You hate to see it
Most baseball fans probably recognize 43-year-old Zack Hample as the guy who wears a hat with the MLB logo on it while running around the right field bleachers at Yankee Stadium trying to collect as many baseballs as possible. His obsession has netted him a collection of more than 11,000 baseballs, which he stores in 32-gallon garbage cans, according to the 9,000-word FAQ on his website.
He sometimes goes to extreme lengths to add to his collection, like the time he got a military member to take him to the Marlins–Braves game at Fort Bragg that was meant to be only for service members and their families. Last year, with stadiums closed to fans, he resorted to standing outside ballparks and hoping to luck into a ball or two. He stood outside the gate behind the Mets’ bullpen at Citi Field and yelled into the ballpark until someone finally threw him a ball. According to the incredibly exhaustive statistics on his website, Hample “attended” nine games at six stadiums in 2020 (including two NLCS games inside Globe Life Park) and came away with 42 baseballs.
Stadiums are open again, though, so Hample can get back to his normal ball-chasing ways. He has been to five parks so far this year, including a trip on Monday night to Philadelphia, where he came oh-so-close to collecting a home run ball off the bat of Giants first baseman Brandon Belt.
Hample came sprinting down the aisle, into the second row, and when the ball rolled down to the first row, threw himself over the seats and fell flat on his ass. Another fan came away with the ball.
Hample does this for a living, making money through his YouTube channel and a baseball-hunting concierge service where he’ll accompany you to the ballpark and guarantee you’ll leave with at least one ball. He loves what he does, but many baseball fans find him obnoxious. In addition to the Fort Bragg controversy, he also held the ball from Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit hostage for several weeks. His attitude can be off-putting, too. He’s all too eager to engage with his detractors online.
Hample came away with 12 balls on Monday night, bringing his 2021 total to 104. Take that, haters.
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