9/15/08 at Yankee Stadium

What a stupid day. The White Sox didn’t take batting practice, and the game ended with Ken Griffey Jr. in the on-deck circle. But don’t worry. I still snagged five balls.

I used my glove trick to pluck two of the balls from the gap behind the outfield wall, and I had to work fast because there was another guy who had a ball-retrieving device of his own. His name is Tom (aka “runshouse” if you read the comments on this blog) and his device was a cup trick, which you can see on the ground in front of his right shoe in the following photo:


I also got a ball tossed by Phil Hughes and caught a home run on a fly. I think it was hit by Wilson Betemit. I’m not sure, but I can tell you that I made a pretty nice play on it. I was standing about 10 rows back in straight-away right field when the batter lifted a high/deep fly ball a bit to my right. I quickly determined that it was going to reach the stands but fall short of my row, so I climbed onto the bench in front of me and then cut diagonally–down and to my right–by stepping directly from one bench to the next. As the ball was in mid-air, I shifted my gaze between the benches (so I wouldn’t break my face) and the ball (so I wouldn’t lose it against the bright sky) and reached the spot where it landed at the last second. Several people without gloves reached up for it. I kinda reached through them (without bumping into anyone) and made a back-handed catch that drew applause from everyone in the section. It wasn’t a dazzling play by any means, but it still felt good.

You know what else felt good? All four of my balls to that point were commemorative:


Sadly, though, when the Yankees jogged off the field at 5:40pm, the White Sox were nowhere in sight:


Eventually some Sox pitchers came out and played catch along the left field foul line, but because there’s no access between the bleachers and the main part of the stadium, this was as close as I could get:


Nice view…sort of…but not ideal for getting another ball…at least not at first. After about 10 minutes, two of the pitchers–Ehren Wassermann and Mike MacDougal–walked all the way out to the bullpen to do some more throwing. Wassermann started off on the mound with MacDougal crouching for him behind the plate. When they switched and MacDougal walked past me, I asked if he’d be able to spare the ball when he was done. (I put in my request early because there was another fan with a glove and a White Sox cap.) He looked up and nodded, then pitched to Wassermann for another five minutes or so, and finally hooked me up with the ball.

That was it.

I spent the whole game in the right field bleachers, standing in various tunnels…


…and hoping to catch a home run off the bat of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, and/or Griffey, but the Fantastic Four went a combined 0-for-15 with six strikeouts.

Bobby Abreu tossed his 9th inning warm-up ball directly over my head–30 feet over–and Mariano Rivera mowed down Chicago on seven pitches to earn his 36th save of the season and preserve reliever Phil Coke’s first major league win.

Final score: Zack 5, Yankees 4, White Sox 2.

I’m thinking the Sox skipped BP because they’d swept a doubleheader the night before and probably didn’t arrive in New York City until the wee hours. The question is…did they score a measly two runs because they were tired or because they neglected to take BP? I already know the answer. I hope Ozzie Guillen knows it too and makes his team hit every day for the rest of this four-game series.


? 5 balls at this game

? 474 balls in 61 games this season = 7.8 balls per game.

? 557 consecutive games with at least one ball

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

? 3,751 total balls


  1. puckcollector@optonline.net

    when i went on sunday, almost every ball in the yankees bp bins were commemerative

  2. puckcollector@optonline.net

    i wont be in the bleachers, but zack, and greg, ill try to say hello from across the gap during BP today

  3. Txbaseballfan

    Oh well, it’s just making for a great build up at a future game! Plus it’s another chance for your rib to heal! Still, 5 balls is a decent haul, nice job! Brian

  4. padreleigh

    Hi Zack…

    I’d take 5 balls. That would be a good day for me. Ha ha. Hopefully, the Fantastic Four will give you a better day today. Good luck with your next game.


