6/24/09 at Citi Fie–nevermind

It was sunny when I bought a $22 ticket (including fees) off StubHub yesterday afternoon, cloudy when my No. 7 train emerged from the underground tunnel in Queens, and raining by the time I reached Citi Field:


So, I turned around and went home. That’s how much I hate Citi Field. Without batting practice, it’s absolutely not worth being there. (Even WITH batting practice it still sucks.)

Maybe I’m just bitter because it has rained 20 of the last 23 days in New York City. Or because I tried to sell the ticket on craigslist and there were no takers. Or because I get cranky when I have to go a whole week without snagging baseballs. The Yankees will be at Citi Field this weekend, and despite the offers I have received for free tickets, I will not be in attendance. I don’t DO the Subway Series. I like watching it on TV, but not being there…HOWEVER…I’m planning to attend a couple Yankee games next week, weather permitting.


  1. Stuart Jon

    Hopefully this is the first comment!!

    Rain, rain, rain, man it’s getting on my nerves too! I hope you get to snag that 4100 ball soon!

    Stuart Jon

  2. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Oh, Yankee games next week.

    Perfect more ******* competition for me. i cant escape it. Its like im a ******* ballhawk magnet, but i repel the baseballs.

  3. jampr92@aol.com

    Hey Zack or anyone reading this blog, I am going to the Yankee vs Seattle game on July 2nd. I will be waiting at Gate 6 at 5:00pm for batting practice, let me know if anyone is going. I will be sitting on sec 112 row 4, I will be around batting practice.

    Please let me know Zack, I am an avid fan of your blog, and i would be an honor to meet you, if possible.

    -Jose M.

  4. baseballexperiences

    the weather in new york has been so misrable. thank god its summer now. ill be at ys on tuesday against the mariners. Joe

  5. Ross

    Sorry to hear that you didn’t go yesterday. Hopefully it won’t rain September 6th (lol). I have a question though. Are you going to be attending the July 1st game between the Yanks and the Mariners? If so, see ya there. My family and I bought tickets in right-center field. 6 rows behind the Yankees bullpen. If you’re going, see ya there.

    -Ross F.

  6. goyanks229

    Hey Zack! I know this stupid weather here in NYC is really annoying. I mean I just wish it would stop!

    Hey, when are you going to Yankee Stadium?

    I am going July 2nd v Mariners and maybe July 5th v Blue Jays


  7. saintxxxx

    Zack and any other ballhawks out there,
    For a while, I didn’t mind much, it was just some guys (and gals) trying to collect some baseballs. But now it really angers me, and my friends! 4,000+ baseballs?! I understand you give some away but that is just not fair! Kids love showing up to the ballpark with their gloves, looking forward to catching a batting practice ball but with people like you they can’t! I was in Cleveland for two games last year, when I was standing in the RF Bleachers when a ball headed my way. I saw a kid (probably 10 years old) running for it, and he camped out under it, all ready to make the catch, when a ballhawk like you ran over and put out his glove above the boys and robbed him! And the ballhawk takes the ball and shoves it in his backpack that easily already had 10! It’s just not fair and totally rude to children and other fans. And it also irrates me to hear you guys complaining. “Oh I only caught 5 balls at that game! Life is so unfair!” Or how you buy tickets to a game and “oh dang its raining! well i’m gonna go home! it’s not like the game isn’t worth staying for, its just america’s national pastime.” You ballhawks are such wimps and crabs. you need to find something better to do. i’m done for now.

  8. zackhample

    Hopefully No. 4,100 will happen next week.

    Go to Kansas City. There’s not much competition there. We’re actually lucky here in NYC that there aren’t a TON of ballhawks like there are out in San Francisco. But no, I hear ya. We’ll all just have to try to stay out of each other’s way as much as possible.

    I’m thinking Tuesday and Thursday next week. No reason for me to skip Wednesday’s game, other than just trying not to get too stressed out by being at Yankee Stadium two days in a row. It really all depends on the weather.

    If it’s sunny all week, then I’ll probably be there that day. Feel free to check in with me on the day of the game. If I end up going, I’ll be home that afternoon until about 2:30pm.

    I’ll probably see you there.

    Yeah, but at least here in NYC, I have the option of just going home if the weather is bad.

    You’re gonna be in the bleachers that day? Even if I make it to the game that day, I’m not sure I’ll make it to that area of the ballpark. I might end up skipping the July 1st game if both June 30 and July 2nd are sunny. Not really sure. If it rains on June 30th and it’s nice on July 1st, then yeah, I’ll definitely be there on the 1st.

