The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (?!)


So as a general rule, I don’t allow myself to get excited about these things too far in advance because they have a tendency to fall through…


It looks pretty certain that I’m gonna be a guest on “The Tonight Show” on Wednesday, October 8th.

The image on the right is a screen shot of the “show calendar” on the site. Check it out. My name is already up there.

For the record, I didn’t choose the title “world’s greatest baseball fan,” but I suppose I can live with that for now.

I’ve watched Leno sporadically over the years, so I’m not an expert on his format. The site says that Dana Carvey is going to be on the show too, so what does that mean? That I’ll be sitting up on the stage with him? That both he AND Leno will be making fun of me simultaneously? Bring it on!

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed that my appearance doesn’t get canceled. Assuming everything goes according to plan, I might not have a chance to blog again…ever. Just kidding, but seriously, it might be a few days before I get a chance to check back in.



    First comment! Hey, Zack, long time reader, first time commenter. I’ve read your blog for about a year, but most recently, your accomplishments have blown me away. It’s one thing to get a bunch of BP balls, but to get so many home run balls is quite remarkable. Good luck on the Tonight Show!

  2. panzz


  3. sportzfreeka

    Oh My God Zack that would be crazy! The Tonight show is the greatest out of all three late night shows. Well good luck and I’ll be watching from Seattle!



    Hey man, congrats on the catches. Would you consider this your most memorable season of snagging, or is there another one?

  5. goisles

    Congratulations. That is unbelievably awesome.

    Two things come to mind:

    1) You’ll probably be asked to do you dance; and
    2) If you could get Jay Leno to plug your books and Watch with Zack business, you’ll be set for 2009.

    Good luck.

  6. goisles

    One more thing. I think you need to bring the big glove and promote it as your secret weapon!

  7. districtboy

    Man Zack, that’s sweet! Who was the 1000th different player or coach to throw you a ball? I must have missed it on a previous entry, sorry. Anyway, fatherpuck is right, you’re WWZ demand will probably increase dramatically after your appearance on the show. (Knock on wood/head)



    Yes Z,is the 2nite show a paying gig?Isaw the HR at boston go in the parking lot,what a shot.who got it?The NLCS?ALCS balls are just reg mlb balls,no logo .David letterman next?padreleigh lets go to nbc studios, zack s back


    Does anyone know or want to sell a ball from Yankee Stadium (BP used or game used) this year to me for my son’s collection? I am sure it would be something that he could show his kids, just like the one I have from Griffey Sr. back in the day at Yankee Stadium. Contact me at my email:

    Thanks! I really appreciate it… Steiner is asking a fortune for balls, which is totally unfair for us fans!

    Zack- that is so cool to be on Leno… who knows maybe Letterman follows….

    If I come to NYC can i buy your ticket and you get me a ball?


    jeff: you want a used one right cuz if you just want the comm. ball they sell em for like 20 bucks, but they are all wrapped up in a ball cube and werent used by the pros.

    if you want a bp ball, email me a what you think is reasonable. i need money so id be willing to break one of zacks cardinal rules of never selling a ball.

  11. braves04

    The Tonight Show is one of my favorite shows, so I will definitely be watching and recording. I got to attend his show 2 years ago and it was a lot of fun. I know you’ll have a great time. Congratulations!


    congratulations zack! i watch that show sometimes and its a good show. i’ll be sure to watch for you.

  13. zackhample

    My flight and hotel are now booked (courtesy of “The Tonight Show”) so it appears that this is really going to happen.

    Thanks so much. I recently started trying to catch more “quality balls” and I’m really glad it paid off. Welcome to the comments section. :-)

    What’s up, Andre? A lot of people have been emailing me and asking for shout-outs. Other people have gotten in touch and offered to pay me to wear a hat or shirt with their company’s logo. The answer is…that none of that stuff is allowed on the show, so unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to acknowledge anyone, but know that I’ll be thinking of you.

    I’m honored.

    That’d be pretty sweet…but then I’d have to find my way back to L.A. My return flight is already scheduled for October 9th.


    Thanks. This has definitely been the best season, but 1999 (when my first book came out) was also pretty crazy.

    1) That’s fine. It’s what got me all this attention in the first place.
    2) Fingers crossed.
    3) I mentioned the Big Glove to the producer, but he doesn’t want to go there.

    I forget who No. 1,000 was. It doesn’t matter to me because it’s not a complete list. There’ve been so many guys who’ve thrown me balls that I couldn’t identify, so the number should be more like 1,100.

    Thanks very much. I heard about the Bisons…cool.

