7/1/09 at Yankee Stadium

Ready for a quick blog entry about a lame day? Good, here goes…

Yankee Stadium opened at 4pm, and for the first half-hour, there was NO action:


Then the sky got dark, and it started drizzling, and the grounds crew began to clear the field. In the photo below, you can see one guy actually rolling the L-screen away:


Just as I was contemplating how to announce my permanent retirement from ballhawking, the sky cleared and the grounds crew rolled the screens back into place.

The Yankees eventually came out and started throwing. Batting practice was still 10 minutes away and the place was packed:


I got completely shut out during the Yankees’ portion of BP.

Then the Mariners came out, so I changed into my Mariners gear and got Jason Vargas to throw me a ball in right field:


I was six rows back when he threw it. It sailed over everyone else’s head and came right to me. It was my 4,100th ball. Yay.

I headed back to left field, caught a homer on the fly, got Garrett Olsen to toss one to me, and then caught another home run ball which I later gave away.

It was impossible to use the glove trick because the stadium was crawling with security guards. I saw one other kid attempt to use the trick, and he was stopped within 10 seconds.

I had some close calls on other homers, but luck simply wasn’t on my side, and to make matters worse, I had to deal with a startlingly hostile fan. I deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for preventing an “incident” from arising. Let’s leave it at that.

I ran into a fellow ballhawk named Alex who’d already been to Yankee Stadium more than a dozen times this season. We had some time to kill so we wandered into the bleachers, and since it was my first time in that area of the stadium, I took a bunch of pics. (At the new stadium, anyone with any ticket can go in or out of the bleachers.)

I started at the back of the bleachers next to the batter’s eye in left-center field…


…and walked down to the front row. This was the view (of the visitors’ bullpen) to the right…


…and this was the view (of Monument Park) to the left:


Ever wonder what’s behind those shiny black windows? There’s a restaurant, and when I pressed my camera against the glass, I was able to get a peek inside:


Here’s the concourse that runs behind the bleachers:


Left field…right field…it’s all connected.

There’s a “cafe” on top of the batter’s eye. Here’s one side of it…


…and here’s the front:


Anyone can go there at anytime, and on the right field side, there’s a nice view of the Yankee bullpen. Here’s Andy Pettitte warming up:


The new Yankee Stadium is a glorious facility. There’s no doubt about that. It’s the team and the employees and the fans that ruin it.

As for the game…yawn. The Yankees won, 4-2, and five of the six runs scored on homers. I’m sorry but that’s just not interesting baseball. I don’t care that Griffey and A-Roid went deep. I was nowhere near either of those longballs so it didn’t matter. At least it was a quick game and I got the hell out fast.

SNAGGING STATS:5_ball4100.jpg
• 4 balls at this game (ball No. 4,100 pictured here on the right)

• 283 balls in 32 games this season = 8.84 balls per game.

• 601 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 475 consecutive games in New York with at least one ball

• 132 consecutive Yankee games with at least one ball

• 4,103 total balls


• 111 donors (It’s not too late to make a pledge. Click here to learn more.)

• $24.34 pledged per ball

• $97.36 raised at this game

• $6,888.22 raised this season for Pitch In For Baseball


  1. ladod4ever

    Zack the ballhawk gods dont want you to retire!!!!!!! Thats why they helped you

  2. skikola

    Wow, If I went to Yankee Stadium, walked out with 4 baseballs after witnessing a couple hof talents crush hrs and a Yankees win, I would call that one of the better days of my summer. But then again, I’m a Yankee fan and a Baseball fan more than a ballhawk, who doesn’t get to more than a couple MLB games a year…. (you might be happy to hear though that thanks to you I recently executed my first glove trick attempt, snagging a PCL ball off the warning track at the local AAA ballpark from around 20 feet up!) No offense intended, and I’m sorry you had a “lame” day. I’m also sorry you feel that the fans, in part, ruin the Stadium. A lot of people may say the fans help make the Stadium what it truly is. But again, no argument to be made with your assessments of the Stadium as a ballhawking venue.

  3. thomasb.

    I found that when I went to Yankee Stadium on the 16th, the fans made the trip even better. I enjoyed the bleacher creatures because they are a unique type of fan. Typical New York accent and talking about their body parts every other sentence. But I rarely go there so it is completely different for you. That is your home stadium (I guess I could call it that). My home stadiums are Nats and Orioles, so a little more fan friendliness and a little more security relaxation. I just like the whole NYC fan experience when I go to Yankees games, it makes it more fun and unique and reminds me that baseball is the most diverse sport (stadium and fan wise) in the country. Good luck next time you go there, the baseball gods must have put some kind of Hample jinx on you, only they bring you bad weather.

  4. gregb123

    I’m so sick of this weather. It’s pissing me off. This is like my last full summer of going to games and it rains every goddamn day? Jesus. I’m planning to go to five games next week in the northeast and it’s probably going to rain all of them. I miss Arizona.

  5. Txbaseballfan

    I know what your REAL problem is, your last ballhawk adventure was in KC, & now you (subconciously) hope to have those results everywhere. Once you get 50-60 balls in a 3-game series, it’s easy to get spoiled. You’ll get to that place again, but for right now you can spend some time with the rest of us that get 10 or fewer balls a game. Welcome back!

  6. Alex

    Hey Zack, by any chance do you know who #12 is on the Mariners? I looked at the rosters and couldn’t find him. And don’t feel too bad; this was one of the most crowded BP’s I had attendended this season there, in fact it was the 6th highest attendance at that game of the games I have attendended, and the other most crowded games were the Phillies, Red Sox, Mets, and Rays.

  7. dennisox

    Well, that was short. This might be a new record for fewest photos and words. A very un-Zack Hample day and post! I feel let down too. Good luck next game Zack!

  8. dbacks1985

    Alex – Mariners #12 is Ryan Langerhans, traded to the Mariners on June 28th for Mike Morse.

  9. pmpagesd@yahoo.com

    The Newark Bears also have Ramiro Mendoza, Marlon Anderson and Jacque Jones on their roster – great club for some autographs!

  10. zackhample

    Good point.

    Yes yes, fair enough. I know that most people in the world would be thrilled to snag four balls at a major league game, but after having been in Kansas City, I have to say that Yankee Stadium was a letdown of epic proportions.

    You know how Camden is a regular spot for me? And how Kauffman Stadium might become one? And maybe even Randers Ballpark? Well, if I lived anywhere outside of New York City, I would absolutely never ever under any circumstances set foot inside Yankee Stadium again. It would be one of those places about which I’d say, “Glad I’ve been there once and that I never have to go back.” Same with Citi Field. It’s really a shame that the stadiums (and the overall baseball experience) in my own city are two of the worst in baseball.

    I’m with ya.


    I was wondering the same thing about No. 12 the other day too.

    I’ve had shorter game entries, but not many.

    Didn’t know about Mendoza. Cool.

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