Korean documentary

You know that Korean documentary that I’ve been talking about since last summer? It never aired in North America — only on the Korean Broadcasting System — and I was told by the filmmaker not to post it online. I’ve made a few copies for my friends who are *in* the movie, but as far as sharing it publicly, the best I can do is show you a bunch of screen shots, so check  it out. . .

The opening scene shows me dumping out (and unzipping) several bags of baseballs in my bedroom:

The documentary is IN Korean. There are no English subtitles — only Korean ones (as you can see above) to translate what I was saying. In the screen shot above, I’m in the process of saying, “This whole bag is baseballs.”

Then there’s a brief montage of my TV appearances. Here’s Jay Leno talking about my first two books:

That clip was taken from my TV reel, which you can see here in its entirety. And by the way, did you notice that my name is spelled wrong up above? Amazing.

At around the four-minute mark, there’s some footage of me inside Yankee Stadium:

In the screen shot above (taken just after I changed out of my Rays gear and gave a ball to a kid), I’m saying to several on-lookers, “I’m not a Rays fan. I’m just wearing that crap to get baseballs. Didn’t really work too well today, though.”

By the way, this was the game on August 13, 2011. Click here to read my blog entry about it.

Here I am back at my place, showing some of my favorite baseballs:

(Yes, my kitchen cabinets are ugly. They were like that when I moved in, and I don’t feel like paying thousands of dollars to replace them.)

In the screen shot above, the ball on the left is a Robinson Cano grand slam from the new Yankee Stadium, the ball in the middle is the last Mets home run ever hit at Shea Stadium, and the ball on the right is Barry Bonds’ 724th career home run.

Here’s something odd/funny:

Did you notice what’s wrong in the screen shot above? Look at my Tigers cap. The logo is backwards.That’s because I was being filmed in the mirror (in a hotel room in Detroit). As for what I’m saying, it’s some portion of this: “He’s 6-foot-4 and weighs about 250 pounds, so the guy is a monster. You watch him in batting practice — he crushes balls where baseballs shouldn’t even be landing.” I’m talking about Ramon Santiago, of course.

Kidding. Miguel Cabrera.

Here are some fancy visuals . . .

. . . and here’s another scene from the hotel room in Detroit:

The filmmaker had asked me to (a) show him how I use Home Run Tracker and (b) talk about my connection to Korean baseball, so naturally I pulled up Shin-Soo Choo’s page and talked about  where his longballs land.

Several childhood photos found their way into the documentary:

That’s me in the red shirt at camp in 1982. You’ll find that image along with hundreds more on my website’s photo page.

The filmmaker got footage of just about everything. Here I am walking along Broadway with an open box of pizza:

“It is my breakfast and my lunch,” I’m telling the camera, “and unfortunately this is how a lot of meals go for me.”

The pizza scene was filmed on the way to my mom’s place. Here she is telling the world (or at least all of South Korea) how weird her son is:

During the interview, my mom mentioned my dad, and as a result, a photo of him made it into the documentary:

That was pretty cool.

Most of my baseballs are still at my mom’s place, so while I was there, I showed a few to the camera. Here I am explaining why the stitches are red and black on the 2000 All-Star Game ball:

(It’s because the game was at Turner Field, and the Braves’ colors are red and black.)

Next up? A road trip to the Hall of Fame. Here I am driving (before my license was revoked) and explaining the circumstances:

In the screen shot above, the Korean is a translation of this: “We’re driving from New York City up to Cooperstown, New York — it’s about a four-hour drive — to visit the Hall of Fame.”

(Is there anyone reading this who’s fluent in Korean? It’d be fun to know if anything got lost in translation.)

Here I am wandering with my camera:

Back at my place, the filmmaker asked me to talk about my books. Here I am holding all three of them . . .

. . . and here I am critiquing my first one, How to Snag Major League Baseballs:

That book is TERRIBLE. You will actually become dumber if you read it. It was written badly, I said some stupid things, and half the stadiums I talked about are now defunct. Avoid the book at all costs. Seriously. This is not reverse psychology. I’m telling this to you as a friend.

Anyway, moving right along . . .

Here I am (blue shirt, tan shorts) at the softball game during BallhawkFest, which took place in Baltimore on July 23, 2011:

(In the screen shot above, did you notice the time stamp on the video control panel? That was no coincidence.)

Alan Schuster, the organizer of BallhawkFest (and webmaster of MyGameBalls.com), was interviewed:

” . . . about two years ago,” he said of founding his website. “It’s for people who go to baseball games and try to catch balls. We’ve got over 200 members . . . ”

Then things got really exciting:

Behold the glove trick:

“That’s what I’m talking about,” I’m saying in the screen shot above.