    As I’ve been saying to everyone else here, I think I’ll be at Yankee Stadium on July 2nd, but I won’t know for sure until next week actually arrives. Hmm…

    I’m sorry you feel that way, though I can see why you *would* feel that way. I used to go to games every single day no matter what the weather was like, but now, quite frankly, I feel like I’ve earned the right to be picky about which games I attend. And for the record, I think you need to find something better to do than make blanket statements about people you haven’t even met.

  9. thatathleticsfan

    Hey Zack! I’m a huge fan! I have read your blog for a long time and really like it. I’m 12 years old and have gotten a ball at every game I’ve ever gone to, but I’ve only gone to 22 games. I was wondering if you have any tips for Oakland Coliseum? I wish that I could go to a game with you but I don’t have 500$! Oh well! Good luck with your collection.

  10. secretemailaddress@myob.com

    Sorry Zack, your streak is bogus. You bought a ticket and went to the stadium. The only thing that stopped you from entering the stadium was yourself. Justify it however you want, but that, sir, is a forfeit.

  11. puckcollector@optonline.net

    AH **** it. Everyone else is going. Ill just stay away.

    Ill go to college in KC. The isles will be moving there and the ballpark is seems amazing.

    And the streak is not bogus, because buying a ticket, NEVER ENTERING the stadium, and leaving, is no different then never buying a ticket.

    If he didnt enter the stadium, then he never ATTENDED the game.

    The streak is games ATTENDED with at least one ball.

  12. mrjeter2

    i don’t think the streak is bogus, however, there should be some sort of asterisk on it. I’m very impressed with your streak – don’t get me wrong – but by not entering the stadium on a day that you are there and have a ticket and by not “challenging” yourself by going to a Subway Series game is a bit surprising to me. I understand that you have a better chance at getting multiple balls on less attended ballgames with BP, but you should challenge yourself more often.

    It’s almost like a hitter picking and choosing which games he wants to play in order to give him the best chance of getting a hit to surpass Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hitting streak. He can sit against the likes of Johan Santana, Randy Johnson, Cole Hamels and co. and play against the lesser pitchers. That’s not to say that a hitter should be discredited in games which he succeeds with a lesser pitcher on the mound, but it’d be interesting to see how you did in a more “challenging” situation. (It’s similar to A-Rod succeeding in the regular season and struggling in the postseason under more challenging circumstances).

    Thoughts? Nevertheless, keep up the good work!

  13. pjpmc1@embarqmail.com

    Sorry about the game. But about your question Loria still to this day has not sent me anything and i even wrote him thanking him for the bat and stuff and he hasnt even responded to that so unfortunatally i do not anticipate getting anything in the mail from him since its been like 3 months.
    -Michael from Florida

  14. zackhample

    Thanks so much. I’m sorry to say, though, that I don’t have any tips on Oakland. It’s a terrible stadium (everyone will admit that), and I haven’t been there for 10 years.

    Any stadium is worth seeing once; Citi Field isn’t worth seeing much more than that.


    Not sure which dude you’re referring to, but I agree anyway.

    Thanks for feeling my pain.

    Thanks for sticking up for me.

    Nah, no asterisk. I have total confidence that I can snag a ball at any game, rain or shine, New York or no New York, sellout or no sellout. That’s not the issue. The issue is…I like to have fun, and if there’s no batting practice, it’s not fun, so I don’t go. The End.

    That is AWFUL about Loria. You should call the Marlins, and you should contact the local media and raise hell.

  15. bettencourt

    zack sorry about the rain. dont listen to these guys who come on the these blogs and rant about ballhawks. in my mind it is these guys who have no life. they spend there time looking for ballhawks blogs and then write up a 3 paragraph essay about why they hate ballhawks. so i say keep doing your thing.

  16. secretemailaddress@myob.com

    Zach, you may well have total confidence that you can get a ball at any game and your track record suggests that in all likelihood you are correct. But the odds being strongly in your favor and you actually accomplishing it are two very different things. The fact remains that you have had multiple games where you have planned on attempting to get balls but, due to circumstances that make snagging more difficult, you have chickened out. And that, in my humble opinion, is weak.

    Do any other ballhawks out there employ the Hample strategy of buying tickets, going to the stadium and then not going in? My hunch is no.