    I am indeed getting paid, but don’t ask me how much because I won’t tell you. I saw that homer too. Don’t remind me. Letterman? Who’s THAT? :-)

    I doubt Letterman would want me after Leno has me on. These shows are all about getting the scoop first. I’ll be old news as soon as this thing airs. Thanks for the ticket/ball offer, but I don’t want to promise anything for next season. I have no idea how tough it’s going to be to snag in NYC or if I’ll even want to go to that many games. I might focus on Philly and Baltimore.

    Very cool! I’m not sure if we’ll get a chance to talk before the taping, but afterwards? Let’s make something happen.

    Glad to hear that…and thanks.

    Thank you!

  14. padreleigh

    Hey Zack…

    Think I might go to the show too. It’s funny because I was just in LA for Game 3 Dodgers vs. Cubs. Now, I have to drive back up. I hate LA traffic. I’ll try and give you a call or vice versa if I’m going to make it to the show. I have to work and all, but I might be able to squeeze it in.


  15. dodgerduder

    Hey Zack!

    Congrats on making it to Leno! Game 3 at DS was the best game i’ve ever been to, it didn’t even feel like the same stadium.

    Feel free to email me while your in L.A if you need anything…. I live just a couple minutes from the Studio in Burbank!!



    I agree! That was incredible, it reminded me of the world series.
    All Dodger Stadium goers-
    Don’t ask me how, but I made it into the Dugout club! They let you stay one hour longer than regular fans, and after the Dodger sweep it was great to be able to stay after. The locker room exits right in the middle of the dugout club so I got 5 autographs:
    Hiroki Kuroda(winning pitcher)
    Delwyn Young
    Joe Beimel(really nice guy)
    Matt Kemp
    Jon Lovitz(actor)
    My friend got MANNY while I was away for a second but its all good. After the game Matt Kemp and Delwyn Young came and partied in the dugout club room! Imagine celebrating with major leaguers after they just won a playoff series. It was a dream come true.
    A great night for me as well as the Dodgers.

    Oh yeah, I got one ball while on the warning track but wasted most of my BP sneaking down because they didn’t allow Top Deck tickets in the Field Level during BP like they normally do.(playoff rules???)


    Zack, awesome news about Leno! Have you figured out what shirt you’re going to wear yet? Argosy? Scrabble Champ? Guilford? Baseball is Life? So many decisions!

    Any idea what you’re going to do on the show? Definitely bring your 2 books and some baseballs, and the glove trick. I like the idea of bringing the huge baseball glove too. Too bad you can’t get in touch with the company that makes it, and see if they’ll compensate you for the free publicity! haha Hey, everybody’s gotta make a buck, right?

  18. baseballtourist

    Zack…looking forward to seein you on the leno show! Congrats! Check out this link…they need to spell your last name correctly! chris

    11:34 PM
    10:34 PM The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 3636 – DANA CARVEY, ZACK HEMPLE, MARC BROUSSARD All New

  19. zackhample

    I just arrived in Burbank, CA (with Jona). This thing is really happening. I’m meeting a couple of producers tomorrow at 8:30am, which might sound insanely early, but it’ll feel like 11:30am to me, so it’s all good. Anyway, I gotta run for now…watching the debate (which I encourage everyone to do) and then grabbing dinner with my half-brother. More later…


    Good luck on the show, Have fun with it. You know you getr a gift basket when you appear. Love to know what they give you.
    Don’t forget to take your door plate, too!
    Too bad Dave didn;t ask you, since you’re a New Yorker.
    Will tape it, (I work night shift).
    Have a great trip; hope you get to a Phillies game while out there. Dan (We met at Coors Field)

  21. zackhample

    It’s 2:10pm here in California. A car is picking me up in 20 minutes to take me to the studio. The show will be taped from 4 to 5pm. Jona is going with me, and she’ll be sitting in the audience…not sure where, but she’s wearing a turquoise shirt, so look for her. I’m not sure exactly how my segment is going to end, but if it ends with me sitting next to Leno’s desk, I’ll give a secret shout-out to everyone on the blog by taking a sip of water as we go to a commercial break. Hopefully the cameras will catch it. That’s about it for now. I’ll check back in later…

  22. bloggingboutbaseball

    Congrats on the gig! I can’t wait to see the show, man! You’ll be great, I’m sure.


    Z- TC here i have the mets marlins game on video, but only the first 3 innings/your beltran hr not on tape yet,7th inn?/ill save it ,last met game a third at least.beltrans 27th,there is the 3 again brad,any more 3 s?carlos 3rd letter of alph.—–i got #11 drew macias his hr on 9/ 911pm?not sure of time,Go blue crew-man ram beat redsox in WS.and paid by them to do it.