Then I got a ride to Comerica Park . . .

. . . and ran into my friend Dave Lally (pictured below in the green hat) who asked me to sign his copy of Watching Baseball Smarter:

I snagged five baseballs that day. Here I am crouching down to catch the first one:

Here I am preparing the grab the second:

Here I am using the glove trick for the third:

As you can see, I had to fling my glove out in order to knock the ball closer. While this was happening, my friend Dave took some great photos from above. If you have a couple extra minutes to spare, check out my blog entry about this game. I had a media credential and got to explore some otherwise off-limits areas.

I gave my first three baseballs to kids. The filmmaker wasn’t there for the first two, but got a nice shot of the third one. Here I am getting a high-five after I handed it over:

If you’ve read my blog entry about this game as well as the entry from the following day, then you know about the Joe Mauer home run ball that I snagged. I won’t retell the whole story here, but basically . . .

1) The ball landed on a platform between the outfield wall and the stands.
2) I ran over and tried to knock it closer with my glove trick.
3) I accidentally knocked it into bullpen instead (and felt like an ass).
4) A security guard tossed it to me.

Here I am flinging my glove out at it . . .

. . . and here I am reaching up for the grab through a sea of hands:

The magnified look inside the red circle is not the result of my Photoshop skills. That’s actually in the documentary.

In the final third of the film, I’m shown approaching the Free Library of Philadelphia with my then-girlfriend Jona:

In the screen shot above, she’s pointing at the small marquee. Here’s what it says:

I gave a talk that night about The Baseball and did a signing afterward. Here I am telling the story about Charlie Sheen buying an entire pavilion of seats in order to snag a home run ball:

(It’s a true story, and Sheen failed. See pages 81-82 in the book.)

On my way out of the auditorium, some random guy approached me and showed me something in a random book:

Turns out that How to Snag Major League Baseballs (along with my misspelled name) was listed in the bibliography of a book called The Disciple Making Church: From Dry Bones to Spiritual Vitality.

The random guy showed it to the filmmaker . . .

. . . and explained the connection as follows: “I was reading a Christian book, and I looked in the bibliography, and out of all these Christian books, there was one book that was totally different: How to Snag Major League Baseballs by a guy named Zack Hample. The point that this guy was making was if Christians could be as committed to Jesus Christ and working for the kingdom of god as Zack is to catching major league baseballs, we’d turn the world upside-down in a positive way.”


Then I signed copies of my books. Here I am talking to a young fan . . .

. . . whose mother was telling me about a foul ball that he’d caught at Citi Field. Cool kid. His name is Max.

Before the book signing, I had visited the Pitch In For Baseball warehouse in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. (This is the charity that I’ve been working with since 2009.) Here I am with Tom Schoenfelder, the operations manager:

In the screen shot above, Tom is beginning to say, “We try to use anything that’s safe and in a playable condition, so when we get stuff donated — this here is perfect. It’s not cracked. It’s not dented. The handle’s still in good shape, but it’s just a little bit old.”

Tom was in the process of boxing up some equipment and uniforms, so I helped for a few minutes:

FYI: I plan to raise money again for Pitch In For Baseball this season. If you’re thinking about making a pledge, hang tight for now. As Spring Training gets underway, I’ll post a separate entry with instructions. Also, Pitch In For Baseball has a new MLBlog, and if you click here, you’ll see an entry that Tom wrote about his experience being in the documentary. Also, Pitch In For Baseball is on Twitter @PIFB_HelpsKids. Also, I wrote a big blog entry about the visiting the charity and doing the book signing, so if you missed it, click here.

Toward the end of the documentary, there’s some footage of my writing group . . .

. . . and of me on the subway platform (one stop away from Yankee Stadium) . . .

. . . and of my yellow-shirted companions at BallhawkFest. Here we are waiting for Camden Yards to open . . .

. . . and here I am getting my ticket scanned:

The final scene of the documentary shows me back at my place, summing it all up:

In the screen shot above, I’m beginning to say, “My dad was a ballboy for a minor league team way back in 1939, and he told me that after games, the teams would give him all the old baseballs, and he must’ve had hundreds of them — and when I was little, I said, ‘Well, alright, where are they? Let’s go play with them. Let’s DO something,’ and he said, ‘Well, I didn’t SAVE them. I didn’t know I was gonna have a kid someday who was gonna be obsessed with baseball,’ so it was just like, UHHH!!! So maybe in some subconscious way, my whole collection is, like, making up for that loss in childhood.”

That’s some pretty deep self-analysis, folks.

