6/3/11 at Citi Field

Injury Week rolls on…

On Monday, you may recall, Jona got nailed by a batting practice homer and left Citi Field in an ambulance. Now, evidently, it was my turn to have a medical scare.

The day started innocently enough with batting practice. Jona was with me and took the following photo at the start of BP:

Within the first few minutes, I got a ball tossed to me by a ballboy who was shagging in left field. Soon after, Ronny Paulino blasted a home run that hit the facade of the second deck in left-center. (It’s 384 feet to the wall there, so he must’ve hit that ball at least 430 feet.) Here I am running for it:

The ball landed in the front row and nearly bounced back onto the field, but luckily I was able to grab it.

My 3rd ball of the day was thrown over some fans’ heads by the ballboy. As soon as I chased it down in the seats, I gave it to them — and then I handed my next ball to the nearest kid. Mets coach Chip Hale tossed it up from the warning track. Here I am letting the kid reach into my glove and take it:

After I changed into my Braves gear, Braves pitcher Eric O’Flaherty tossed me my 5th ball of the day. Then, after a half-hour lull with absolutely no action, I snagged two home run balls. I’m not sure who hit them — David Ross and Brooks Conrad, I think — but whatever. I caught the first one on the fly…

…and snagged the second one after it landed. It had rolled underneath a woman’s seat, and for a split-second, I was thinking of giving it to her — that is, until she grabbed my arm and started yelling at me.

And then?

While running from the left field seats to the 3rd base dugout (BP was about to end, and I wanted to get there before the Braves cleared the field), I recklessly tried to cut to the right while running down some steps. I landed on my left foot, and my ankle rolled over. Pretty simple…and extremely painful. Let it be known that no one else was injured by my “recklessness.” The seats were mostly empty. It was Me versus The Stadium. I’ve gotten hurt several times at games over the years (including a cracked rib on 8/30/08 at Angel Stadium), but I’ve never EVER hurt anyone else. I want everyone to know that.

Anyway, this was the aftermath…

…followed by this:

I am SUCH a moron.


• 7 baseballs at this game (five pictured here because I gave two away)

• 386 balls in 45 games this season = 8.58 balls per game.

• 706 consecutive games with at least one ball

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

• 373 consecutive Mets home games with at least one ball

• 231 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 5,048 total balls

• 1 very stupid injury


(I’m raising money again this season for Pitch In For Baseball, a non-profit charity that provides baseball equipment to underprivileged kids all over the world. Click here to learn more.)

• 48 donors

• $6.94 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $48.58 raised at this game

• $2,678.84 raised this season

If you clicked the photo above of the five baseballs, you may have noticed that three of them have the word “practice” stamped underneath the MLB logo. Here’s a photo of the other two:

Finally, all five balls have traces of invisible ink, although it’s pretty faint on three of them. Here’s a comparison of the five balls in regular light versus black light:

As for my ankle, don’t ask. It’s currently wrapped up with ice (and yes, elevated above my heart), and I can’t put any weight on it. I’m on crutches and might go to the emergency room later for x-rays. Given the fact that I won the “Sprint Fan Favorite” contest for New York City and that the MLB Network is planning to film me at least twice in the next four days, this might just be the worst timing ever. Assuming everything goes according to plan — that is, the plan before I got hurt — I’m going to appear on the MLB Network’s broadcast of the Yankees-Red Sox game on Tuesday night, June 7th. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to describe exactly what I’ll be doing, so I’ll just say this: tune in at least 10 or maybe 20 minutes before the game starts, and pay extra close attention in the 4th or 5th inning.


  1. Father Puck

    That’s too bad on the injury–although I must say my Pitch-In donation may fall back more into the range of what I originally expected. Actually, donatins are okay and while you may be bummed about how this will impact your MLB appearances, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it before, you live a very charmed life. Don’t be bummed, byt thank God for your many blessings.

  2. Dylan

    Sorry about the ankle. Hope you get better soon so the Yanks’ can have you on the show.

  3. Tim Anderson

    That photo of you in the wheelchair is my desktop background :)

    But seriously, feel better soon. I rolled my ankle pretty bad a few weeks ago. I recommend investing in a pair of basketball shoes. They work wonders.

