Book update No. 14 — stadium mentions

My first book, How to Snag Major League Baseballs, was published in 1999, but I wrote it in 1997. At that point in my life, I’d only visited seven major league stadiums, and it showed. The book had dozens of references to Shea and Yankee Stadium, but I hardly mentioned any other places. Now that I’m working on a new (and vastly improved) version of that book…and now that I’ve been to 46 different major league stadiums…I’m trying to mention as many of them as possible — at least the current ones. Here’s how I’m keeping track. It’s a screen shot of a list I created, which I refer to and update constantly:
Each dot, as you probably figured, represents one mention in the book. So, for example, if I need to name a stadium where the right field stands are too steep, I’ll know not to mention Great American Ball Park or Citi Field, and I’ll talk about PNC Park instead. It’s a good system, I think. The biggest challenge in writing this book has been organizing everything — establishing a logical outline and then making the necessary adjustments. It might not sound hard, and when you finally read this book next year, it’ll all (hopefully) flow brilliantly, so just take my word for it: writing this thing has been a major struggle.
The good news is that I’ve really gotten focused lately. I don’t know what happened. Something inside my brain just clicked, and now I’m churning it out. Normally, if I can write 250 words in a single day, I’m satisfied (if not downright thrilled). That’s about one double-spaced page, and again, that might not sound like anything special, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I can write a 250-word email in three minutes, but when I’m trying to crank out a polished piece of book-worthy prose, it’s completely different. And draining. A few months ago, I spent eight hours working on a single paragraph. (And what a good paragraph it turned out to be. It was the opening of a very important section, so it had to be just right, and I wasn’t willing to move on until I felt I’d nailed it.) Yesterday alone, I wrote more than 1,600 words for my “Batting Practice” chapter. I wrote the final paragraph for a section about snagging ground balls, and then I wrote my entire “Glove Trick” section. I was up ’til 5:30am working on it. I slept until 1:05pm this afternoon. No alarm clock. Nothing else on my mind. It’s just me against the book. And now I need to get back to it…


  1. cookandsonbats

    I’m not sure of the correct context for you to work it in, but what baseball book is complete without a reference to the grand daddy of all baseball stadiums: The King County Domed Stadium a/k/a The Kingdome?


    Hey Zack,

    I’m sure I’m not the only one, but been trying to come up with titles for you still:

    1. “Across the Seams: An All-Around Look at the Baseball”
    2. “Just the Right Grip: The Baseball and its Undeniable Hold on America”
    3. “All Ball: The Ultimate Look at Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About the Baseball.”…………

    Hoping for that signed copy/still trying to convince you to upgrade it to a WWZ!

  3. 15222xc

    WOW, by the looks of it that book is going to be really good!!
    danr, I like the first two titles you just suggested.

  4. zackhample

    I’m generally going to shy away from mentioning defunct stadiums. If I have a specific story to tell from one, then I’ll tell it, but I’m not planning to use them to make points about the architecture and how that affects/affected snagging.

    Thanks. I’m adding these suggestions to The Almighty List. It’s almost time to make a decision.

    Thank you.


    Hey Zack,
    I noticed that the video of you from the Tonight Show with Conan doesn’t work anymore. On Hulu it says it’s expired or something. Also the Quicktime video from the blog doesn’t work either. Just letting you know for future reference.

  6. rocktober_93


    Couldn’t you just cut and paste the ball trick from your other descriptions of it in your other book and then edit it? :)

  7. zackhample

    I can’t say anything about Hulu, but it still seems to be working on my blog/site, at least over here. I don’t know if it’s a Mac vs. PC issue or what. I have it on my site, and here’s the URL:

    I have soooooo much more to say now, and I’m such a better writer than I was in the 1990s that it’s impossible (and not even worth it) to simply update everything from the old book. Instead, I’m rewriting it all from scratch.

    Hey, take it easy, I’m only a couple chapters into Part Three. :-)

    Actually, I’m planning to write a whole section about AT&T Park because it’s so awesome. More specifically, I’m planning a “Top Ten Stadiums for Snagging” section, and AT&T will surely make the cut.

  8. padreleigh


    Only ONE mention of PETCO Park?! Blasphemy! No, just kidding. You’ve had some of your greatest snagging moments here. I hope we can get at least one more mention somewhere.

    I’ll be driving over to Arizona for Spring Training on Saturday the 13th. I’ll be there four days. If anyone is going to be there at the same time please say hello. I’m sure TC is already there. I also am all booked and set for the Padres road trip to Tampa and Miami in June. If anyone is at the Trop or (Whatever the Marlins stadium is called now)Field for those games say hello as well. So glad baseball is back.


  9. TheSmiler

    Zack, Leigh …

    I live in Tampa. The Trop (which is in St. Pete across the bay) is no big deal. Save the sky miles and wait for the sequel.

    PS- Marlins play in Landshark Stadium. Yes. It’s stupid.

    ~ Will

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s