Just before the final credits, there’s a montage of clips that hadn’t made it into the main portion of the film. Here’s one of my favorites:

Check out the photo that was used during the credits:

It was a still shot that the filmmaker grabbed at the top of my leap while I played with my No. 24 sign at Comerica Park. I didn’t end up using that photo in my 30-stadium collage. I picked this one instead. Here’s the whole thing.

(한국, 감사합니다. 난 당신을 사랑 해요.)



  1. James

    Hey Zack,

    You just told me not to read How To Snag Major League Baseballs. Which is a bummer because I was interested in reading it. I learned a lot from Watching Baseball Smarter.

    Is there any chance you would do a revised edition of How To Snag Major League Baseballs so that it wasn’t so “TERRIBLE”?

    If not I guess I will just have to keep reading your blog and pinching pennies to save up for a private ball catching lesson at one of the stadiums.

  2. Zack Hample

    You’ll be glad to know that I’ve written a revised version of How to Snag Major League Baseballs. The third (and final) section in my new book, The Baseball, is called “How to Snag Major League Baseballs,” and get this: the section, all by itself, is even longer than my entire first book. And it’s really good.

  3. DanR

    Zack, I will agree. HTSMLBs is terrible. Biggest waste of $55 I’ve ever spent on eBay. hahaha James, he’s right about section three of ‘The Baseball’ though – it’s well written, easy to follow, and the tips really do work! (I sound like an infomercial). Never snagged a single ball in my life before reading The Baseball, snagged one at Yankee Stadium the first game after. True story.

  4. Nicholas Badders

    Nice Entry!
    I don’t know if you have seen it, but I found a Twitter page the other day called “Why No Zack Hample?” with the handle @getzackincave In the bio, it says “We need to get Zack Hample in the MLB Fan Cave for 2012. Help us do it!” And its location is “SHOULD BE MLB Fan Cave” I thought I would share it with you.

  5. markmcconville

    Would’ve been cool if we could see the documentary but its all good, this entry and all your blog entries basically sum it all up, and as for The Baseball, great book and like Dan R i had never snagged a ball at a game before reading it, using all the tips and tricks i managed to get 30 balls in 13 games in 3 different stadiums this past season including an Omar Infante game homer.

  6. Nicholas Badders @nickbaters on Twitter)

    I just told all 52 of my twitter followers to follow @getzackincave Lets see how many followers we can get!

  7. jere80

    “my kitchen cabinets are ugly. They were like that when I moved in, and I don’t feel like paying thousands of dollars to replace them”

    Couldn’t you just cover them with business cards?

  8. Ricky

    Cool stuff Zack. Ever see the movie 50/50? I don’t mean this as an insult, but when Joseph Gordon Levett shaves his head, and he has on a Mariners hat, he resembles you somewhat……kind of odd…..

  9. mlblogsfishfry55

    The blue MLB shirt you’re wearing is the one you bought off a fan at the All-Star game, right? That’s a funny story, little did that guy know how much it’d mean to you.

  10. Greg Barasch

    Hahahahah, the picture of you with your “14” sign at Sun Life still cracks me up every time.

  11. Zack Hample

    I remember the Infante homer. That was pretty slick. Glad the book helped you out.

    No black, you say?

    Awesome. Thanks so much. Let me know if you get any good responses. At this point, though, I think it’s too late.

    I wish you hadn’t said that. Now I might have to do it.

    You’re welcome, and thanks for asking. When the documentary was being filmed, I didn’t think that it was going to turn out well. It just didn’t seem that the filmmaker (James) was getting good/compelling footage. He really only filmed me at one game (at Comerica), and there wasn’t even batting practice that day. (He tried to film me everywhere, but every team except the Tigers rejected his requests; the Orioles initially said he could film at Camden and then broke their promise.) But as it turned out, he did a great job of editing and came up with a solid (in my opinion) product. I wish that there had been a scene at the Argosy Book Store, but I wasn’t working there last summer, so I guess he didn’t feel like the store was a big enough part of my life to include. Anyway, overall, I really like it.

    Never seen it. No offense taken. Joseph Gordon Levett is a very handsome man.

    FISH FRY 55-
    Yes! Good call. I’m going to tweet that guy (Dustin Geiger is his name) and let him know.

    Cool. How much of the book (and which part) was included in the sample?

    I actually did have a little gathering at my place a couple weeks ago to show the film to some friends. Not sure how to organize something that’d be open to the public.

    Yes, in 1994 (Florida) and 1995 (Arizona), but not since. I just don’t really care about the pre-season, mainly because I don’t count those baseballs in my collection. If I had unlimited time/money (and fewer interests), I’d be there every year, but as things stand, Spring Training just isn’t a priority.

    It still cracks ME up.

