7/8/08 at Yankee Stadium

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The cheapest ticket available at the window was $60 (or at
least that’s what the Yankees wanted me to believe) so I took a proactive approach…


…and found my way inside for $30. That still might sound like a lot, but when the cheapest seat in the entire stadium (bleachers excluded) has a face value of $22, it’s actually not terrible.

Anyway, batting practice was bad news all around. To start things off, a woman on the lower level (who was not paying attention, of course) was hit on the side of the head by an A-Rod slicer and needed medical attention:


Then, to make matters worse, the brilliant Yankee staff failed to move her out of harm’s way, and she nearly got hit again! I also saw two little kids nearly get taken out by line-drive home runs in the upper deck. The first kid was wearing a glove but had no clue how to use it, and the second kid was sitting with his father who didn’t even see the ball coming. That ball missed his head by six inches and truly might have killed him. I don’t understand how parents can be so careless and dumb. There are plenty of places in the stadium where balls can’t go. If the grown-ups don’t care about catching one and the kids aren’t coordinated enough to protect themselves, why not sit there?

Those two home runs, by the way, were the ONLY two home runs that reached the upper deck in eighty minutes of BP. Thankfully, while the Yankees were on the field, I got a commemorative ball thrown by Joba Chamberlain…


…and when the Rays came out, I got a regular ball from Edwin Jackson.

That was it.

I stayed in left field for the whole game, and nothing came anywhere near me. Jeter’s 200th career homer? Didn’t happen. Arod’s 537th (passing Mickey Mantle on the all-time list)? Ditto.

The funny (and yet sad) moment of the night occurred when Jose Molina came up to bat and the Jumbotron said he had thrown out the last 12 base-stealers and had “not allowed a SB since June 3rd.” The woman behind me asked her male companion what “SB” meant.

“Second base,” he told her.

Scott Kazmir pitched well, giving up two runs and striking out nine in five innings–but Andy Pettitte pitched much better, surrendering just four hits in eight scoreless frames as the Yankees cruised to a 5-0 win. Guess who got the game-ending ball from reliever Edwar Ramirez. Rudy freakin’ Giuliani. That’s who. He had the corner seat in the front row next to the dugout (How the hell am I supposed to compete with that?) and then got to bring his little entourage out onto the field for a photo-op:


Before I wrap up this entry, I want to give a quick shout-out to a young Yankee fan named Jon Herbstman (aka “karenherbstman” if you read the comments) who spotted me late in the game as he was walking past me in the concourse. First he did a double-take…then a triple-take…then a quadruple-take before stopping and making a U-turn and walking over and staring at me and saying incredulously, “Are you Zack Hample?!” It was priceless. And when I said yes, he shouted at his dad to stop walking and asked for my autograph. It was a nice end to an otherwise slow and forgettable day.

Oh wait, one more thing…
I finally got around to scanning the article about me that appeared in the Palm Beach Post. Here it is.


? 2 balls at this game

? 228 balls in 32 games this season = 7.125 balls per game.

? 528 consecutive games with at least one ball

? 117 consecutive games at Yankee Stadium with at least one ball

? 3,505 total balls


  1. muddly17

    1st comment!!!!!!!!
    Good to hear you didn’t get shut out. Those two people behind you were idiots. Everyone knows SB means sac-bunt. ;)
    I’m going to Cards vrs Padres on the 18th. Any tips on the Padres?

  2. gregb123

    Oy. You need to stop going to Yankee Stadium. It’s too bad all the important balls you want happen to be there.

    Anyway, I got my All-Star Sunday tickets in the mail today. ($9.99 per ticket. Not bad, huh?) I won’t count the balls I get; I just want to get my hands on a Futures Game commemorative ball. Also, what do you think the chances of me snagging one of those softballs from the celebrity game are? Last year, did the celebs throw their warmup balls into the crowd?

  3. yanksfan61293@aol.com

    anyone else going to all star sunday this sunday? I have AWESOME seats . . . row A, box 63…field championship!

  4. joshscards

    hey zack,
    why do you keep going to Yankee Stadium?
    you say its the worst park yet your last four games have been there

    its good to see that you havent gotten shut out though
    also, im flying up to new york (i live in florida) and my uncle is surprising me with either rockies or phillies tickets…either the 13th, 22nd, or 23rd….are you going to any of those games?…do you have any good autograph spots(last year i got nady, shane youman, and adam laroche behind the visiting dugout)


  5. thet206kid

    I think you have a better chance getting hit by lightning than getting hit by two balls at Yankee stadium,, I had no luck getting baseball yesterday at shea but I did get autos from Billy Wagner and Barry Zito

  6. gjk2212

    NOTHING went my way yesterday at shea. fernando tatis, pedro felicano, marlon anderson, brian schneider, duaner sanchez, endy chavez, and joe smith ignored me within the first half hour. i dont know why, but everything was just going wrong. i called out for endy chavez, he looked at me, and threw the ball to greg (nice backhand by the way). i thankfully didnt get shutout but i only got one. from jack taschner, lf triangle, mid giants bp. it sucked. i cant put my finger on it. brian wilson stopped at the dugout post bp, and i asked for a ball, since i had just seen him put one in his back pocket. he looked up, saw my giants hat, and said “what do you want?” when i repeated my request, he held up one finger as if to say “ill hook you up when im done signing”. he finishes, i hold up my glove, and he takes it and gives it to like a 14 yr old girl in mets stuff. ugh. anyway, the mets won and my highlight of the night was getting one of six autos tim lincecum signed outside the press gate after the game. cool. im going to fanfest sunday and then straight to shea for the sunday night game. anyone know the easiest way to the 7 train from javits center? help would be greatly appreciated.

    greg-whered you get $9.99 tix at?