  5. padreleigh

    Hello Dan in Denver…

    So, you have to give me the scoop. I saw your buddy (don’t know his name) catch the fence scraper HR. It was Matt Antonelli’s first career HR. I saw him get the “Clean Catch” pin. They had the camera on you guys for a while. Did he trade the ball back? What did he get from the Padres in trade if he did? Also, I saw the sign for Emily. Happy 5th Birthday Emily!! Ha ha. You got some real good TV time last night. Man, I love your seat location. We’ve all been talking about getting Antonelli’s first HR in San Diego. I had a feeling he’d hit one in Colorado though and I guess I was right. It kind of sucks too because he hit it in what would be our general area in PECTO. First couple rows of LF. Oh well. Hope your friend got something good in trade. Let me know the scoop.


  6. runshouse

    It was nice meeting you at the Stadium last night. Too bad Chicago didn’t have BP though. See you on Wednesday and good luck tonight.

  7. 07nlchamps

    Hey Leigh, Danny is the one that caught the ball. He hadn’t caught one all year, so I didn’t interfere with him catching it. I kind of stood there and watched hoping it would make it over, and not hit the bar. He just kind of threw his glove out not knowing if it would hit the bar or not, and caught it perfect. They came over and wanted to exchange the ball for another ball, and I told him he better at least get a bat for it and a ball, and that is what he got. They had a really hard time giving him a bat, it was pretty pathetic. What inning did you see Emily’s sign? It was her 5th birthday yesterday, and 222nd Rockies game. Dan

  8. 07nlchamps

    By the way, it WAS Chris Los who hacked into Don’s blog, and he issued an apology, a pretty pathetic one at that, and is getting banned from MLBlogs for good.

  9. 07nlchamps

    Hey Zack, I forgot to tell you. I talked to Heath Bell for 5 or 6 minutes last night during bp, he said to tell you hi next time I talked to you. Robert and I tried calling you on your cell but figured you were busy at the game. I have been to over 900 games in the last 12 years, and talked to A LOT of players, but he by far was the nicest I had ever talked to. Talk to you soon. Dan

  10. zackhample

    I need to leave for Yankee Stadium in half an hour, and I still have a bunch of other things to do, so unfortunately I won’t be able to catch up on comments from previous entries this afternoon. But as for the comments on THIS entry…

    You’re such an optimist. :-)

    You see? There IS something good about the Yankees. See you soon.

    Thanks, as always. Hopefully today will be even better.

    The “F.F.” can’t possibly be any worse today. One of them *has* to hit a homer at some point during this four-game series. I just hope Griffey plays today against Andy Pettitte.

    Nice meeting you too. Bring the book on Wednesday, and I’ll either sign it before the stadium opens or after BP.

    Cool story about Danny getting that ball, but tell me this…how exactly did my name come up with Heath Bell? Did you call him over and just ask if he knew me? Did he actually know my name? It’d be pretty cool if he knows me as “Zack” because no other player has ever known my name. Well…maybe Ryan Speier because he told me he’s been to my web site, but I doubt he remembered it.

  11. clinton_seymour@eku.edu

    Zach, hope the rib is feeling better. I wrote you before and had an interesting night last night at PNC Park that I wanted to share with you. The Dodgers were in town, and Manny hit a foul ball farely close to me that a young girl ended up with. Several innings later I approached her and tried to convince her to sell me the ball or trade it for two pearls that I caught in BP earlier that day. She considered the trade but really wanted to attempt to get the ball signed by Manny or Joe Torre after the game. Unfortunately I broke the news to her that I have never seen any players of any significant ability sign post game. However, as I was talking to her, some joke from the Pirates hit a foul ball that took an incredible bounce off the empty seats (8,000 in attendance, if that) right to me. I was still interested in the ball but after examining it there were no distinguishing bat marks or anything so I headed over to try and get a ball from home plate ump Fieldin Culbreth. This is when my night changed from good to amazing. The past three games I have attended I have been able to get balls from home plate umpires so I assumed tonight would be no different. As Mr. Culbreth walked off the field he reached into his ball bag and took out two balls. Unlucky for me, there were two oblivious young kids exiting their seats that he called to and gave them each a ball. I asked politely for one, he reached into his ball bag, but realized he was all out. “Sorry man, I’m all out” he said. No big deal, I had a foul ball I didn’t need another one so I told him its no problem and turned around and headed out of the park. Suddenly I heard someone yell “Hey, come back here!” I turned around and could see Mr. Culbreth’s head poking out. I walked back over and he offered me the lineup cards. Of course I took them and thanked him but I would have rather had a baseball…until I looked at the lineup card. The Dodgers blue lineup card featured Joe Torre’s signature at the bottom. It was amazing, and here I was an hour earlier telling that girl not to waste her time trying to get a Joe Torre autograph. Crazy how that stuff works. Good luck at your next game man.