  24. zackhample

    I just got back from dinner after finishing the taping. How did it go? Pretty good overall, I think. I don’t know. There are a few things that could’ve been better, but I won’t really know until I get to see it, so YOU tell ME. It’s 11:22pm on the east coast so the show will be starting in 13 minutes, but out here in California, it’s only 8:22pm, so I still have to wait more than three hours to see it. I don’t know if I can stay up that long. I might just wait ’til I get home and watch a tape of it. Either way, let me know what you’re seeing…

  25. gregb123

    Just watched your Tonight Show segment. I thought it went really well. Leno seemed interested, and you didn’t seem nervous at all. Was that Jona that screamed when you showed the Bonds ball?

  26. cubsfan716

    I made a point to watch Leno tonight. That was awesome. BTW, where can I snag the MLB tee you were wearing?

  27. dianagramr

    Zack …… I just saw it. You were great. Your usual gregarious funny self. You seemed calm and appeared to be having a great time.

    Well done!

  28. dianagram

    Zack …… I just saw it. You were great. Your usual gregarious funny self. You seemed calm and appeared to be having a great time.

    Well done!

  29. gjk2212


    that was pretty cool..ive met a famous guy! too bad leno didnt let you show some more balls like the beltran..not sure if you heard but the guy shreiked in the background when you brought out the bonds ball..but you WERE in ca. anyway, that was really cool, leno seemed pretty cool, and the people laughed alot..congrats. that was really cool.


    where was the water sip!?

    i could tell you wanted to talk longer, and i was glad you didnt get made fun of the way i thought you would.

    and was that jona who yelled when you gave Jay 724?

    oh and they debate stuff was hilarious, and it was true mccain did say my friends like 3816 times.


    Just saw you on the Tonight Show. It was pretty awesome…you looked great. But I didn’t see the secret shout-out! Did you do it after the music? Cuz im still watching the music right now.

    Anyway, nice job.


    Your segment on the leno show was so much fun to watch tonight. Glad to see you?re such a fan ? and keep the streak alive!

  33. zackhample

    Wow, thanks for all the comments. Thanks for staying up late to watch the show. I’m bummed about the secret shout-out. As SOON as my segment ended, I went and took a sip of water from the mug that was on the table in front of me, and I could even see myself doing it on the monitor that was facing me atop the nearest camera…and then the monitor faded to black, so I figured my water-sipping was captured for the world to see…but no, apparently it wasn’t. Oh well. I tried. It’s only 10:15pm here in Cali so I still have to wait a couple more hours to see myself. (My segment, for those who still haven’t seen it, happens late in the show.) But I talked to my parents, and they said it went well, and since they’re not biased at all, I’m feeling good. More later…

  34. rdub202

    hey zack, just saw you on the tonight show and spent quite a bit of time reading other blogs and scanning your site. wish you could have had more time on the show. your blogs are very interesting. carvey took up too much time. i plan on picking your book up and i will be anticipating next baseball season to get some balls at Comerica park here in detroit

  35. Cole

    Hey Zack, I’m so glad that you got this opportunity, as I believe you more than deserve it. If you are interested, I have a very high quality capture device and I recorded your show. If you would like a copy to have on your computer so you can add it to youtube or whatever, I would be more than happy to send you the file. Once again, congratulations and if you need ANY help from the recording side of things, I can be of great assistance!


  36. sportzfreeka

    Great job on the show Zack! That would have been cool if you had a lot more time and maybe demo’d your glove trick or something. He plugged your old book more than your newer one which I thought was interesting.

  37. snagfan


    Awesome performance on the Tonight Show…Leno seemed interested and Dana was funny with his McCain stories…

    Mike in Detroit

    (Looking forward to a prosperous 2009)


    Zack, that was a really fantastic interview. You did a great job. Congratulations!


    Hey Zack,
    I haven’t read the blog in a while but happened to be watching the show last night when they mentioned you were going to be on. I recorded the segment on a dvd. So if you want a hard copy I would get one to you. Congrats on the show and all the publicity you have been getting lately.


  40. Kaybee

    I thought that went really well. It was so cool to see you on TV!! Now go get some sleep!!!

  41. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    Zack , man I was nervous watching you on The Tonight Show (I work early but I stayed up). Props to you brotha, you came across calm, cool and collected. I figured Jay or Dana would try to punk you, but it was all good. You represented baseball snaggers everywhere with dignity, and I thought your piece of the show went off without a hitch. Whats next man? How do you freggin top that?? Give some details Zack, everyone is curious now..Hats off to the Professor of Snag.. (feel free to keep that title)…Don

  42. Jake

    That was cool last night. I watched the show but unfortunately I forgot to tape it. Well, you were great last night – criminal of baseball haha.
    In baseball news the Fall League started on Tuesday 9 autographs and a bat so far…
    Talk to ya later

  43. zackhample

    I just got back from California. I’m planning to write a big entry about my trip. I just emailed someone at “The Tonight Show” to ask what pics I’m allowed to use. Stay tuned…

  44. jere80

    Zack, the next time you’re on national TV, could you dedicate your entire segment to me, and then talk about me the whole time? I also have many things I’d like to do for you and give you–hopefully you’ll accept and then reward me by giving me all the credit for any of your past and future accomplishments. Also, could you sent me all your money? Because I like money and really would like to have a lot of it, and you clearly have some. Could you also send me all your baseballs? I want those, too.

