We've met Zack Hample before, and we haven't exactly been kind to him. That's because Hample is a ballhawk—a member of that fraternity of obsessive dudes who hang around ballparks and trample babies whenever Omar Infante flips a baseball into the stands. Nevertheless, Zack reached out to us this morning after suffering what he deemed to be a grave injustice at last night's Dodgers-Nationals game. Zack says that he was unfairly kicked out of Nationals Park, and he wants his story to be heard by the masses.
It started when Zack tried to arrange the day's bounty—11 baseballs in all—in a club-level hallway of the stadium so that he could pose for a photograph with his trophies (that's him setting up for the photo-op in the picture above). At that point, a stadium employee must have noticed him and reached the conclusion that Zack was illegally selling baseballs like some sort of dirty huckster. At least, that's what Zack thinks.
We'll let him explain the rest:
I was approached by a police officer. He told me he'd gotten a call from someone who reported that I was selling baseballs. I was like, WTF, and told him very calmly that it simply wasn't true and that there must've been a mistake. Then more cops showed up. Then the head of stadium security showed up, along with his assistant and other stadium personnel. There were seven of them, and they insisted that I'd sold a baseball, which they told me is illegal to do on their private property. I told them that I'd snagged more than 6,300 baseballs in my life and never sold one — that I was proud of never having sold one . . . that I once turned down a $10,000 offer for a Barry Bonds home run that I caught, that I'd turned down a $500 offer last year after catching the Mike Trout homer, that I give away baseballs to kids at just about every game I attend, that I've raised all that money for charity, and so on. I even offered to take a lie-detector test, but they didn't want to hear any of it. They simply insisted that I'd sold a baseball, and they ejected me from the stadium.
It really sucks, and I don't even know what to do at this point.
Thanks for listening to me rant.
Jackbooted security goons vs. baby-punching souvenir-monger? Tough call, but we'll suspend our usual sneering at ballhawks and side with Hample on this one. Can't a fellow take a photo of himself and his 11 official MLB baseballs without getting hassled by The Man?