  12. 07nlchamps

    Here is what was said, as I can remember.
    Dan- Hey Heath, that was pretty cool what you did for Zack in San Diego a couple of weeks ago.
    Heath – (Looking puzzled) What did I do?
    Dan – You got that Opening Day ball for Zack, and called a fan sitting near him from another fan’s phone.
    Heath – Oh, Zack, yah, I looked at his blog, and didn’t realize he categorized his balls, I just thought he collected them.
    That is when I asked him how the whole cell phone thing came about, and he asked how I knew you. Then he says, “Are you the guy the catches all the home runs here?” I said, I’ve caught a few. He said, “Didn’t you catch like a couple in a game?” I said, well, I caught two in the same 1/2 of an inning a couple of years ago. He said that has probably never happened before has it. I told him I have a letter from Bud Selig telling me he couldn’t find anybody in the offices at MLB that remembered such a thing.
    Coincidentally, Bud Selig was at the game that I caught the two home runs, so that is why he actually took interest in the feat. The reason Bud Selig had my address was because I had to get permission from MLB to get a copy of the game,(since I didn’t record it), so I sent a letter and addressed it to him, not thinking he would ever read it, but he did, and sent me the letter back. A week later, I had the whole game on tape without commercials.

  13. padreleigh

    Hey Dan…

    That’s cool about Danny. Sorry the Padres were so pathetic about the bat. I was kind of wondering if you let him have some space. I didn’t even see you get up. Well, good for him. I saw Emily’s sign leaning against the seat during the whole post home run shots. They got some good shots of the whole family. Good luck tonight.


    That’s very cool about the lineup cards.


  14. 07nlchamps

    I’m still trying to figure out when you saw the sign. Let me know. I was watching the replay, and haven’t seen it yet. Dan

  15. mlbwhiz

    Zack, sounds like decent day.
    Bye the Way, the comment glitch I think is now fixed because I can now comment much better.

  16. nycautographcollector

    what a loser that chris los kid is…im glad he understands what he did was wrong (or at least says he understands)

    but what annoys me more is the fact that after he admits to hacking into Don’s blog…he strait up denies the fact that it was unintentional. “It wasn’t planned but I admit I was successful in getting into the site. I must admit, at the time of getting into the site, I was surprised that this actually worked but then after thinking about it, I knew it was the wrong thing to have done.” he writes. “This also shows everyone that you need to stand up and say when your wrong and I truly was in this case.”

    and then after he “appologizes” he tries to make himself sound like a good guy by telling everyone how you need to man up after you make a mistake like that

    he is really lucky that hes like 15 or whatever cause if he were 16/18 based on his states law…he and his family could be in alot of trouble…

    he needs to grow up and basically say “i hacked into this guys blog…it was wrong i made a mistake…i must deal with the concequences of my actions.” but no he tries to make it seem like it was an accident and best and he accidentally deleted someones blog cause he thought it was him who had done it to him a year ago or whatever

    so…to DON (rock pile planter) im incredibly sorry to hear of what happened to you and your blog…its so hard to see someone yet alone your own work, something you cherish like that gone in the blink of an eye cause some stupid 15 year old has no common sense and thinks he can do whatever he want s without getting caught

    to chris…man up, you know you made a mistake whether it was intentional or not you made a mistake and deserve whatever reprimands mlblogs has placed upon you

    to everyone…its sad that this happened and its just a reminder to everyone that you may think youre safe when your really not…let it be a lesson learned for chris, for don, for everyone lets move on and live our lives and not make this into a huge deal like it was with chris maybe a 2 months ago…like it was where everyone was flipping out

  17. padreleigh


    The Channel 4 feed in San Diego had a side shot of your area and you guys from the Center Field camera. I saw a sign leaning against a seat that said something like, “It’s my 5th birthday!” I saw you and a woman sitting next to each other and Emily was standing in front of you guys. I think she was wearing pink. This was during or right after the home run. Hope that helps.


