As most of you know, last night Alex Rodriguez collected his 3,000th hit with a towering home run to right field for career home run number 667. Before I go any further, I would like to congratulate A-Rod. Only 29 players have ever surpassed 3,000 hits, and that’s an incredible milestone. So congrats A-Rod on an incredible career so far, and keep on mashing.
Now on to his 3,000th hit. He is only the third player of all time to reach that milestone on a home run (after Wade Boggs and Derek Jeter). The problem with A-Rod’s home run is that the fan who caught it, “famous” ball-hawk Zack Hample, is refusing to return it. He believes that A-Rod shouldn’t be returned the ball because “he doesn’t deserve anything from a common fan like me.” Now you might remember when Jeter hit his, fan Christian Lopez returned it and stated, “Mr. Jeter earned it, it’s the right thing to do.” Two polar opposites right here.
Personally, I’m not a fan of this Hample guy, and not just because he won’t return the ball to Mr. Rodriguez. Being from New York, I constantly recognize him in the stands when I go to Yankee or Mets games. I’ve caught 29 baseballs at Major League Baseball games in my lifetime, but this guy has caught over 8,000 baseballs, and used some less than humane tactics. He learns other languages to communicate to foreign players, switches apparel in between batting practice to seem like fans of different teams, and on numerous occasions I’ve seen him knock over and steal baseballs from little kids.
At a Mets game I was at a month or so ago, a batting practice home run was launched into the stands and the only people in the section were a 12-year-old girl and her father. The girl ran towards the ball in excitement, but her smile would soon turn into a frown when a grown man scaled a five-foot wall and hopped a railing in order to box her out and collect the ball for himself. Despite numerous boos and shouts from other fans, Hample just put his head down and ran to another section to keep catching balls. He has thousands of baseballs, but he couldn’t just let one go for this girl to possibly get her first. It makes me sick.
In order to keep this family friendly, I’m simply going to call Mr. Hample a jerk. He is a fan who has taken the art of going to a ballpark and seeing a baseball game to a new level, and has ruined numerous experiences for other fans in order to add to his count of balls. I wish the New York Yankees or Major League Baseball could take the ball from him and return it to A-Rod in exchange for nothing. This man does not deserve anything that he’s probably going to receive for this baseball, and it sickens me to think that he won’t return it after all the years of hard work A-Rod has put himself through in order to reach this milestone.
And to Zack Hample, if you somehow read this, hang up your mitt, dude. You’re a 40-year-old man single-handedly ruining kids’ days at the ballpark for a mediocre personal gain. Maybe its time for you to get a real job and contribute to the world instead of catching balls and beating up little kids like the pond scum you are.