5/2/13 in Kansas City

I woke up at 7am with about four hours of sleep, left my hotel with Neal Stewart at 7:30, and made it to the local FOX news station half an hour later:


The weather was brutal — rainy with a high in the 30s and a chance of snow . . . not exactly ideal conditions for a baseball game. The Royals and Rays were scheduled to play at 1:10pm, and even if the weather were perfect, I’m not sure I would’ve gone. Aside from being exhausted, I had four interviews scheduled that were going to run into the early afternoon.

Anyway, I had some time to spare before my 8:40am interview at FOX, so while I was standing around doing nothing, I took a few behind-the-scenes photos. Here’s what it looked like inside the studio:


Here’s a shot of the weatherwoman doing her thing in front of the green screen — note the monitor on the left that shows her with all the graphics:


(By the way, WordPress’s spellcheck is sexist; it has no problem with “weatherman,” but it’s underlining “weatherwoman” in red. Just thought you all should know.)

Neal and I had brought some props, including the eight baseballs that I’d snagged the day before at Kauffman Stadium and some BIGS Sunflower Seeds:


Unfortunately, at the very last second, Neal was told that the seeds had to go (although we did get ’em on camera for a few teasers leading into the segment, and of course the BIGS logo was visible on my clothing). As far as we know, FOX never posted it online, but Neal was filming from off the to side with his own little camera. Here’s a screen shot that shows me live on the air:


Did you notice my books on the monitor in the background? At the time, I had no idea that they were being shown, so when I found out later, it was obviously a very nice surprise. I never thought I’d say this, but thank you, FOX!

Moments after my segment wrapped up, Neal accidentally photo-bombed the next one. (You seriously MUST click that link. The video is less than 20 seconds. Do it!) Basically, he was standing off to the side, and the cameraman didn’t bother letting him know that he was gonna be in the background of the next shot. Ha!

I was in a great mood when we made it back to the green room . .


. . . but Neal was feeling down about his TV blooper:


On our way out of the building, I took a photo of the doors that lead to the studio . . .


. . . and then I got a peek inside the control room:


After that, we stopped briefly at a diner and placed a to-go order. Here I am reading the previous day’s box scores while waiting for my food — scramble eggs, potatoes, and pancakes:


Neal happened to have an old college friend who lived nearby, so we dropped by his house to eat . . .


. . . and watch the FOX segment, which he had recorded:


Here’s a closer look at me on TV:


I know I already linked to Neal’s epic photo-bomb, but it was so damn funny that I need to post a separate screen shot of it:


That has been a constant source of laughter ever since. Oh, man.

While I was at Neal’s friend’s place, I did a taped/phone interview with a radio station in Dallas, which aired the following day. (I don’t have a link. Sorry.)

After that, Neal and I GPS’ed our way . . .


. . . to this radio station:


I was scheduled for a live, in-studio interview here at 11am. Once again (and as we’d planned), there was some time to spare, so I took some more photos of the snazzy interior. Here’s the staircase . . .


. . . and here’s a shot of Neal in the lobby:


In the photo above, do you see the balcony above the TV monitor? More on that in a bit . . .

Neal hung out in the studio while I was interviewed and took the following photo while I was live on the air:


Click here to listen to the segment.

I was on a show on 610 Sports Radio called “The Day Shift with Lake and Bink.” The two hosts, Henry Lake and Jay Binkley were cool as hell. Here I am with them after we finished:


Kauffman Stadium, by the way, was about to open, and I was nowhere near it. In fact, I stayed at the radio station for an extra half-hour in order to do a Skype interview for the Cleveland Plain Dealer website. (I’m going to be in Cleveland on May 7th.) Here I am during the interview . . .


. . . and if you want to watch it, click here and jump ahead to the 23:25 mark.

That was supposed to be my final interview of the day, but on our way out of the radio station, I ran into Jay, and he asked me about my glove trick. First I described how it worked. Then I offered to show it to him. And then he asked if he could do a video segment with me for the station’s website.

Now, do you remember that balcony in the lobby? Oh yeah, baby! While I set up my glove for Jay and the camera, Neal placed one of my baseballs on the floor below. Here’s a screen shot from a video that Neal ended up filming . . .