  12. Cook & Son Bats

    I thought James made great use of music and visuals. It seemed very professional to me. I loved the little montage he did with your stadium number signs, I actually found myself wishing he’d seen you through to 30 so the montage could keep going. I also liked how, during my two second cameo, I am spraying and rubbing the back of Tim’s neck with sun block before that toasty-hot ballhawkfest homerun derby. I was able to point that out to my wife and say, “See, I’m a great father!” Thanks, James! Lastly, I was quite impressed with your piano skills!

  13. Skim

    When I first saw the 21:31, I immediately looked at the date of the ballhawkfest, which was 7-23-11. I looked again and I thought, Wait a minute, 2,131=Cal Ripken Jr.=Iron Man=Amazing. Then I clicked your link and I saw it.
    Have you ever seen LA Memorial Coliseum in a baseball setup? It’s a joke (250 to left!)

  14. Double T

    it ends at the part big money opportunities when the Sean Casey hit the first home run at PNC Park and Adrian Brown threw it in to the crowd.

  15. Zack Hample

    Ha, nice. If you wife (or anyone) doubts your excellent fathering skills, I’ll set the record straight. You (and your boys) are the best.

    Yeah, I’ve seen the set up. Seems like it’d be fun to snag there.

    Ahh, thanks.

  16. Nicholas Badders @nickbaters on Twitter)

    As of right now…. 2 followers…
    On another note, I almost have my parents convinced to let me go to Ballhawk Fest in LA…

  17. Jacob Danovitch

    The day that I finished reading your book, I met you in Toronto, the day before you caught #5000. Also, you’ll never get that signed, Rios is a jack@$$. Take it from a Jays fan. Ever seen that video with him refusing the autograph for the kid? But I digress, that day I caught 3 balls. I’m currently in Toronto, and there’s a small chance I might get to go to Ball Hawk Fest, west or east. Not sure. If you’re ever in Toronto, drop me a line.

  18. bigleaguebaseballs

    The 2000 ASG ball is considered Navy or Dark Blue and Red, not black. Same as their uniforms that year (actually it’s listed as Navy, Scarlet and grey). It really is hard to tell though, most of the originals look black especially without some serious light reflection.

    Here are some sites that list the official colors from 2000: http://sportslogos.net/logo.php?id=giggb9rjvkm4ev8zxmga6mo5j

  19. ddboy77

    Hi, I’m David. I love your blog. It’s very interesting and well written. I was wondering if you could check mine out. I’m a kid who just started to blog. Please comment advice. http://wp.me/29yiz

  20. Zack Hample

    Sorry for disappearing lately. I’ve been dealing with some unpleasant stuff and hope to be blogging again next week.

    Any update with your parents? What is it gonna take to convince them?

    Someday, somehow, I will get that damn baseball signed.

    Thank you for educating me. I feel humbled, but wiser, so it’s worth it.

    Yeah, and I might get LEAKED into prison.

    If you search for the books on Amazon (or abe.com), they should all pop up.

    Thanks. I don’t have time to check it out right now, but hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

    I don’t mind at all. You da man,

  21. Nicholas Badders

    I have no clue. We have been talking about what we want to do this summer and as of right now, there is a decent chance that I will be able to go. We would probably spend a week or two down there. If I can go, I am really looking forward to it. Are you planning on attending both events or just one?

  22. Zack Hample

    I have no idea. Right now, I’m working full-time, and I’m not sure how much time I’m going to be able to take off during the season. My first priority will be to visit the Marlins’ new stadium; I haven’t even begun to think about BallhawkFest.

    You’re welcome, but do us both a favor and DON’T buy “How to Snag Major League Baseballs.” It’s really terrible.



  23. Skim

    I went to Spring Training open workouts in Jupiter for the Cardinals, and I’m glad I brought a string backpack because I snagged 10 baseballs, a personal record. I’ll count them in my collection, but I’m going to get them signed. Not on the sweet spot though, because 8 of them have a practice stamp on them, and another I got signed by Red Schoendienst.

  24. Zack Hample

    The writing is bad, I didn’t know much about stadiums outside of New York, and I encouraged people to be greedy. Three strikes.

    Congrats on getting your season off to a great start.

  25. Zack Hample

    Teach your brother and sister how to snag baseballs for themselves. If they don’t put in an effort (or if they’re simply bad at it), then it’s not your problem.

  26. travler

    Hello I’m South Korean and I’ve impressed by your passion for baseball. Thank you for giving me passion and meaning of life. I hope you will have a good time in South Korean ball park for ballhawking someday ^^

  27. Zack Hample

    Thank you so much! This is such a nice comment. I hope I can visit South Korea someday and watch some baseball. That would be incredible.

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 )

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