Winter Friday

I’m not making plans to attend the World Baseball Classic. I’m not
thinking about pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training. It’s winter. My mind is everywhere, and baseball is but a minuscule portion of it.

Along these lines, I have two photos to share from this past Friday. The first was taken at my writing group (which, on this blustery night, took place in a friend’s 40th floor penthouse overlooking Times Square) during the first hour when everyone was actually writing. In case you can’t recognize me without a baseball cap, I’m the one wearing the “YSOP” shirt. (I love trying to think of things that those letters could stand for. “Youth Service Opportunity Program” is so boring. Any ideas? I’d share a few, but they’re all R-rated.) And BTW, the guy lying down and wearing the green shirt is Leon Feingold.


After the writing I headed downtown and met up with my girlfriend and a few other friends at place called Don Hill’s, which I can only describe as a punk-indie/club-bar. I didn’t arrive until about 2am, and shortly thereafter this is what was happening:


That’s about it.


  1. ceetar

    Ha..I need a writing group, maybe then I’d know, write? (Were you writing this entry in the picture?)

    for the baseball front, I couldn’t be thinking more about it. I just booked a trip to Spring Training: MIN v PIT, NYM v DET, WAS v NYM, WBC round two, NYM v FLR. Sitting front row behind the Mets ‘bullpen’ at Tradition Field. If i was a little more outspoken, I’d say I’d be virtually guaranteed a ball.

    I spent a couple of hours last year when i saw you in the YSOP shirt at Shea trying to think if what it meant. I failed miserably, don’t wish to try again. :-)


  2. jobajr26

    I just thought of a great one for YSOP, But I probably shouldn’t share it Haha.

    Punk/Indie bar huh? Going old school I see.


    what makes this inaguration so important? yes obama is black black, but although that is a significant step, there is a lot less racism them when you were growing up. and between spending for the campaign and the innaguartaion, hes gonna doulble what bush spent in his 8 years if he keeps up the spending spree. to me, a kid, an innaguartion is swearing in and giving a speech. you dont need concerts and parties. its like in baseball how the batter doesnt need to step out of the box after every pitch and grab his balls and fix his batting glove and it just slows down the game. obama would also be spenidng just as much in afghanastan and innocent people would also be killed there (because lets face it innocent people die in every war.) and id rather let innocent people there die then have another 9/11. and dont forget 296 congress men also voted for the war. and if i remeber correctly he said he would go to war in rawanda where it doesnt affect america at all, like iraq and afghanastan did.

    Yankee Stadium October Pennant? You Suport Obama’s Presidency? idk YSOP is a tough one.

  4. jere80

    I think it has to be Youth Service…..

    If your shirt was green with lower case letters, I’d say it was something different, but the white capital letters on blue seems to be Youth Service….’s trademark. Although their current Y is different, and their letters are thinner and touching. I’d guess your shirt represents their logo circa ’85, and later they tried to modernize it to stay hip….

  5. baseballtourist

    Zack! Belated Happy new year to you and yours!

    YSOP…is German for Hyssop:

    Hyssop (Hyssopus) is a genus of about 10-12 species of herbaceous or semi-woody plants in the family Lamiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to central Asia. They are aromatic, with erect branched stems up to 60 cm long covered with fine hairs at the tips. The leaves are narrow oblong, 2-5 cm long. The small blue flowers are borne on the upper part of the branches during summer. By far the best-known species is the Herb Hyssop (H. officinalis), widely cultivated outside its native area in the Mediterranean.
    The name ‘hyssop’ can be traced back almost unchanged through the Greek hyssopos and Hebrew esob[1]. In the New Testament, a sponge soaked in sour wine or vinegar was stuck on a branch of hyssop and offered to Jesus of Nazareth on the cross just before he died[2]. Both Matthew and Mark mention the occasion but refer to the plant using the general term “kalamos”, which is translated as “reed” or “stick”. The Book of Exodus records that the blood of the sacrifices was applied to the doorposts using hyssop on the night of Passover. Its purgative properties are also mentioned in the Book of Psalms. [3]

    Hyssop is used as an ingredient in eau de Cologne and the liqueur Chartreuse. It is also used to color the liquor Absinthe, along with Melissa and Roman wormwood. Hyssop is also used, usually in combination with other herbs such as liquorice, in herbal remedies, especially for lung conditions.

    Culinary use
    Hyssop is often used to fill the Catholic ceremonial sprinkling stick, which the priest dips into a bowl of holy water, and sprinkles onto the congregation to bless them. Hyssop leaves have a slightly bitter minty flavour and can be added to soups, salads or meats, although should be used sparingly as the flavour is very strong.

  6. zackhample

    I know a lot of people. Some have money. Some don’t.

    I was just writing in my journal during the meeting. Sounds like you’ve planned an amazing trip.

    Yeah, it might get bleeped by the strict filtering system on MLBlogs. As for the club, it wasn’t my choice but I definitely enjoyed it. I was able to wear sneakers and it only cost $5 to get in.

