The World’s Greatest Ball Snatcher was Ejected from Citizens Bank Park on Saturday

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 3.13.32 PM Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 3.12.50 PMI’ll be honest– I don’t know which way to play this one. Do we hurl grammatical daggers at the overzealous CBP security guards who kicked out the world’s greatest home run snagger on Saturday? Or do shake our damn heads at the world’s greatest home run snagger, who refused to comply with CBP usher requests?

I’ll play it straight and let you decide.

John Mayberry’s home run on Saturday sailed over the left-center field wall and into the glove of Zack Hample, who, according to Zack Hample, is regarded as the best in the world at his craft: snagging baseballs at Major League Baseball games. He has written three books, including one on the art of, you guessed it, snagging baseballs at Major League Baseball games. He’s obtained 6,906 balls* from Major League Baseball stadiums in over two decades of honing his skills. It’s a… strange… hobby for Hample, who sometimes works in his parents’ New York bookstore, but it’s one that has earned him quite a bit of publicity (he caught Mike Trout’s first home run and Barry Bonds’ 724th.)

I spoke with him earlier this week about his trip to CBP last weekend, and he has since blogged about his experience… which included being kicked out of the ballpark on Saturday after referring to a female usher as “a [unspecified anatomical body part**]” and being threatened with jail time by security.

From Philly, with Love.

This season, Hample, who is sporting a black eye after taking a baseball to the face in Atlanta, is being sponsored by BIGs Sunflower Seeds and is traveling the country in an attempt to collect a ball from every Major League stadium. His tour is scheduled to conclude in Philadelphia at the end of the season, at which point BIGs will make a donation to support youth baseball. But on Saturday, Hample was in town for Ballhawk Fest, an annual gathering of people who like to collect balls from baseball games. Their pastime is unique, if not insanely weird.

Hample says normally would have bought a ticket in the infield – so he would be all but assured a ball from a coach, umpire or player – but, for this game, he purposely bought one for left-center in a deliberate attempt to not get a baseball (so his charitable tour could be punctuated at CBP later in the season).

Sometimes, however, like Lindsay Lohan, balls just find your mitt.

Mayberry’s home run flew deep and Hample, of course, caught it:

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 3.17.15 PM

He caught it partly because he wasn’t in his seat. He had opted to snag an open aisle seat because he gets too antsy in the middle of a row, he told me. Ushers repeatedly asked that he move, but he never fully complied. He simply switched rows, sections or basically did anything he could not to sit in his actual seat.

By the 12th inning, security had had enough.

Hample explains on his blog, where there is a much more in-depth recap of his day:

Everything seemed fine until I made it down to my row and plopped my backpack on a seat. That’s when three security supervisors surrounded me. One of them said, “We’re gonna need you to come with us. Have your ticket and ID out.”

“Is there a problem?” I asked, trying to figure out what was going on.

“Yeah, there’s a PROBLEM,” he answered.

“What did I do?” I asked.

He repeated his command about about my ticket and ID, and they all marched me up the stairs.

Once we reached the top, they asked me if I recalled having used a derogatory word to insult them, and I was like, “Huh? No, I really don’t,” and I meant it. Yeah, I have a potty-mouth sometimes, but I would never curse at a stadium employee, especially when I was already in trouble. That would be the stupidest thing ever.

I was truly puzzled and had no idea what this was all about until the guards informed me that a beer vendor had heard me use a bad word in describing them, at which point it all came back to me, and I felt horrified and embarrassed, and yes, angry. Indeed, when I was leaving the the left field seats in a huff, a young/cool-looking vendor had asked me what was up, at which point I said, “I gotta get out of here — the guards are being a bunch of . . . “

I won’t repeat the word, so don’t ask, but as I tweeted later, it wasn’t derogatory toward any culture or minority; it was an anatomical reference. I also tweeted that I was sorry. I never want to make anyone feel bad, but I was also sorry about my own behavior, namely that I stooped so low and had made a useless, throw-away comment that could not have possibly led to any positive outcome. What I said to the beer vendor could have only made things worse, and indeed it did. Is he mega-lame for ratting me out? Yeah. What’re we — in 3rd grade here? But whatever, that was his choice, and of course the whole thing could’ve been avoided had I not even uttered that word in the first place.

Anyway, the security guards were pissed at me, and when I said, “I’m sorry,” the one who was writing down my name and address shouted, “NO!!! THERE **IS** NO ‘SORRY’!!! YOU KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!?!?!”