  18. carterana@yahoo.com

    hey Zach!

    I was the teenager with my dad standing and talking to you at the gate before the game on monday, i think that the next time i go to a major leage game i am deffinitly going to use some of the tricks you do. Thanks for all of the advice and for taking a picture with me and talking to me and my father as well.

    If you want you can email me..carterana25@yahoo.com, I typed my email wrong when i signed up.


  19. gjk2212

    im sure ill find out soon enough about this giambi homer..

    and chris los’s blog is blank. somebody hacked him or it was deleted. good. serves him right for calling me trash.

  20. clinton_seymour@eku.edu

    zach, just watching baseball tonight and I think I recognized you catching Jason Giambi’s home run. I’m sure we will here from you soon if it was the case.

  21. puckcollector@optonline.net

    well my night sucked. could have been worse though. il try to comment about last night and sunday tommorow

  22. zackhample

    It’s funny how a stupid five-second dance can attract so much attention. Anyway, yes, that was me. I caught Giambi’s homer. I’m in the process of getting the footage from a friend who taped the game. Hopefully I’ll have the blog entry up by the time I leave for the stadium later today (Wednesday) at around 3pm. Obviously I have a lot to say…

  23. padreleigh

    Hey Zack…

    Holy crap!!! It’s a homerfest!! That is awesome. I didn’t see the footage of the homer or the dance yet, but I will in the morning. First I read of it was here. TC gets two, I get two, Danny in Colorado gets one and now you get one. What a week!! I can’t wait to get off of work to see the video!! Can’t wait to read the entry either. Get it typed up quick….later.


  24. baseballexperiences

    Nice dance aftr the homer, the footage was great. Will u be going to any post season games if the mets get in? Congrats. Joe

  25. puckcollector@optonline.net

    oh, and hey chris if ur reading this, just man up and write a real apology. you dont get how easy you’re getting off. i dont know whats the laws are for candaian minors are, but in america, you can face up to 20 YEARS in jail. now you wouldnt have that much, but don could have easliy brought this issue to court, and, you get away with giving an “im sorry i got caught” apology, instead of a sincere one. you hacked 2 other accounts of his, so it was not by coincidence, and it WAS personal. also why would he send you free gifts if he was the guy **** scammed you?

    but coming from you im not suprised. you lie through your teeth all the (ex. from your last entry you said that there was no BP but you found a ball in the seats. the chances of that are slim to none)

    you’re getting away easy chris, so just write a real apolgy bacause thats what you would expect if this happened to you, and i hope that your parents would expect that of you.

  26. snagfan

    Awesome catch/dance Zack. Saw your footage on SC this morning. Saved it on Tivo.

    Fun Stuff,

    Mike in Detroit

  27. gregb123

    Just saw the homer video! Awesome! You really had no competition. I guess it wasn’t as dramatic as I thought in person. Oh well. It was still cool to be there when it happened.

  28. zackhample

    EVERYONE (and especially Puck Collector)-
    The whole incident with Don’s blog is *very* upsetting, and while a certain someone undeniably deserves to be bashed, I’d appreciate it if wouldn’t happen here. I want MY blog to be a positive place, and I don’t want to encourage a war or words with anyone north of the border. Okay? Now, if you’ll excuse me for a few hours, I need to blog about last night’s game at Yankee Stadium.

  29. puckcollector@optonline.net

    ok zack, and ill remeber this. you singled me out( even though i may be deserving). i will find a way to get you back somehow (hopefully)