  45. zackhample

    I got permission to use my backstage photos on this blog, so get ready for them. I should have a new entry up at some point this afternoon.

    Sorry you didn’t make it.

    Sorry I didn’t give you a shout when I was there. The people at the show took good care of me, and my schedule was pretty packed from the moment I arrived.

    The dugout club?! Wow, that sounds incredible.

    Well, obviously it’s all over now, so let me just say that I didn’t have much choice in the matter. I picked the shirt, but the actual questions and content of the segment was decided upon by the producers.

    Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I saw it when you first posted it and told my producer about it, and he promised me my name would be spelled right on the show itself…which it was. You get the assist on that one. :-)

    How’d you know that about the door plate? You were absolutely right…and I got it. I’ll show pics of all the goodies in my next entry.

    Thanks. Hope you got a chance to see it.

    Only the first three innings? C’mon!


    Thanks! And believe it or not, it was NOT Jona who screamed. I did notice the scream at the time and didn’t know where she was sitting so I thought it WAS her. Weird.

    Thanks. I bought that shirt directly off the back of a minor leaguer who came to visit his friend at my college about eight years ago. He said he got it from the team at his first day at camp and didn’t want to part with it, so I really had to pay a lot. So…unfortunately the answer is that I have no idea where you can find one.

    Thanks so much!

    Thanks, duuuuude. The plan was for me to show all the balls and play the Beltran clip in the middle of the segment, but we ran out of time…of course.

    I sipped, but it didn’t get shown. I thought I was gonna get dissed (more) too. Not Jona who yelled. (See my answer above to Greg.)

    I’m bummed about the sip. Stupid Beltran clip played right over it. Anyway, thanks.


    I wish I’d had more time too. Good luck in Comerica next year.

    Thanks for the link.

    Thanks sooo much for the offer. I’m gonna send you a separate email…

    The glove trick nearly made an appearance.


    Thank you.

    Thanks. But you don’t like Dana? He was cool.

    Wow, thanks. I’m gonna be emailing you too.

    Sleep…yes. I got about eight hours of it last night, and I feel GR8.

    Great meeting you too, and yes, thanks to your heads up, I was able to see you AND the ball. Very cool.

    Thanks for sacrificing sleep to watch the show, and thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you feel well represented by the Professor of Snag…heh, I like that. I have no idea how to top that. I guess I’ll just have to get my own TV show next.

    No worries about taping it. It looks like I’ll be able to get a copy from other people here, and anyway, it’s archived online. Nice work so far at the AFL.

    Money and baseballs…coming right up. Just send me your address.


    well u were good but you were trumped in my opinion by leno’s segment where he was the debate moderator. sorry.

    anyone want tix to isles opening night?

  47. gjk2212

    for the coliseum? how much?

    im off to prudential right now for opening night

    lets go islanders!!

  48. MLBallhawk

    Actually the best segment was the one that you guys at home only saw a minute and half of. Jay and Gilbert Godfreid went on for about 4 minutes with GG being the Fatest Guys woman. At one point GG was lifting his skirt and going on with some less than appropriate jokes. It was some funny S**T for sure!

    Thankfully that was all that they cut out of the show!

    My post from going to the show is up!



    gjk: nevermind bout opening night. at first my dad was gonna miss it, and without him i dont have a ride but now he can go.

    hopefully i can get puck number 100 tommorow

  50. beng

    ZACK! Great performance on Leno. I recorded it and showed it the next day at school during my Scrabble elective class. You are a natural-born TV star; it was a lot of fun to watch.


    Zack, I want to add my congratulations to you on your spectacular season. Watching you on Sportscenter and Jay Leno was fun for me. Of course they wouldn?t have meant that much if I hadn?t been following your blog all season. I used a lot of your tips with my kids and together the three of us were able to collect 22 balls during 13 BP?s this season. Another highlight for me was meeting you at Dodger Stadium on Memorial Day. Your friend Brandon took a picture of you me and my kids, but I forgot to take one. I was wondering if there was any way I could get you or Brandon to send that picture to me. It would be a great addition to my scrapbook of the season.

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