I stared at my feet and nodded, and when he was done with my license, they escorted me toward the 3rd-base gate. On the way, the guard who had initially come to talk to me about the home run ball said, “If you attempt to reenter the stadium, I will find you and have you arrested, and you will spend a WEEK in jail; if you come back tomorrow or any other time this season, all will be forgotten. Is that understood?!”

I asked Hample if he told security that he was doing this for charity or if they had noticed his shirt, which indicated that he was there on official ball-snagging business. He said they didn’t notice until after tensions had escalated. He also said that at almost no other stadium in baseball will ushers go out of their way to hassle you about not being in your exact seat, especially when there are as many empty seats as there were by late afternoon at CBP on Saturday.

My first thought when I heard Hample’s story was that, along with the team, the attitudes of gameday employees at CBP have gone in the shitter and that this was yet another example. But the more I thought about it, the more I sided with security. Hample admitted that he ignored repeated requests to sit in his actual seat. Sure, he was there as part of a nerdy jammy jam slash charity thing… but that doesn’t give you license to bounce around outfield sections at your whim. And why, in the world, would you ever confide in a beer vendor? What, did he think it would be ironic to vent to the Coors Light guy? A costly miscalculation there. Beer guy has to make the people in his sections happy, and if Hample was annoying them by hopping around all game, beer guy was left with only one choice. Once you’re no longer of use to beer guy, you might as well be dead. You’re mere friction between him and smooth-pourin’ smooth sellin’.

Anyway, Hample is pissed about the incident and told me that he dislikes the Phillies more intensely than he had previously. He did, however, return to CBP on Sunday night with his GIRLFRIEND(!). He encountered no issue with security.

*Caught in-game or during batting practice, or given to him by someone who is paid to be in the ballpark. Not other fans. He doesn’t count balls given to him by other fans. Because there’s no honor in that. And because it would be weird.

**My bet is “cunt.”

Pics and screenshots from Hample’s blog

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39 Responses

  1. This guy sounds like a total douche. Probably got that shiner from mouthing off at the wrong people too.

    1. much like the US counter-terrorism agency has its list of cause-for-concern words, I scanned the article and a few key words set off my douche alert system. those words were grown man, collects baseballs, and brought glove to stadium. douche! end of story!

  2. I was thrown out of CBP for booing David Herndon when he was brought in to blow a lead in 2012. No surprise here. It’s like a mini-totalitarian state in there. CBP is indeed a beautiful place, and so was Berlin in 1938.

    1. StinkyNuts…you must be a real mature person…as I said in a previous post.
      The Phillies play a video that informs all fans not to verbalize in a negative manner.
      But obviously u had your head near your stinkynuts not listening. A fan must have pointed you out. Cause they don’t want morons like u ruining their experience at a beautiful ballpark. Grow up…be responsible..not a center of attention kind of a idiot.
      And you will not get thrown out of CBP…They don’t throw fans out for booing.

  3. Dude is obv a douche, but a lot of the security are as well. Was he wrong, yes.. was security playing Tmmy tough guy, yes.. it’s just more shit pilled on more shit at cbp, nobody will rest till it’s like the vet in 1997! I’ll then be happy because i can bring in 4 glass bottles of beer in my cargo short pockets and drink them in the upper levels then start a fight under the jumbo tron! Harry the K’s section is going to get wild in a few years is my prediction

    1. hey Steve….I guarantee you that Harry the K’s will never get out of hand. The Phillies make sure that all their personnel are trained to handle little girls like you…who will cry and whine and threaten to sue the Phillies when somebody throws a used hot dog wrapper and hits u in he head..let alone a glass bottle which immaturely you threaten to
      bring into the ballpark…Stay in the parking lot and tailgate ….

  4. Hes probably one of those kids who runs down the isle at the end of every inning right behind the phils dugout to catch a ball from the big man….total douche move

  5. “Caught in-game or during batting practice, or given to him by someone who is paid to be in the ballpark. Not other fans. He doesn’t count balls given to him by other fans. Because there’s no honor in that. And because it would be weird.”

    But he counts the balls that the third base coach and ball girl toss him…even though they are pretty much designated for children? Yea…that is honor. Hit him back and ask the total he has caught off a bat in game…(I’m sure plenty but not thousands)

    1. And he counts the balls he gets during batting practice when the stands are empty. That’s how he gets nearly all of his balls. It’s not like he just buys a ticket, sits in that seat, and hopes a ball comes to him.

  6. This dude would never pay for a drink again if he got some tribal sleeves and moved to Delco.

  7. “Hample is pissed about the incident and told me that he dislikes the Phillies more intensely than he had previously”

    Good, we don’t like you either, beat it pussy! Nice “told her twice” shiner

  8. My gawd, who cares. After reading this I’m actually WANTING to know if Chip Kelly did anything conventional or unconventional or if he took a shit today would be more interesting.