. . . and if you want to see how the segment turned out, click here.

It was only 1pm, but I was ready for bed. My lack of sleep was really getting to me, and on top of that, I’d been “on” for like four hours. Being interviewed is fun — don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining — but there’s lots of pressure, and it’s draining.

Neal and I went back to our respective rooms at the hotel. I forced myself to stay awake long enough to watch the first three and a half innings of the Royals game. That’s when the grounds crew pulled the tarp out, and when I woke up three hours later, I learned that it had been postponed (after a two-hour delay). So glad I decided to skip it.

Remember Garrett and “Big Glove Bob” from 5/1/13 at Kauffman Stadium? They were there. Suckers.

When I headed out to dinner at around 6pm, it was snowing! Garrett told me later that this was the first time it snowed in Kansas City in the month of May since 1907. Lucky me. At least I had a nice, meal, though. I went to a place called Jack Stack and got a large, double-appetizer — spinach salad with onions, strawberries, pecans, and feta . . . AND . . . soup with chicken and sausage:


For my main course, I got pork and beef burnt ends with a side of beans and “cheesy corn”:


Meanwhile, at Kauffman Stadium, this was happening:


Garrett found that photo on Twitter and sent it to me. Crazy, huh?

Thankfully, the weather was perfect the following day (May 3rd) in Arlington, Texas. Stay tuned for my blog entry about it. I got a tour of a baseball card factory and then went to the Rangers game . . .


  1. Ray Burton

    Nice to get a break Zack. Shame about the game. I get the feeling you’re angling for a job as a food critic ? You’ve become a major media celebrity. Good luck and go for it !

  2. Brad

    Hey Zach, today I was at the Toronto Card Expo and when I walk around, I always look for 1992 and 1993 World Series balls to buy. I like to get them signed by the players who were on the team. I came across a seller who had this ball I had never scene before. It was a 1992 World Series Ball with Fay Vincent’s signature. Apparently the World Series balls had been made, Vincent resigned and they made the new balls without a signature. They were supposed to be destroyed. Do you know anything more about this story?

  3. Rye Mort

    Yo Zack! Later this month the stars will align and I’ll finally be able to be at the same stadium as you when you come to US Cellular. Just wanted to ask what your plans are and where you’ll be before the gates open. I’m really looking forward to watching you work inside the park instead of just reading about it!


  4. blakevonhagen

    Hey Zack! Not sure if you heard, but the Rockies are using 20th anniversary baseballs this year. I got one today at the Braves vs Mets game! They are pretty sweet.


    Hey Zack this is Darron from STL. When are you going to be this way? I am no longer a Ball Hawk……I am now an usher at Busch Stadium now! Started the job opening day. BOOM! Let me know when you will be here in St.Louis.

  6. Zack Hample

    “Major” might be a bit of an overstatement, but hey, it’s been a good run lately, and my schedule is packed with more interviews (here in Ohio now) for the next two days.

    I heard something about that, but you know who you should ask? Contact my friend Zach (I’m Zack, BTW) at bigleaguebaseballs.com. He’s a true expert on commemorative baseballs and logos and the history of all that stuff.

    Coolness. Looking forward to seeing you there. Everything has been SO rushed on this trip. Everyday, I feel lucky just to make it to the stadium before the gates open, so the chances are that I’ll be rolling up to the gates at the last minute (by which I mean half an hour ahead of time). I forget which gate opens earliest, if any, but I’ll figure it out and be there, or if they all open at the same time, then I guess I’ll just enter one of the outfield gates. Hmm. Let’s say . . . the left field gate. Does that sound right?

    You give good advice.

    I think we should all move to San Diego and/or to a city that has a stadium with a dome.

    That’s snow way to enjoy a baseball game.

    Yup, I heard. Congrats on snagging one. I’m sure I’ll find a way to get one too by the end of the season.

    Yo! Congrats on the usher gig. Do you have a regular section? Or do they move you around? Not sure yet about when I’ll be in St. Louis, but I’ll let you know, or better yet, check back in with me at the start of June. Maybe it’ll be booked by then.

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