7/9/11 at Yankee Stadium

This will be brief…

Here’s where I was when Derek Jeter got his 2,999th career hit:

Two innings later, all the seats in left field were full, so this was my view for his 3,000th career hit:

Anyone want to guess where his 3,000th hit landed?


In the following screen shot, the circle is surrounding the ball, and the arrow is pointing to the spot where I had been standing:

The ball barely reached the front row of the bleachers. I probably would’ve been able to reach/climb/jump that high — I’ve done it before during batting practice — and in case you’re wondering, there’s a little bit of room between the last row of the seats and the State Farm sign, so I would’ve been able to cut across for it. If I had been able to remain in that corner seat in the back row, there’s a 50-50 chance that I would’ve caught the ball. I’m feeling stunned and shocked and downright devastated right now, and I really don’t want to talk about it. Go ahead and leave comments if you want, but I don’t plan on answering them.

Finally, for the record, I snagged three baseballs at this game — toss-ups from Freddy Garcia, Boone Logan, and Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi. As soon as Jeter’s 3,000th hit left the yard, I left the stadium and went home.


  1. Gustavo

    First of all: 50/50 chance? You think pretty highly of yourself, don’t you. Also, were all of the left field seats full with people who paid for a ticket in that area? The ball is not your birthright.

    Also, are you going to say anything about the man who died “ballhawking?”

  2. Bibby

    Dear Gustavo-
    Try reading this blog before you leave stupid comments; Zack talked all about That Man in his previous entry and even suggested that the ballhawking community band together to do something for his family. Good Lord. This is the lamest bunch of comments I’ve seen on here in a while. Go hate somewhere else, fools.

  3. Zack Hample

    I’m sorry that you’re all so annoyed and disappointed by my reaction, but hey, I just tell it like it is. You want me to be honest, right? Well, this is one of the biggest “what-if” disappointments I’ve ever experienced, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it with a bunch of B.S. I love Jeter, and I’m so happy for him, and I’m glad that I was in the building when he reached this milestone. There were certainly some positives, but they got buried underneath my own emotions. If you can’t understand that, then there’s really nothing more that I can ever say or convey to you about who I am and what I do.

  4. mlblogsbigglovebob

    A lot of people never learned the whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” mantra. Zack has good reason to be upset. That ball was worth a ton of money. The nice thing is that while you would have had a chance at the ball, that is all it would have been was a chance. A fair amount of things could have gone wrong and it isn’t as though you got the ball and bobbled it out of your mitt or tripped as you were running for it. Plus, you didn’t have to go through the hassle of deciding what to do with the ball.
    Jim Thome very well may get his 600th this year and I may try to be in the stands for it. I have decided that if by some wild stretch of the imagination I were able to get it, I would handle it just like the Yankee fan. I would say here is your ball, I am not asking for anything for it because it belongs to you. I would then hope that the Twins/Thome would reward me in a similar fashion to the Yankees. I have to say that a suite for 4 for the rest of the year is a pretty nice. However, on the open market, that ball could have fetched 6 figures.
    Don’t beat yourself up too bad, it sucks. But, as we all found out earlier this week, things could be a whole lot worse.
    Big Glove Bob

  5. Michael

    zack! can you blog about how your experience when you went on friday night (the game that ended up being rained out)… the gates were supposed to open at 5 pm, but the yankees kept their fans out in the rain for 40 minutes as they made a decision to play or to cancel. poor little zacky was getting wet from the rain, and used his ankle brace as an excuse to convince security that he should be allowed to stand (or sit) with other “handicap” fans because he had been standing out in the rain too long.

    clearly, there’s something wrong with you zack. youre spoiled. you didn’t catch the ball – that’s too bad. you have a great talent for snagging balls, yet you’re very immature and kind of selfish. very thoughtless…

  6. Leigh Barratt

    I would have straight up caught it. No 50-50 chance. 100% I would have caught it. It would be my divine right.

  7. justin

    Sorry Zack! But Congrats on being able to have attended that game. That is quite a feat to have been able to see that in person

  8. Zack Hample

    There’s something wrong with me because I outsmarted a few misguided security guards and came up with a way to stay dry? Dude, get over it. There was plenty of room under the canopies. You should’ve joined me and talked baseball. It’s not like I deprived any handicapped people the opportunity to be there by being there myself. Jesus Aitch. Why the hell is everyone getting so worked up? I was (and still am) upset about missing out on a baseball that would have changed my life. The day before, I got myself out of the rain. This makes me spoiled and selfish? Seriously?