  30. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Well, when I ran into the stadium at 10, I did not expect BP. The teams had played a double header the night before, and it was a 12 noon Sunday game. As I sprinted through the tunnel the nets were up but the Yankees weren?t out yet. As I went to make the turn to the seats, I took a big spill in a small puddle of water. My elbow was scraped up, and it felt like there would be a giant purple bruise on my butt the next day, but there wasn?t. It was pretty embarrassing, but I probably looked kind of funny. My family commented on how much they would have paid to see the fall. Anyway, as BP started, Johnny Damon hit a ball that bounced off the façade of the lodge, into an empty row. I scooped it up, and found that it was a brand new commemorative! Jose Verse denied me as he?s done all season, and then threw a ball to someone else, but he sucks so it?s okay. I didn?t get anything else during the first round of BP, but during the second round, A-Rod came up. He was trying to go opposite way on almost every ball, and he was CRUSHING the ball. I would have probably caught one on a fly, if not for the guy who seat I was standing on showed up a minute before he launched one. It bounced into the gap, and a cop threw it to a kid. But he hammered a ball about 8 rows back, and a guy dropped it in the middle of the aisle. It bounced into the last section of seats (there are only 2 seats, then the retaining wall) and 3 guys dove into the row. I stayed back hoping maybe the ball would trickle down. And it did! I picked it up as it rolled down the row to the bottom of another lady?s feet. This was also a commemorative. The Yankees ended bp soon after, and I headed to my seats behind the rays dugout. Before the game, I got David Price (if you don?t know who he is, you will next season) to sign the A-rod ball right on the sweet spot. He seemed nice. I got Jason Bartlett to throw me his pre-game warm-up ball, and then that was it for the day. It was awful! There were like a million kids, and I couldn?t get anything, even with a Ray?s hat! Of course when I left to go get dippin dots, cuz it was like 95 degrees out, the kid sitting behind me, who also was behind me every time I went down to the dugout after the final out got a batting glove! Just my luck. At least I got to see Jeter tie Gehrig’s records for most hits in Yankee Stadium.

    Now for the second game from hell.

    I got to the gates at around 4:45 and there was a big line. I figured I would go see zack and greg at the bleacher entrance. It turned out that this was a good move because zack informed me of a fellow reader who would be waiting on line, and sure enough he was there, 3rd in line, and no body complained when I cut the line and went to go chat with him. (oh, and greg, next time, I?ll shake your hand first :) when the gates opened the guy who had to check your bag took forever and I ran in a minute or two late. I didn?t get a single ball the entire time during Yankees BP, and I was fuming. Finally, when the white sox took the field, two balls rolled right up against the wall on the warning track. I lowered my glove, but my rubber band was just too tight. When I tried again it still didn?t work, a white sox player pushed the glove down and walked away. As I was bringing the glove up, the 10 YEAR-OLD next to me swatted the glove and knocked the ball out! I was pissed, and immediately started yelling at his as I went in for another try. He left, and the glove trick still wouldn?t work! I had my White Sox hat on so I was starting to get booed. A really nice guy offered me his cup trick, but I told him one last try. Finally after maybe 7 attempts I got it. The glove I have is so weird. I marked where to put the sharpie, after trying it at home, but when I put it there at a game, it won?t work. I was so aggravated, I left and as I was in my seats (again behind the dugout) Ken Griffin hit a ball that bounced off the lady I was standing next to! My entire goal was to get a ball from griffey! I got two balls as the white sox were coming off the field, and my spirits were raised a little, I still had a chance at 6 or seven balls. This quickly died as I didn?t get a pre game warm-up ball, and once again there were a million little kids in Yankee jerseys, and they got balls tossed to the over me a White Sox ?fan? it also didn?t help that the entire team went into the dugout via, the entrance one section over, and in the 8th when I finally moved to that section, the new first baseman went into the dugout via the entrance in my section, with2 balls in his glove. I got one after the game, but im extremely disappointed.

    Oh, and Jeter broke Lou?s record for hits in Yankee Stadium

    P.S: Zack, in light of the Chris situation, are your blog entries backed up on like a floppy disk or something? Even if you didn?t get hacked, the mlblogs servers might crash or get a virus (although unlikely) and stuff may be deleted. Just a thought.

    PPS: are you going to the final game with WWZ clients, cuz I want the corner spot for that game, even though there may be a camera man there, I want as close to the corner as I can get.

  31. jerseyboy

    Hey Zack,

    Quick question…the top picture you have on this page of you standing with your glove trick, it looks as if it has been cropped. Do you by any chance have the full pic and if so could you send it to me? Thanks a lot.


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