  4. Chris

    Zack…see what happens when you take pics of your girlfriend being loaded into an ambulance despite her protests! Just joking sir…feel better soon! Good luck with the MLB network shoots. Chris

  5. JotaEse

    I actually got my first ball today since I nearly broke my leg going after a ball in BP. (Tossed up by Aroldis Chapman….he tosses to anyone who asks in Spanish.) I was chasing after a foul ball in BP April 3 and didn’t notice one seat in the row I was in was down. I hit it and slammed my leg, chest, and head into the seats. My leg had a knot the size of a softball, knee is messed upand I have been on a cane for a month. I’ve also never hurt anyone but myself!

    I’m hoping for a speedy recovery and that your recover quickly! Have fun on the Network!

  6. PSU532

    Zack you and Jona are like crash dummies now! Be careful! So is the Yanks/Red Sox game going to be on MLB Network in the NYC area or will it be blacked out? I’m curious……

  7. Ben

    Jesus Zack citi field has cursed you for not snagging your 5000th there. When will you be able to return for some more action? Until then I think I might go to every game… much less competition. Just kidding I hope your ankle gets better and I’m glad to see jona is better

  8. Nick Gantz

    hey zack. sorry about the ankle. but yeaterday i got my very first baseball at busch stadium! it was in the 11th inning against the cubs. I was sitting behind the cards dugout. I was asking for balls all day. Then Starlin Castro hit a slow foul ball right to José Oquendo. I was asking him for a baseball alot and then he slid me the castro foul ball over the dogout roof. SUCESS! I guess begging for 11 innings really payed off!

  9. Michael

    That sucks, Zack. I know what that’s like, last night I rolled my ankle and I can’t put any weight on it. It’s a horrible feeling knowing you can’t ballhawk, I’m just wondering if I could still attend games without snapping my streak, like a DL of sorts.

  10. Ben

    I meant to tell you, but get this, yesterday, I too was AGAIN with someone who needed to be “escorted” out of the stadium by EMS. Citi Field is a disaster for us. Let’s thank Jack O’Leary (he’s who I commonly use as a reference, since I don’t believe in God, and it’s just a generic name to replace “Jesus Christ”) that the Mets, and you, are going away for 10 days.

  11. Zack Hample

    Believe me. I’m fighting like crazy.

    I’m very thankful and take nothing for granted. Just the other day, while taking a shower, I actually thought, “How great is it to have running water?” No joke. As for the donation, if it ends up being may more than you intended, drop me a line, and we’ll figure something out.


    Nice. Really nice, pal.

    Maybe it was God’s plan. ;-)

    Thanks. There’s no way I’m missing out on this opportunity.

    Yeah yeah, I know. I deserved it. Or something like that.

    I hadn’t even noticed.

    Good to know that about Chapman, but whoa, that’s a scary injury that you suffered. Here’s hoping that we both recover soon.

    Just found out that it WILL, unfortunately, be blacked out in New York City.

    Jeez, you might be right about the curse.

    That’s a lot of begging, but hey, glad to hear that it ended well for you. Congrats.

    Sorry to hear that. My thinking is that if you’re INSIDE a major league stadium, then it has to count as a “game attended” for ballhawking purposes — unless it gets rained out, or something. Maybe there are other circumstances that would nullify it, but I can’t think of them right now.

    Yeah. I’ve had enough Citi to last me for a while. Just looked at the schedule, and at most, I’ll only be back there twice more this entire month.

  12. Matt Jackson

    Zack, I’m in awe of your 1,000 ball goal–I took a spill myself a couple weeks ago in Anaheim… no cracked ribs but I felt like such an idiot. Like, I thought to myself, “Crap–I really did just do that to myself, didn’t I? Ugh… now I’m not going to get that baseball tossed to me at the dugout.” Get well soon, dude!

  13. Mateo Fischer

    Well, I guess you weren’t playing hopscotch on the steps. I think you have gotten enough advice on the matter for me to simply write I hope Major League players/the universe are sympathetic and get well sooner rather than later.

  14. Zack Hample

    Thanks, man. I think that without this sprain, I would have definitely reached 1,000 balls for the year. But now? Not so sure. :-(

    Thanks. I’m an ass.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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