Alex Rodriguez’s historic 3,000th hit ended up in the hands of a famous home-run ballhawk, and some Yankees fans aren't very happy about it.
Zack Hample, who boasts that he has caught over 8,000 major-league baseballs, came away with Rodriguez’s milestone first-inning home run ball to right field in section 103 — just below where the Bleacher Creatures sit. The 37-year-old New Yorker says he became a Yankees season-ticket holder last year and picked the right field area because it’s a "good spot."
Here's A-Rod's 3,000th hit/ball. Told the @Yankees I'm keeping it. Got it authenticated by @MLB. This is un-REAL. pic.twitter.com/qEo2qX9Iru— Zack Hample (@zack_hample) June 20, 2015
As he was being escorted by security to a private area for negotiation, Hample didn’t sound like a guy who was going to make it easy for the Yankees.
“My intention all along, imagining this scenario as a one-in-a-million, was not to give it back,” Hample said. “Just because – the guy who got Jeter’s 3,000th hit, a lot of people called him an idiot. A lot of people said that he was a wonderful person and extremely generous, and I really think whatever you want to do with it is your choice. I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who’s made half-a-billion dollars in their career, doesn’t really need a favor from a normal civilian, a fan like me.
“I don’t know right now if I’m gonna sell it,” Hample continued. “Depending on what the Yankees could offer, I would consider giving it back. I don’t plan to give it back for a chance to meet him and four autographed bats, because I don’t collect bats. I collect baseballs. Just having this ball is so meaningful to me, and I can’t believe that I got it.”
Hample’s website says he’s on a mission to snag baseballs for a non-profit charity called Pitch In For Baseball, which provides baseball equipment to underprivileged kids around the world. However, some of the Bleacher Creatures regulars don’t see Hample in the same light.
“That guy’s a d-bag!” said Bald Vinny, leader of the Creatures. “That guy sucks. He pushes little kids out of the way. He is the worst ever. That guy is the worst ever. There is literally – nobody worse could’ve gotten that home run ball than that f---ing guy. He’s a d-bag.
“Tell him I said, ‘F--k off,’” he added. “That guy sucks.”
Tonight Twitter is blowing up with mostly criticisms of the notorious ball hog.
Please god tell me Zach Hample didn’t catch the A-Rod homer. Please— Rob Iracane (@iracane) June 20, 2015
No one likes you, @zack_hample because no one likes a grown man who brings his glove to MLB games. https://t.co/BJyOZMZOoV— Neil Keefe (@NeilKeefe) June 20, 2015