Zack Hample, the Yankees season ticket holder known for catching home runs balls, has changed his mind and will give Alex Rodriguez his 3,000th hit home run … for a price.
According to a statement released by the Yankees, the ball will be given to Rodriguez at a press conference this afternoon and in exchange the team has agreed to donate $150,000 to Hample’s charity Pitch In For Baseball and also give him various tickets and memorabilia.
Hample has caught thousands of home run balls and once wrote a book on the subject. He publicly said he planned to keep Rodriguez’s ball–including an angry, anti-Rodriguez tweet that has since been deleted–but then met several times with Yankees officials and changed his mind.
So, to recap: Ballhawk catches ball and gains attention. Wealthy team pays money to get possession of the ball. Player with 669 career homers gets to keep a particularly memorable one. Everybody wins, I guess?
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.