  9. is that how he clebrated from catching a meaningless JMJ homerun ball? Fucking christ, he must have cocked slapped an entire section when he caught bonds 724th. act like you been there before.

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  11. They should let everyone move down to any open seat so they can at least try and make it look like people still want to go to Phillies games. let the dork catch his ball and go home, no need to act like Paul Blart in a baseball stadium. if you’re a security guard anywhere, you’ve failed life and there’s a 80% chance you’re a complete dickhead.

    1. yeah Jimmy and when u spend $70 for that seat down there…I am sure you will be quite happy to have that person sitting right next to you. Also it takes out the chance that somebody who should not be in that seat “down there” being taken out by a foul ball or bat. Just your lack of common sense indicates the 100% probability you are a complete smacked ass…BTW—an avg of 36,000 still shows good support for our Phils..

  12. I was thrown out a few years ago for excessive taunting. I was down in the lower section and the people there sit on their hands.. so they didn’t like me yelling and hollering.. I was not cursing at all.. but someone texted security and they hauled me out of there like I was wearing a hitler hat and stach… I haven’t been to a game since… fuck those uptight security assholes.

    1. Hello Kev….been to a few Phils games?…well if u get your head out of your rear end while at CBP u will know the Phillies show a pretty lengthy video as their lovely ballgirls
      explain the do’s and don’t there. So everyone will have an ejoyable experience at a Major League Baseball game…these young ladies inform the people in the stands that
      excessive taunting or even cursing just once may give cause for your sorry ass to be ejected. Good baseball fans are there to see the action on the field. Not YOU making a jackass of yourself…Do you really think that ballplayer gave a rats ass what you were yelling at him…GROW UP. The security guards who ejected you. Doing their job.
      They were asked by a well paying fan to do such..You idiot.

  13. Was at the game Fri, Sat, Sun. I remember the HR by Mayberry and saw the douchenozzle in this article running around like a jackoff after catching the ball. On the Tuesday before was at the O’s vs. Stros in Baltimore, I was seated right behind the visitors dugout, left side isle seats. After every 3rd out the same group of kids 12-16 years old (5 of them i think), came storming down the stairs to get free balls, they annoyed the living shit out of me. They then tried snagging front row seats multiple times after being told to get lost. Then they snagged seats right behind us and wouldn’t shut the fuck up. So, I was super relieved when people came back to regain their seats. Question: Am I a bad person for feeling a sense of pleasure when one of these total brats came back looking for the glasses he lost while running everywhere like a total out of control jackoff?

  14. I saw the security guard in the white shirt in the first pic throw a guy out of a left center field section around the 7th inning on saturday after he passed out and people were putting shit on his head. lol. Passed out guy wasnt hurting anyone and was probably trying to sleep off his buzz. This genius sends him out to his car. Doesnt seem real safe. lol

    1. No Chris…they don’t throw him out to his car…they probably took him to the police room and either had him sleep it off…or had him call someone to pick him up..but I hope u enjoyed having a fall down drunk being embarassed. Fortunately I know for 100% sure the Phillies employees are thoroughly trained not to let this person leave the ballpark on his own.

  15. I agree that security there is out of control and likes power tripping. I was at a game a couple years ago in the 400 level. My girl and I tried to move ALL THEY WAY DOWN to the…*gasp*…300 level, and a guard checked our tickets and told us we couldn’t sit there. I don’t remember the exact game situation, but trust me when I say it was NOT crowded by any stretch of the imagination.

    1. if you want to sit there…buy the ticket…if the seat is empty then the guard or usher don’t have to worry about that seat or the person in it…ie: getting hit by a foul ball…some fan wanting to know why u r sitting there when u didn’t pay for it…now do you have any common sense Uncle Meat????

  16. Yes at CBP the ushers and security maintain being in the assigned / purchased seat. Cause of idiots like the proclaimed “best snatcher of baseballs”…and wow they didn’t realize he was wearing his “official ballcatcher t-shirt”..if he is so good how the hell did he take a baseball to the eye??? He got knocked out that’s all that happened to him. He is worse then people who don’t stand at attention , take their hats off or openly disregard the singing / playing of our National anthem. He is a pain in the ass, ignorant piece of shit that makes the great employees of the Philadelphia Phillies stoop to this moron’s level. Trust me they really don’t enjoy doing that.

  17. Not sitting in your assigned seat is your first issue…. Being an ass is your second and certainly thinking you can talk to people the way you do, is your biggest issue. Go snag your balls elsewhere!!!

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