  9. Michael Fierman

    “There were certainly some positives, but they got buried underneath my own emotions”

    and THIS is the crux of the matter. this was not a day for you. This was a day for Derek Jeter and Yankee fans. You should indeed be grateful that you were able to witness not only an historic moment in baseball history, but to see a great athlete in his decline manage to somehow evoke loud echoes of his prime with an astonishing day capped with a game winning RBI. Do yourself a favor; love baseball more and yourself less. You will be happier in the long run and will gain perhaps some respect that you might be missing out on. Said with love….

  10. Ben

    No one will understand that pain you feel, as much as me. Together, we’ve sat out in left field all season. EVERY SINGLE YANKEE GAME either of us went to (with the exception of your legends seats game), we’ve sat out in left field. 15 times at least, we’ve been out there. I can remember talking with you about where you’d be sitting when Jeter was going for 3,000. Never leave a good thing! He’s the f-ing golden boy. Of COURSE he was gonna hit a home run for #3,000! Why? Cause when Jeter poops, it doesn’t smell! Just ask any Yankee fan. I’m so sorry. I feel your pain from a distance. I can’t believe I wasn’t there, but I can’t imagine being there and not being in 136. No b.s. from me either, I don’t know if you’re ever gonna be able to swallow losing a $1,000,000 ball.

  11. SMH

    QUOTE “Why the hell is everyone getting so worked up? I was (and still am) upset about missing out on a baseball that would have changed my life. The day before, I got myself out of the rain. This makes me spoiled and selfish? Seriously?” /QUOTE

    I’m not Michael, but I’ll respond to this message. Yes, that does make you spoiled and selfish.

    In addition, you obviously got kicked out of the bleacher seats at Yankee Stadium because you were too cheap to procure a ticket. To whine about missing out on the opportunity to snag the HR ball is comical when, unlike all the other fans in the your picture, you hadn’t even taken the time or money to secure a ticket in that area. I for one am just glad that the people that actually did own the tickets in that area arrived and caused you to be moved out of the section before the homer was hit.

    Be happy you witnessed a nice moment of baseball history, and be grateful that unlike Mr. Shannon Stone you were able to enjoy a game and go home afterwards.

  12. Michael

    Let me elaborate on my original post so as to better describe the scene that I witnessed on Friday night outside of Yankee Stadium’s Great Hall Gate 6 entrance. The game was scheduled to start at 7 PM, meaning that as per usual, gates would open up at 5 PM. In the minutes leading up to 5 PM, there was a steady drizzle, and the status of the game was in doubt. As the Yankees and Rays discussed when/if to play the game, the fans were kept outside in the cold rain from 5 PM – 5:40 PM without any announcement of what was going on. I could see why the Yankees would not want to open up the stadium to fans, only to have it postponed an hour later and have to clear out and clean up the park, but it was a very unpopular and not a fan-friendly move to keep the fans out in the rain. The rain picked up quite a bit past the 5 PM hour. I can tell that Zack was getting a bit nervous – for if the park did open, his chances of obtaining a baseball were minimized significantly. Sell out crowd, guaranteed no batting practice, etc. For those familiar with Yankee Stadium, there are a few very small awnings (4 feet long x 4 feet wide) in front of the turnstile doors. During the rain storm, security allowed a few handicap fans (all in wheel chairs with life changing disabilities) to stay underneath the awning. A mother and her newborn daughter were also allowed under cover. Like the rest of us thousand fans waiting in the rain for 40 minutes, Zack was getting wet. He did have an umbrella, but that wasn’t enough for him. Being selfish, he convinced the security guards that he couldn’t stand on his leg for an extended period of time, and after showing his bandage, he wiggled his way under the canopy/awning. A very unpopular move for sure. Zack, only reading your comment now to hear that you “outsmarted a few misguided security guards and came up with a way to stay dry” only further strengthens my point. And when the thousand fan standing in the heavy rain tried calling you out for that, you just ignored us and pretended “no hablo ingles.” Zack, there’s no doubt about it you’re a baseball fan like the rest of us and are very talented when it comes to catching baseballs. I give you credit for that. I’m not sure how you find the funds to do so (given a lack of a real job), but I think it’s really neat that you’re visiting all 30 ballparks this year and I think it’s neat how passionate you are for your hobby. I enjoy reading your blog entries and learning the “behind the scenes” about all of the MLB ballparks. When I saw you using your handicap crutches to beg Jonathan Papelbon and others for baseballs, I thought that was a bit too much…and this feat ranks up there as well. It’s unfortunate, and even more unfortunate that you can’t realize how your actions are selfish and spoiled. And so what, you didn’t catch the ball! Someone else did – let him have his moment in fame. You’ve caught plenty of baseballs in your lifetime and have gotten plenty of press for it, let someone else have their moment to shine. “Be happy you witnessed a nice moment of baseball history…” – well said SMH. Only 50,000 people were able to witness a memorable day. Why you left after the homerun and didn’t care to stay around for the rest of the game is beyond me, but to each his own.

