Here's an interesting twist to Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit that no one could have anticipated.
Well, no one aside from the man who actually caught it.
That would be notorious baseball ballhawk Zack Hample, who over the course of his "career" has now snagged over 8,000 baseballs at major league games.
Hample has even written three books about his area of expertise, including one titled "How to Snag Major League Baseballs: More Than 100 Tested Tips That Really Work," which was published back in 1999.
He's been on the receiving end of several notable milestones over the years, including Mike Trout’s first major league home run on July 24, 2011 at Camden Yards. He also caught Barry Bonds' 724th career home run at Petco Park in 2006, and over the years has caught several balls at the Home Run Derby in numerous locations.
Now he adds Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit, which should prove to be the most valuable of them all.
Of course, no one knows that better than Hample, and before all's said and done we're guessing A-Rod will wish he'd hit it any place other than directly into Hample's glove.
@Yankeefan98 I'll give him the finger and a dummy ball. That man deserves favors from no one, least of all a fan.
— Zack Hample (@zack_hample) June 19, 2015
A home run to left field or even a broken bat single on the infield would have been preferable to dealing with Hample.
And no, Hample's not going to back off his stance now that he's actually somehow managed to wrangle that "one-in-a-million souvenir." If anything, it will be even more difficult to pry it from his hands.
"My intention all along, I've been imagining this scenario as a 1-in-a-million, was not to give it back," Hample said. "You know, 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 that, whatever you want to do with it is your choice."
He added, "I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who has made half a billion dollars in his career, doesn't really need a favor from a normal civilian and a fan like me. I don't know right now if I'm going to sell it. I mean, depending on what the Yankees could offer, I would consider giving it back. I'm not giving it back for — I don't plan to give it back for a chance to meet him and full autographed bats because I don't collect bats, I collect baseballs. Just having this ball is so meaningful to me. I can't believe that I got it."
Here's Hample with the ball, pretty much taunting A-Rod and the Yankees.
— Zack Hample (@zack_hample) June 20, 2015
As for A-Rod's thoughts.
A-Rod, joking, says he wishes someone different caught his ball. "The thing I kept thinking was where's Jeet's guy?" Says not too important
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) June 20, 2015
Jeet's guy is in reference to Christian Lopez, the fan who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit and returned it free of charge.
Naturally, it could never be that easy for A-Rod. And in many ways, it only seems fitting that there would be a potential prolonged drama surrounding his 3,000th hit. Everything he does is destined to be covered in controversy and dispute, and the fate of this historic baseball will be no different.
As always, stay tuned.
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