    Obama’s gonna have to spend a lot of money to undo Bush’s mistakes.


    I like it.


    Good call, but you’re a few years off. I got that shirt in 8th grade…so that would’ve been 1990-ish.



    yeah and bush was a moron, but i think a lot of money is going to be spent to undo obamas (slthough i do agree partially agree about iraq. more troops should be in afghanistan and not iraq, but i dont think we should completly pack up and leave. everyone new from the beginning this was a long term investment and id rather have it done right and take 10-15 yrs then have to do it all over again in 20 yrs and start from scratch)


    obamas mistakes that is and sorry for the awful grammar, its late and im depressed bout the isles

  9. .

    Zack – I honestly don’t know how you don’t have baseball on your mind right now. I work everyday at a restaurant so it’s not like I have to focus on a lot but BASEBALL is definitely 95% of my thoughts. This season to me is going to be something new and hopefully (because I’m a Mets fan) this season turns out to be a successful one. I recently bought a Friday 15 Game pack and I am also attending the April 3, 2009 Exhibition Game against the Red Sox. Section 128, Row 2 — almost perfect foul ball territory. Hey, at least I’ll be right next to the ball boy haha. So I haven’t spoke to you in awhile and I’m sorry if someone has already asked but I’m interested to what your plans are for this season if any plans so far at all? I understand we have twenty-three days until pitchers and catchers report but THE Zack Hample has to have something up his sleeve! Let me know…Happy New Year kid! Obama’s Inauguration is today…finally, someone with brains. Be safe…

    – Donnie

  10. baseballexperiences

    To the hockey fans who read, im going next saturday to the islanders vs panthers game. i do not know any players in hockey, maybe 5. if any1s gonna be there let me know. Joe


    OMG! i was watching the innauguration in school and when Obam messed up on the oath the entire auditorium started cracking up! it was hilarious.

    joe are you planning on trying to get a puck?

  12. zackhample

    To set the record straight, Obama didn’t mess anything up. It was (Republican) Chief Justice John Roberts who made the mistake and butchered the constitution. Oopsie-daisy:

    Good one!

    I really don’t have any plans yet for 2009, in terms of attending specific games.

    Put that on your resume. :-)

    Please forgive Puck Collector. I hope his false accusation won’t deter you from reading this blog. Thanks for all your support.

  13. baseballtourist

    Zack…so sorry about the long winded diatribe entry about the meaning of YSOP. I truly meant only to put a sentence in there, but cut ‘n pasted the entire Wikepedeia entry. Very lame! chris

  14. baseballtourist

    Zack…sorry about the long-winded diatribe on the YSOP meaning. I meant only to add a sentence somehow cut ‘n pasted the entire Wikepedia page. Lame! chris

  15. gjk2212

    hey everyone, long time no comment..i think.

    just finished planning my first ever st trip, im pretty excited. if anyone is gonna be at any of these games, let me know and well meet up

    March 7-Osceola County Stadium
    Cardinals at Astros, Kissimmee 1:05 pm

    March 8-Champion Stadium
    Phillies at Braves, Orlando 1:05 pm

    March 9-Space Coast Stadium
    Astros at Nationals, Melbourne 7:05 pm

    March 10-Space Coast Stadium
    Mets at Nationals, Melbourne 1:05 pm

    March 11-Roger Dean Stadium
    Cardinals at Marlins, Jupiter 1:05 pm

    March 12-Tradition Field
    Marlins at Mets, Port St Lucie 7:10 pm

    March 13-Roger Dean Stadium
    Braves at Marlins, Jupiter 1:05 pm
    Orioles at Cardinals, Jupiter 7:05 pm

    8 games in 7 days..its gonna be exhausting but im doing it. its my senior yr of hs, who knows when ill get to do this again? im so pumped for the 13th, 4 teams 2 games in 1 day at the same stadium! lots of driving, but whatever.

    btw zack, just random, i referenced you in my college essay, which was centered around growing up through baseball. its mostly about shea, but i threw you like 2 sentences…

    side note, i dont like or hate obama, but i hope he turns our country around..i just ate a really good bagel if anyone cares..peace for now


    yeah, but obama cut him off in the beginning so i guess they both got nervous and confused each other. happy?

  17. baseballexperiences

    Puck- i may try for one, i think my ticket is a good spot to get one, but ive only been to 2 games lifetime a while ago. Any suggestions how to get 1? r u gonna be there?

  18. meikd423


    how are you going to those games??? It seems like one day, you’ll be on the east coast of florida, then you’ll drive to the west coast the next day, and drive right back to the east coast. are you flying down there or driving?

    I got a package on the mets website that includes flights, hotel and any game between the 19th and the 20t. im going to three games (two in port st. lucie, and 1 in for lauderdale). i cant wait.

    lol, you just had a good bagel.

  19. gjk2212

    nah, i mapped it all out, i got a half hr drive, an hour drive, a 2 hr drive, and 2 45 min drives..thats the only week im free and thats how it mapped out. i dont mind driving that far, ill be by myself..ill just take it easy and wander around florida..

    and that was a really, really good bagel. like when you eat something and you just want to yell. yeah, it was one of those.

