7/23/14 at Yankee Stadium

The highlight of the day was snagging my 7,500th baseball — a toss-up from some random trainer-lookin’ guy on the Rangers. Here I am with it after batting practice:


That was my sixth of seven balls. My first of the day had been thrown by Adrian Beltre, the last was tossed by Rougned Odor, and the other four were BP homers by the Rangers, three of which I caught on the fly.

The lowlight of the day (other than getting into a shouting match with an old guy during BP who yanked my arm down to prevent me from reaching for a ball) was misjudging Brett Gardner’s home run in the 3rd inning. I should’ve caught it, but instead managed to maneuver myself out of position. It was horrendously dumb . . . but the Yankees’ grounds crew seemed to be even dumber. Check out the following photo:


When it started raining in the bottom of the 5th inning, I got caught in traffic on the stairs, and before I made it into the tunnel, I took a quick peek back at the field. It appeared that the crew was pulling the tarp *off* the infield and moving it into the outfield.


A minute or two later, it was raining so hard that they couldn’t move it back onto the infield. As a result (and as you can see in the photo above), the dirt turned into a muddy lake.

It wasn’t supposed to rain for long, but I took off. I figured the field was so messed up that it would take the crew an hour to fix it — if it could even be played on at all. And I was right. As it turned out, the game was going to resume at around 10pm, but then the managers came out and inspected the field and were like, “Nope, not gonna happen.” Here’s an article and video about the tarp incident on MLB.com.

As for me, I’ve now been to 46 games this season and snagged 325 balls. That’s a decent total, but I’m not too happy about my lack of game home runs. I’ve only gotten two, which is pretty lame. I’m thinking about traveling to Chicago and/or San Diego to snag some commemorative balls, but I’m not sure if it’ll happen.


  1. PassionUnite

    Why don’t u post as much as u used too? I always enjoy reading new posts, except this season u haven’t been posting as much as the previous years, and it’s interesting to read since u give a unique perspective of games as a ballhawk. Thanks if u respond.

  2. Alex

    I’m surprised opposing players haven’t caught on to the fact that you wear their logos in hopes of being thrown a ball.

    P.S. I caught a David Ortiz batting practice home run on the fly in the 200 level of Rogers Centre this Tuesday. It was pretty cool because I told my friend before the game that I would catch nan Ortiz dinger from the second deck. Your book with tricks on where to stand and position yourself was useful…let me know next time you’re going to catch a game in Toronto.

    Alex from Canada

  3. Zack Hample

    Ha. Will do. I’ll probably tweet my plans if I end up going.

    There’s nothing stopping me from going, except my own motivation. I’d really have to psych myself up for a baseball trip at this point.

    Thanks for asking and for the kind words. I’ve cut way back on blogging for two main reasons. First, it takes a LOT of time, and I kinda burned myself out, and second, this year I’ve mostly been attending games at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, which are both such awful places that it’s not really worth blogging about.

    Awesome. Congrats. And you’re welcome. Glad the book helped you out. You might not like hearing this, but I’m actually pretty pissed at the Blue Jays right now. Casey Janssen recognizes me and has clearly been telling other people on the team who I am and *not* to throw me balls. Last month, Josh Thole called me out, and yesterday at Yankee Stadium, Bob Stanley yelled at me to “Get out of here!” in a snotty way and accused me of being a Yankee fan (when I was wearing a Blue Jays cap). So I probably won’t be visiting Toronto anytime soon, and I don’t even want to see the Jays in New York. They’re dead to me. (But things’ll change eventually.)

    ‘Sup! Hopefully I’ll make it out and we can catch up.

    Totally within the realm of possibility.

    Thanks! Not sure about Philly. At this point, I would predict no, but that could always change.

    Ha! That’s outstanding. I’m tempted to learn some of those moves and bust ’em out next time I catch a home run.

    Zero percent chance. I’ll be running my writing group that night in NYC. But I’m thinking about coming down on Thursday. Check back in with me in a few days, and I’ll give you an update.

  4. Brian

    I saw you at the game Friday night and as of the end of what BP there was you were shut out, did you continue your at least 1 ball a game streak?

  5. Zack Hample

    Friday (July 25th) was ROUGH. For those who don’t know, the Yankees had one group of BP after the gates opened, and then the Jays didn’t hit at all. Anyway, to answer your question, yeah, I did manage to keep my streak alive with a ball tossed up at the Blue Jays’ bullpen right before the game.

  6. Ed

    I already have tickets for the game Wednesday. My son, Ryan, was wondering if you would be at the game Wednesday. Since the Orioles are playing the Angels, I was telling him about your blog entry when you caught Mike Trout’s first homerun while in Baltimore. If you remember, we met you last August at Citi Field (Mets v Phillies) and you included the picture you took with Ryan in your blog about the game. Catch up with you another time.

  7. Dave Mitchell

    Glad to see you’ve made some more games. I enjoy “ballhawking vicariously” through your blogs, as I rarely get to more than a couple non-Spring Training MLB games a year and limit my participation to BP for the most part. (Got to the Trop for the Rays/Brewers Monday night … clanked two BP HRs right off the web of my mitt within 5 minutes. Not a great night. Did get a Kris Davis toss up though). Cheers!

  8. Zack Hample

    Oof. Sorry to hear you had a tough time with those home run balls, but glad you didn’t go home empty-handed.

    Not sure about Cincy, but I’m leaning toward trying to make it happen.

    Those are big words coming from a guy who’s never written anything in his life. Maybe if you actually get around to sending me those photos from the July 31st game in Baltimore, I’ll be able to produce an entry to your liking, brah.

  9. Matt K

    Zack, I know this is probably a stupid question, but tomorrow is the first time I’m going to Citi for batting practice,

    What time do the gates open?

  10. lifeofasnagger

    I might be going to Wrigley for some of the cool 100th year baseballs! Let me know if you are going for sure!

  11. Zack Hample


    MATT K-
    Crap, sorry I didn’t get a chance to respond in time. I hope you were able to get that info somewhere else, and that you had a good time.

    Will do. If I plan anything, I’ll post it on Twitter. There are lots of folks who’ve been hoping to catch up with me on the road, so that’s the easiest way for me to let everyone know. I hope that’s alright.

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