  17. zackhample


    It’s not a matter of being scared. It’s a matter of being bored. Looks like we just see it differently.

  18. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Secret email- if i got a 12 dollar ticket, and i got there 3 hrs early, and it started to rain, why would sit inside the stadium twiddling my thumbs for 3 hrs unril the game starts. even if there are snagging oportunities, they are probably only taking up half an hr, so im still staring at an empty field for 2 and a half hrs. its just not worth it. and if zack is only going to a certain amount of games, then why should he sacrifice balls because three is no bp. The less balls he snaggs the LESS MONEY IS RAISED FOR CHARITY.

  19. paris4242@aol.com

    Zach, why didn’t you go to the game? You bought a ticket and the Mets did destroyed the Cardinals that night. You probably would of gotten a ball. You’re a skilled “ballhawk”. You depend on batting practice too much of the time. You adventures on getting “game balls” have always been more fun to read about. I’m sure you enjoy getting “game balls” more because of the challenge. Hopefully the weather will get better soon.

  20. saintxxxx

    One thing I forgot to mention is how…self-centered people can be that really bugs me.
    1. Calling the Dodgers to be interviewed for a personal, greedy milestone? If the Dodgers called you to set up and interview I would understand but…
    2. “…I feel like I’ve earned the right to be picky about which games I attend.” ????
    3. I think some people need to find better things to do than hog baseballs and complain about the weather preventing them from collecting something they already have thousands of.

  21. baseballexperiences

    hey saintxxxx, #3 doesnt make sense at all.

    If you say zack and ballhawks need to find something better to do, and not chase baseballs, then fine thats your opinion. but your the one who commented on here to complain about something that has nothing to do with you, and its someones hobby. so first of all, YOU need to find better things to do and YOU need to get a life. thank you, Joe

  22. Alex

    Ahhhhhh, so you ‘saintxxxx’ say that he should find something better to do than “hog baseballs”. What would that be? Would that be bashing other people’s blogs and criticizing them? Well that sounds MUCH better, and you must be a pro at it! But look at it this way. He had attended close to 800 games in his life, and arrives at about 2 hours before game time, most of the time more. So before you judge him about “complain[ing] about the weather”, try spending close to 4,000 total hours in 46 different stadiums in 800 games. Then arrive 3 hours before game time where the weather is pouring, you have bought a $10 ticket, and the start of the game will most likely be delayed. Oh, and you have nothing to keep you dry. What would YOU do then?

  23. saintxxxx

    Can I not speak my opinion? Is there a rule against it? And I?m just saying in my opinion, I think it?s unfair how many baseballs some people collect, and how many kids are disappointed when they leave a game without a ball. And Alex, I have arrived at games 3 hours early, like one last year in Cleveland where it was raining and didn?t stop until the game started, at 8:45, after an hour, 45 minute delay including many heavy downpours, but I stayed in my seat for the majority of the delay (besides a trip to the bathroom) and I felt perfectly fine. And did I have an umbrella? No. Did I leave? Nope. It shouldn?t matter the conditions of the weather, it?s a baseball game, that?s what I?m there for. So if I?m wet, I really don?t care. That?s totally my opinion, but I hate it when people buy tickets and don?t show up. So that?s how I see it.

  24. yankeekid

    Zack, This weather is starting to bug me too. Just can win anymore.
    Btw. I will be at Yankee Stadium June 30th and July 6th, Citi Posiibly a game against the dodgers.
    Hope To See You There.

  25. mrespot

    hey Zack, I have been reading your blog for about 2 years now. I live near San Fran, but I am a Dodgers fan. so most of my ball snagging is at SF. However, I did manage to go out to NYC this summer, apparently, on the days it didn’t rain in June. One game @ Yankee Stadium vs. Rays & then 2 @ CitiField vs the Phillies. All 3 games were ball snagging heaven. I have never seen so many HR’s hit during BP than at Yankee Stadium. Then, CitiField, I wasn’t expecting much, I got 5 baseballs there & missed a chance for 5 more. Maybe, it was just the Phillies, but NYC was better than snagging @ At&t Park. Anyway, great website, congrats on your record in KC. My favorite enteries were when your were at Dodger Stadium last year, good stuff.

