Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fan who caught A-Rod's 3,000th hit says he was assaulted in Yankee Stadium stands: Report

The notorious ball collector who snagged Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit last month said a man assaulted him in the right-field stands before Wednesday's game at Yankee Stadium.

Zack Hample, who claims to have snagged over 8,000 baseballs for his home run collection, posted a photo of himself bearing long scratches on the right side of his neck. Hample told NJ Advance Media that he also suffered scrapes on his back and forearms.
The Yankees, however, said there was no clear aggressor in the confrontation, but said the 37-year-old Hample did have marks on his body which their staff reported.

Hample, who has a reputation for being a little overly aggressive in his battles for the baseballs, has become a sort of a pariah with fans in the Yankee Stadium bleachers where he lurks. So his bizarre tale might hold some truth.

The self-proclaimed 'King of Snagging' said the attacker "was basically throwing punches and absolutely assaulting me like a maniac."

The Yankees released the following statement regarding the incident:

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.

Otherwise, Hample said he felt fine and returned to his season-ticket seat in right field for the game against the Orioles.

The slightly-framed Hample's critics have said he's relentless in his chase for balls, but he claims he's never gotten into a physical altercation for a ball before. 

Hample said Orioles player Miguel Gonzales recognized him on Wednesday and tried throwing him a ball three separate times Wednesday. But a pair of fans — including the one Hample said assaulted him — repeatedly struck him before stadium security stepped in and broke up the alleged attack.

"For 10, 15, 20 seconds, he was trying to injure me," said Hample, who later caught Ryan Flaherty's third-inning home run.

What's really surprising is that he never scuffled before. Those Bleacher Creatures don't play.

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