Thursday July 23rd, 2015

Zack Hample, the baseball collector who caught Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit baseball last month, said he was assaulted at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday by another fan while pursuing a baseball during batting practice.

Before Wednesday night’s game between the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, Hample tweeted photos of himself in the Yankee Stadium seats with apparent scratches on his neck. In the first, he wrote, “Unfortunately the answer to ‘Have you ever gotten into a fight for a ball?’ is now yes. I was flat-out assaulted.”

Subsequent tweets, embedded below, detailed Hample meeting with Yankee Stadium security and later managing to catch the home run ball hit by Orioles first baseman Ryan Flaherty hit in the third inning.

Hample said the incident occurred when Orioles righthander Miguel Gonzalez recognized him and threw a ball his direction. “Some huge 20-ish-year-old guy with a glove took issue,” Hample tweeted. After punches were allegedly thrown, police and stadium security were involved. The other man and his family were relocated to other seats.

The Yankees later issued a statement to NJ Advance Media regarding the incident, saying it was not clear which man was the aggressor.

An incident took place between Zack Hample and another fan during batting practice when an Orioles player attempted to toss a ball into the right-field stands. After a brief altercation, the two parties were separated.

After carefully reviewing video recordings of the incident — in which no punches were thrown and there was not a clear determination of who was the aggressor — Yankees operations personnel reassigned the other fan, along with his father, to a different seat location within the stadium. Reports were also taken by security officials.

Hample, who has written a book on collecting baseballs at ballparks, caught the home run Rodriguez hit on June 19 for his 3,000th career hit. After hesitating to announce what he would do with the ball, Hample agreed to give it to the Yankees in exchange for a $150,000 donation to a charity of Hample’s choice. Hample also received perks including tickets to the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.

- Mike Fiammetta

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