  26. muddly17

    Zack, Went to Busch last night and ONLY snagged two(I say ONLY because I like to sound ungrateful). Pretty psyched though, caught a HHH commem. on the fly. What’s amazing is that on the two balls I caught, I didn’t knock into a little kid or even an adult to catch them. And whats funny is that I don’t believe that anyone who posts on this blog does. I know for sure you don’t. What i don’t understand is how people are so quick to criticize. Jealousy perhaps? I don’t know. All I know is that when some ball hawks attend games, snagging is what they are there for. Some go for the game, some to snag, and others for both. It’s nobody’s place to judge. I joke around with my dad when I tell him snagging stories. I tell him that I’m a dork who needs to get a life. But it’s just a joke. I have a life as do probably all of the snaggers on this blog. Hey SAINTSUXX, Zack has raised around $7,000 dollars for charity so far this season. I think other snaggers are snagging for charity as well. So let me ask you, what have you done with your life?(don’t answer. I don’t really care) My point isn’t that your life is a failure but, that snagging is just a hobby, not a life and sometimes it helps others in need.
    Oh BTW Zack, the Cardinals have banned ball retreiving devices. This is recent, do you think it might lift after the all star game? Also, are you going to the ASG? hope to see you there.

  27. saintxxxx

    Hey I like my new name! :D But once again, can I not speak my opinion? I also think I did acknowledge Zack raising money for charity earlier, and I think that is a good cause. Even though he does this, I still know kids are going home without baseballs that create good memories, which isn?t fair sometimes. And as for your first sentence, I sure have seen people implying that before. And let?s see. I?m pretty sure I didn?t say they knocked into kids but rather practically took it out of his glove. Two men with a backpack of baseballs running all around the outfield sections at the Jake, I would call them ballhawks. And it just kinda saddens me that people buy tickets just to collect baseballs, and not watch the game, which in my opinion shouldn?t qualify someone to be a ?fan?. Again, just my opinion. And hey, I talk with my dad too about snagging baseballs! What a coincidence! And he shares my opinion that they can get annoying and prevent kids from a lasting memory too! And oh ya, I?m sooooo jealous. I too want boxes of baseballs taking up room in my small apartment! That would be great! Let me ask a question to everyone. When you went to the ballpark as a kid, what did getting a ball mean to you? Was it like ?oh its just a ball, whatever, I will just put it away in my closet? or was it an exciting, ?Look what I got! Look what I got! This is going on my shelf!? I know for me, getting one just about made a summer, and it did for a long time. And I know where I am from, the norm is giving balls to kids, and everyone kept by an adult is one less ?look what I got? moment for kids.

  28. zackhample

    Well said.

    Why? See “puck collector”‘s comment right above your own. Also because I have to write a book this year and I need to spend as much time as possible at home, working. And for the record, my name is spelled “Zack.”

    If if the weather is not bad or iffy on June 30th, then I will definitely be at Yankee Stadium. If it looks like it MIGHT rain, then I’ll just stay home and work on my book.

    Congrats on the snags at Citi Field. San Francisco is not an easy place with all the competition so congrats on ANY snags there. Finally…thanks for reading my blog.

    Nice work with the commemorative ball, and thanks for your thoughtful responses to everything else that has been said here. I remember last year at Yankee Stadium, there was a major crackdown on devices as the All-Star break approached. The ban held strong throughout the season, but that’s probably because it was the last season of the stadium and security was getting all crazy. In 2007 at AT&T, there was also a crackdown, and that is THE most fan-friendly place for devices in all of baseball. That ban is now long gone, so I think you should be okay in St. Louis down the road.

    The biggest fact you’re missing is that my own snagging hardly ever deprives kids of baseballs. Whenever I snag a ball with the glove trick, it’s a ball that no other fan can reach, so either I get it or no one gets it. When I catch home run balls, those are often 400-foot bombs that kids simply can’t catch. (In fact, I save kids’ lives on occasion by catching those balls.) And when I get players to toss me balls, it’s usually a situation where the player wasn’t even thinking about throwing the ball into the crowd until I spoke up and said/did something clever to make him want to give me one. I miss out on balls all the time because players give them to kids. Believe me, the kids out there are doing just fine. Finally, don’t forget that I give my own baseballs to kids, and of course I’m doing the charity thing…for kids. So please don’t lump me in with other ballhawks whose actions you disapprove of.

  29. gmoney91

    So Zack I’m hopin to possibly see you at Yankee Stadium tomorrow night as it will be my last day in new York and will end my ballpark tour that I went on. I’ll be there early so who knows I might run into you and if I do I’ll have a copy of your book to sign if you don’t mind

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