  7. thebigticket0021@aim.com

    Zack, do you know where you will be sitting at the Home run Derby yet?

  8. yanksfan61293@aol.com

    njmetfan: I think (but I’m not sure), and its not my business to comment, really, but I think he got them on Stub Hub. That’s where I got my tix, and I noticed a bunch of uber-cheap tickets going for below face value . . . I got mine below face value, as well.

  9. gregb123

    njmetfan —
    1) Sorry about the Endy ball. That was a total fluke. I couldn’t believe he threw it to me. (And thanks for the compliment on the catch.)
    2) All-Star Sunday tix for $9.99 on StubHub. They still have a few left, plus a bunch for less than $12:
    3) From the Javits Center, walk over to 8th Ave. and 34th and take the A/C/E up to Times Square.

    I think I’ll go to FanFest on Saturday. Anyone else going that day?

  10. gregb123

    Oh, and the *face* value of my ticket is $60. Beautiful. I feels great cheating the Yankees.

  11. braves04

    Hey Zack, while browsing baseball books at Borders, I stumbled on a copy of your book, though it was an old 4th edition. The ironic part was that it was right next to a book called “101 Reasons to Love the Braves”.
    Looks like I’ll only make a 1-2 day trip to NYC if I make it. I’ll know by tomorrow.

  12. yanksfan61293@aol.com

    Gregorybarasch, I agree….I bought my tix for less than half of face value. I love the Yankees, but their policies from ticket prices to security are just plain annoying.

  13. puckcollector@optonline.net

    im goin on saturday and sunday and tuesday!! yah me! greg, maybee we can meet up both days. i just hope they dont make you go right to your seat on sunday even during BP like they did in san fran for the ASG

  14. Graham

    That’s cool Joba threw you a ball. I never thought he was the fan friendly type. He always looks like he’s pissed off.

  15. gregb123

    Puck – I think I’ll go at about 2pm or so on Saturday. If thats around the time you’re going, yeah, we should meet up. Do you know if you can buy tickets there or do you have to buy ahead of time? Also, are you going to All-Star Sunday at the Stadium?

  16. thet206kid

    I found the list of players who will be attending the All star fanfest, I am going the first day,


    Friday, July 11
    Luis Aparicio
    Rollie Fingers
    George Foster
    Fred Lynn
    Jack McDowell
    Jeff Nelson
    Mickey Rivers
    Steve Sax
    Bob Watson
    Roy White
    Dick Williams

    Saturday, July 12
    Orlando Cepeda
    Rollie Fingers
    Oscar Gamble
    Ferguson Jenkins
    Harmon Killebrew
    Fred Lynn
    Gaylord Perry
    Robin Roberts
    Steve Sax
    Billy Williams

    Sunday, July 13
    Luis Aparicio
    Bob Feller
    Ferguson Jenkins
    Harmon Killebrew
    Juan Marichal
    Gaylord Perry
    Robin Roberts
    Art Shamsky
    Earl Weaver
    Billy Williams
    Dick Williams

    Monday, July 14
    Gary Carter
    Orlando Cepeda
    Andre Dawson
    Bob Feller
    Rollie Fingers
    Goose Gossage
    Tony Gwynn
    Juan Marichal
    Paul Molitor
    Earl Weaver

    Tuesday, July 15
    Ron Blomberg
    Ed Charles
    Andre Dawson
    Tommy John
    Ed Kranepool
    Tim Leary
    Graig Nettles
    Mike Torres

  17. legkick26

    zack the same thing happened when I was there last week. a girl sitting in one of the top rows of sect 39 in bp took a homer off the shin while she was texting. serves her right? is that mean…? idk

  18. padreleigh


    Did Joba Chamberlain do a stupid fist pump then stare you down after he threw you the ball?


  19. padreleigh

    Zack….(part 2),

    Remember the Khalil Greene homer I told you about landing in the seat behind mine when I wasn’t there? Well, during today’s day game vs the Marlins I was fast asleep because I worked all night. My friend Kathleen, sitting in our seats, grabbed a Scott Hairston homer off the ground in a dog pile. If it wasn’t for bad homer luck I wouldn’t have any at all. I thought you would appreciate this little story. I’m going to have to start going to day games I guess.