  13. Jerry

    Best of luck on the road trip Zack. This is my first post on your blog but it is nice to talk to you in emails. I am glad you got to see history made at Yankee stadium. As you know, I hope oneday just to get a piece of Yankee history. I doubt if I will ever get there. Keep having fun though.
    Hope to see you next year. Jerry

  14. hooksfan

    If you look at the video of the HR on the Yankees website the Must C clip…the guy who caught nearly had it taken from him. As your looking at the video there’s a guy in a blue shirt behind him and to his left that nearly snatches it when it put it above his head.

  15. PSU532

    I’m a little surprised the guy turned it in and didn’t even ask for anything. He was telling WFAN radio today that he has $100k in student loans!

  16. Jacob

    Congrats on witnessing the milestone.

    Good luck at the ASG bro, hope to see ya soon.

  17. Michael

    Zack – people see what they want to see, and the read what they want to read. When you say that you “outsmarted a few misguided security guards and came up with a way to stay dry,” you’re only supporting my observations. Nevertheless, the jokes on you – what goes around comes around. Good things happen to good people, and the reverse can be said as well ;) Cheers

  18. Aiken

    If these stories of Zack scamming security guards so he could stay dry are true, that’s very sad. The Papelbon stuff was borderline ridiculous, but still using that lame injury weeks after it happened when you were basically fine is shameful. Go steal balls from kids at the HRD and ASG now.

  19. Michael H

    Zack, I can certainly understand being frustrated in the moment, but you seem to indicate that ballhawking will continue to be a passion of yours for years to come, so there will be plenty of other chances. Just be thankful of what you have accomplished, and a lifestyle that is probably envious to a lot of people. You have caught a lot of baseballs, been on TV/radio, and met a lot of cool people along the way. Keep your head up.

  20. Chasicle

    Wow. Sure are a lot of self-righteous assholes here. So what if he talked his way into getting dry. Did it hurt anybody else? No. Stop crying a river. If I had an injured foot/ankle and I had a possible long day ahead of me, I’d do whatever I could to stay dry and sit down.

    He missed a chance at a milestone ball from one of the most beloved players of all time. Of course he’s bummed. Give the guy a break. I was devastated for missing a regular home run in LA. I can’t imagine what he’s feeling.

    And Michael, you sure do have an obsession with Zack and with trolling his comments section. Get over it and move on with your life.

  21. Robert Backen

    Seriously, where do you all come from? If you hate his hobby so much, why are you even here?? I’m honestly confused.

  22. hooksfan

    I seriously think that Aiken and Michael are stalkers…probably have never scored a ball in their lives. You two need to move on and troll somewhere else.

  23. Yeah Baby

    A few weeks ago a few friends and myself were actually thinking of going to the game for the heck of it. I was going to purchase that seat where the guy caught the ball and my buddies were going to get the lower row in front of me but we decided not to go to the game. That home run ball probably would have been mine or my friends. Also, there is no way they would have let you through. They are tall and big dudes.

  24. George

    Wow, this comments page has gone too far. Clearly there are a lot of haters out there. Get over yourselves and move on. Zack, you will be involved in some historical moments once again in the future. All the best to you always.

  25. Skim

    Wow I’m reading this now. I had no idea that you were at this game, Zack. And I agree: there is probably about a 50/50 chance you would have caught it if you got a good read on the ball and could get up from your seat. Everyone- If he was injured, then he has a right to sit underneath an overhang or whatever it was. And if security guards are stupid enough not to check carefully for people in leftfield without tickets for leftfield, then that’s their problem, not Zack’s. So stop criticizing Zack when I bet everyone who called him selfish and criticized him have never snagged a baseball and missed out on a chance to snag a ball. I know for a fact that I’ve moved to a different spot during batting practice multiple times, and ball after ball have flown to where I was before I moved. It’s the same with me and foul balls and toss-ups. And if I ever moved away from a spot where a home run landed later on, let alone a sure hall of famer’s 3,000th hit, I would be pretty mad with myself too, and if I want to let that ruin my day, so be it. If I were to leave the stadium, there should be nothing wrong with it. It seems like everyone is getting on Zack’s case for doing that, but it’s his own choice. I would do the same, but if I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t start criticizing the world record holder for major league balls snagged.

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