  20. meikd423

    nice, that sounds awesome. hahaha i love when i eat something to yell about hahaha.

    My spring will go a little something like this.

    im gonna fly down to florida on wednesday, march 18th at 3. im gonna sleep at my grandpa’s house and go to the mets v. astros game at tradition field on thursday. i will then drive down to fort lauderdale to see the mets play the orioles on the road. Im then driving back up to port st lucie and staying at a hotel this time, but visiting my grandpa the next day. then, the last day, sunday im going to a mets v. braves game at tradition field on sunday. That sunday, i have this thing where i can go to a pre game lunch with the players (after BP) and get autographs and stuff. i will then fly back after the game and go to school the next day :(

  21. meikd423


    your going the 17th?!?!?!??! crap, im going the 18th. unless you made a typo. is there any chance you could also go to the game on the 18th too?

  22. bigglovebob

    Zack, I went to Twinsfest today and it was huge. The signed balls in the silent auction were the Metrodome final season commemorative balls. The first I had seen one. They looked nice. However, none of the booths were selling them yet. I did get a mint condition 1991 World Series ball in a cube for $25. Not too bad IMO. I am hoping to get Jack Morris to sign it.
    I was able to snag an unbelieveable single ticket on a 20 game plan. I was able to actually sit in that exact seat today at the fest. It is above the tunnel to the Twins clubhouse. It is literally in the first friggin row of regular seats. There is a section in front of it that is bumped out that has two rows of padded seats for the Pohlad (owner) family and friends.
    If I can’t get some balls and maybe some other gear from that seat, I ain’t fit to post on your blog. I will be closer to the plate than the pitcher! The seat cost me $940 for 20 games which is a steal. Next year at the new field the seat will cost $275 per game! I know that for a Yankees ticket $275 gets you only a decent seat, but around these parts, $275 a chair is pretty hefty.

  23. gregb123

    Clif — Sorry, I’m a complete idiot. I’m going on Thursday the 19th vs. the Astros, not the 17th. The Mets aren’t even home on the 17th.

    Here’s my full schedule for that week:

    -Sunday 3/15 at the World Baseball Classic
    -Monday 3/16 at WBC
    -Tuesday 3/17 at WBC
    -Wednesday 3/18 at Ft. Lauderdale (Cardinals at Orioles)
    -Thursday 3/19 at Port St. Lucie (Astros at Mets)

    So I guess we’ll be seeing each other on the 19th?

  24. meikd423

    Yup, im going to the 19th game so i will see you there. It’s going to be rough though with the Astros. Last year, i went to a Marlins game and got 6 balls, and the next day i saw the astros and only got 1. They are pretty stingy. but i have an astros hat and shirt. Do you have an astros shirt?


    trm: jeter is like obama. black dad white mom, yet i have NEVER heard anybody call him black, and im sure my dad or zack hasnt either, so why is obama different?

  26. zackhample

    Stop saying Obama isn’t black. That’s really racist and stupid, not to mention incorrect, and it accomplishes nothing. A black man is our president. Deal with it or move to Norway. It’s a great thing, and he seems to be a great man with great intentions. Let’s celebrate this incredible moment in our history instead of bashing it. Jesus Aitch.

    Not lame at all. I had quite a laugh. :-)

    The “bagel” reference was the best part of your comment, even better than the baseball stuff, although that IS very cool.

    Your Pettitte?

    I can’t wait to see those commemorative balls. Please keep me posted about them. Let me know if they’re being used in BP, etc. Maybe I’ll be able to snag one without traveling to Minnesota…not that I have anything against Minnesota. It’s just FAR.

  27. baseballexperiences

    Z- I totally agree with the Obama thing. He’s are 1st black president. I hate this 1/2 black stuff. Yea, his grandmother was white, but HE”S black. Whats wrong with Norway though, im 1/2 norwegian. Only 16 days till pitchers n catchers report!!!

  28. yankeehater626

    hey zack

    i read your book about 4-5 years ago and it changed my life

    ive been going to batting practice and spring training ever since…i even went south 2 hours from orange county to petco park in san deigo and sat in the beach in center field to try to catch griffey’s 699th and 700th…but unfortunatly it didnt happen….

    Anyways…I am a big Angels fan and go to games all the time but although I live in Orange County, I have only been to dodger stadium 3 times and havnt been in at least 7 years. For Christmas, my dad got us great seats for the World Baseball Class semi finals and finals in March and after being at the semi finals and finals in 2006, my goal is to snag some balls this time. My seats are about 3 sections down from the home dugout and I was wondering where you thought the best place to be at Dodger stadium is…should I stay in my seat during BP since they are so close…or is there a good corner spot to be?


  29. zackhample


    Thank you so much! I’m so glad to hear it. I think you should be in the LF pavilion during BP at Dodger Stadium and then during the game you should try to play the dugouts for third-out balls. That strategy worked best for me when I was there last year.

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