  20. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Yeah greg im goin to All Star Sunday. and i think im goin to to Fanfest way earlier but plan to stay all day. heres the link to buy tix:http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/nyy/ticketing/all_star_tickets.jsp?#sunday
    i have no clue what time the gates open, im assuming 2 hrs, so ill be at gate 6(hopefully)
    zack, did the interactive things cost money to do or were they free last year.
    and metsfan2001: does it cost money to get autos from those guys

  21. thet206kid

    puckcollector,, no charge on the autos, all the autos r free, The only thing I dont know is if you have to bring your own stuff to get signed, I am bringing a dozen ball to be on the safe side

  22. zackhample

    Sac bunt…nice. “SB” also stands for “safe ball,” which everyone knows is a “fair ball that isn’t caught.” :-)
    As for the Padres, I’m not the one to ask. “Padreleigh” could give you all the info there.

    Oy. Yes. Exactly. I’ll be at the Futures Game as well, although I’m not sure how hard I’m gonna try to snag since I don’t count those balls. Snagging a softball is REALLY hard. You’ll see a few get tossed up, but your best bet might actually be during the game if there’s a former major leaguer batting lefty who can reach the short porch.

    I’m always torn about whether or not to correct these people.

    As I mentioned above to Greg, I’ll be there. Not sure exactly where I’ll be sitting.

    I keep going back because, as Greg mentioned in a comment above, there are important balls to be snagged there. I’ll definitely be at Shea on July 13th (yes, the same day as the Futures Game). I’ll be at Yankee Stadium on July 22nd (weather permitting), and I suppose there’s a chance I could be at Shea the next day. The press Gate at Shea is a good spot for autographs. Also…the entrance to the players’ parking lot is good…near the #7 train.

    Yeah, it does seem like that would be the case.


    Yes, I know, and I’ll be blogging about my seat location in my next entry.

    Cool! I’m curious to know what some of those reasons are. I really can’t think of more than a handful. Let me know about your trip.

    Well, he didn’t exactly throw it “to” me. He threw it to some other people who bobbled it and then dropped it and then deflected it to me. Does that count? I say yes. He threw it. I got it. He goes on the list. Joba is actually lots of fun during BP. He throws lots of balls into the crowd, and the other day, he was even joking about throwing one of his teammates’ gloves into the seats. But I know what you mean about his pissy look.

    Thanks for the list.

    I don’t want to get yelled at for saying that someone deserves to get hit by a ball, but yeah, I know what you mean.

    No fist pump. Crazy home run luck. What the hell? And did you see the comment at the top about the Padres? Someone needs advice, and clearly you’re the man.

    I don’t remember anything about the interactive games. The lines were too long, and I didn’t have time to stick around and do any of them. I think, though, that for the most part, once you’re in, you’re in and you don’t have to keep paying.

    If you’re going to FanFest, make sure you eat beforehand. The food last year in SF was terrible and absurdly expensive.

  23. aefeq


    I have seen several little kids get hit in philly during BP. Earlier this year, I saw a dad watching BP and his son had his back to the field and was playing with a toy on a seat and a ball smacked him right on the neck. An usher rushed over and they took the kid to first aid. Amazing.

    On a separate note, got any good tips for me regarding the Nationals new ballpark? Going tomorrow night. Probably a big crowd.


  24. braves04

    The “reasons” listed weren’t really in-depth. It listed a player, event, or statistic that any real Braves fan should already be aware of. I’ll send an e-mail if I confirm anything for NY today.

  25. mitchmedeirosrocket

    Hi Muddfly.you can get to petco park at 430, the north gate opens.Also i was at marlins game,saw chick diggin that hanley ramirez home run that guy got behind her ,then she got her own home run amazing, both hr in same 5 seat area,Chase Headley threw it up .

  26. cougars94

    Hey, this is the 1st time ever that I left a comment on your page and I’m here to thank you Zack Hample for telling me about the secret of being in the loge level during batting practice (even though they decided to cancel it because it was a day game following a night game that had huge rain delays) because i got my first ever major league baseball that i asked Guy Conti for and he gave it to some other guy to throw up to me and I barely caught it. It was a Shea Stadium commemorative ball. Now I’m after the Yankees commemorative balls and I was wondering if players tend to give out balls during batting practice to fans in the Bleachers because my next Yankee game will be in Section 39 HOPEFULLY! Oh and by the way, i was at shea stadium on july 10th, 2008. my next game will be in august.

  27. gailquack@aol.com

    Poor lady with A Rod’s ball…same thing happened at Shea in the picnic area during BP in the subway series–a lady sunning herself took one to the face. As security was trying to help her, another one landed a few feet to her right. I was in the RF dream seats. They wouldn’t even let me in the picnic area to help (I am a doctor–brilliant security guards!)

  28. zackhample

    Crap, I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to respond to your comment in time, but…if you read my entry about Nationals Park (from April 10, 2008), then you already know everything you need.


    Awesome! I’m glad I was able to help. Thanks for letting me know, and good luck getting a Yankee Stadium ball.

    Amazing…just another example of stadium-operations-stupidity.

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