called “Month of the Americas”…

    Also, I looked at

    and they specialize in selling “special baseballs”. If you look around their site, they have many of the “special baseballs” including a black MLB baseball.


    Interestig balls, have you seen the Joe Dimaggio ball, I saw it on ebay couple days ago its pretty nice with light blue writing.

  27. Zack

    Impressive day. I’m a little sorry I’ve been missing all these games. The attendance hasn’t been THAT high, and I can’t explain it. That’s a fun story about the foul that went into the dugout. I like it when players do stuff like that…as long as they come through at the end and give me the ball.


    Thanks for taking the time to find all those balls, and for giving the links to them. I don’t like the black one because it’s gimmicky. The Ripken ball is my favorite because HE is my favorite. The other ball that jumps out at me is the one with the HUGE Jackie Robinson logo. That thing is practically taking over the whole ball. Seeing all these balls actually makes me kind of sad. It’s just a painful reminder of all the cool stuff I’ve missed.


    Wow the White Sox keep hanging on, lets go CHI SOX! need Jays to catch up in the race.


    yesterday’s attendance was 41477 for the total, game 2 must have been no more than about 15000-20000.

    i remember cody ross and abercrombie being really nice guys from earlier this year when i went to the hotel. but yea, if they didnt give me the ball, i would have been really pissed.


    Holy cow long sox-sox game.I didnt like the outcome jimmy did though!19 innings!


    Man I wish I had digital cable or mlb xtra innings really wanted to see this game, but w.e I’m happy the ChiSox won it was the Red Soxs’ game to lose, they gave up so many leads.


    I know you are right!The red sox had thier chance.Our worst pitcher gave it up but they had noone else!O well…did the jas go into the break on a good note?!


    Yup smoked the Royals tdy no contest Halladay was on the mound.

    Zack- I was wondering cause u seem to have a lot of autos, what auto do u think looks the best and whats yur favourite auto.

    Mine is BJ Ryan but thats only cause I hav 4 autos this year.


    I am gunna get grady seizmore’s ato graph when I go to fenway!I know I will cuz
    the friend I am going with knows him very well!



    O they Will, if not this year then the next. The Jays are building a great team thanks to Rogers buying the stadoum and owning the team so theres a lot of money going into the Jays. Our farm system is pretty good aswell and just watch out cause the Jays are back, it sure smells like 92 and 93.


    OKAy I will watch out for those jays Jimmy!How did you get bj’s autograph if they dont open for Bp?!


    It was a day where there wasn’t bp and a lot of pitchers from both teams came out to toss around and I got a ball from AJ Burnett and then got it signed by BJ


    Sup Zack.

    You and I had agreed that there probably wouldnt be BP today due to the doubleheader, however the marlins did take it and I managed to snag my first ball ever at shea. I got on in BP up in montreal a few years back, but this was my first one at Shea. Pretty cool. I might just be hooked. Thanks.


    AJ wasn’t signing it was just BJ and Taubenheim signing I’m looking forward to trying and getting an Ichiro auto, but I’m probably going to an auto session on Saturday to get a Molina auto, and probably ask him to toss me a ball later that day during BP at the Stadium.


    I see makes since now. good luck at the ichiro auto.i am getting GRady’s when i go to fenway the friend i am going with knows him very well.



    Saturday for sure and planning on either Friday or Sunday not sure though,on Friday John Olerud is gonna be signing autos inside the Stadium, but Sunday is hat day so I don’t know.

  42. Zack

    Only 15-20K at game two? Dammit. I’m missing out.


    One of the nicest looking autographs I ever got was from Jaime Navarro, a pitcher on the Brewers in the early 90s. My favorite is the Cal Ripken Jr. that I got in person in Anaheim in 1995.


    Congrats! Welcome aboard.


    How did you get it?


    Zack-nice sox-sox game today (sunday)a 19 inning marathon wow the outcome could have been different but…….


    wasn’t ohlerud once the batting champ? and didn’t he used to play for the red sox? and from the begining of the season i thought it would be red sox and mets in the world series. but how can u be a mets fan, and a red sox fan? i stick to one team, my RED SOX!

  45. Zack

    Yes to Olerud.

    We still might get a Sox-Mets Series. Don’t give up yet. I like the Mets because I grew up a Mets fan and because I see them more than any other team (and because they’re not the Yankees), and I like the Sox because of Manny and because of their glorious stadium (and because they’re not the Yankees).

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