Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Everyone is mad at Zack Hample for attending MLB’s Fort Bragg Game

46 Comments

History was made during Sunday’s Marlins-Braves game, as it was the first time a professional sports game was played on an active military base. Dubbed the Fort Bragg Game on the eve of Independence Day, it was MLB’s way of showing appreciation for those in the armed forces.

Only those enlisted in the military and their families, as well as members of the Department of Defense were to attend. The tickets were deemed non-transferable, which means ticketholders weren’t allowed to sell or give them away to non-military personnel. Noted baseball collector Zack Hample found his way in, which angered a lot of people. As of this writing — about 1:30 AM EDT — his Wikipedia page is in shambles. Take a look. Click the image to view it in full size.

hample

How did he get in? He made a Tinder profile specifically searching for ticketholders, as seen here:

Hample was also seen negotiating ticket purchases on Twitter. That runs contrary to his claim that he got the tickets through a friend. And it doesn’t matter anyway as I’ll explain below.

The 82nd Airborne Division called Hample out on Twitter:

As did Marlins Man:

Everyone is upset with Hample because he broke the rules regarding ticket ownership. Or, rather, he made someone else break the rules so that he could get in. As a result, he took a seat — and souvenirs — away from members of the military, for whom this game was specifically designated. It was supposed to be about military appreciation. Instead, Hample made it about himself.

The military is allowed to have its day at the ballpark just like anyone else. The members of the military didn’t deserve to have their day intruded upon by a 38-year-old memorabilia collector. Hample said he would donate $1,100 to a charity benefiting veterans, but he could’ve done that beforehand and not bought his way into the Fort Bragg Game, taking 11 souvenirs away that military personnel and their children could’ve enjoyed.

All this being said, the piling on Hample has gone overboard. Twitter is inundated with people yelling angry things at Hample from simple F-bombs to death threats to suicide requests. Aside from acquiring the ticket, Hample didn’t do anything on Sunday that he hasn’t already done before. His “skill” in catching souvenirs — including Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit, a home run — has taken souvenirs from other fans, but in an effort to prove to each other that we love the military most, everyone’s jumping on Hample for taking a foul ball or a homer from a serviceperson. The eight-year-old Hample shoulder checks as he positions himself to catch a home run at Yankee Stadium is just as, and arguably more, deserving of the souvenir than a serviceperson, so where’s the outrage there? This is not to say we shouldn’t have outrage in the former situation, but that we should in the latter as well.

Hample’s entire scheme and his persona are anathema to a healthy environment for watching baseball. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about being trampled if a fly ball heads their way. Baseball players shouldn’t have to negotiate as if they’re in a hostage situation to recover a baseball representing a career milestone. Sending him hate mail is way overboard, but maybe teams could ban him from their ballparks. Remember: these are adults wearing pajamas playing a children’s game. It’s not that important in the grand scheme of things. Make it fun and safe for kids.

The Marlins beat the Braves 5-2, by the way.

Roberto Osuna reveals he has been dealing with an anxiety issue

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna recently revealed that he has been dealing with an anxiety issue, Rob Longley of the Toronto Star reports. Osuna specified that the issue is completely off the field, not on the field. He is not sure when he’ll be able to return to pitch again.

Osuna had been feeling “a little bit anxious, a little bit weird” and said, “I feel like I’m lost a little bit right now.” Despite the anxiety, Osuna volunteered to pitch during Friday’s loss to the Royals, but the Blue Jays smartly chose not to put him into the game.

Osuna said, “I wish I knew how to get out of here and how to get out of this. We’re working on it. We’re trying to find ways to see what can make me feel better. But to be honest I just don’t know.”

It must have been tough for Osuna to make his issue public, as there is still a stigma around dealing with mental issues. Given the prominent position he holds in the Jays’ bullpen, fans become even less empathetic about taking time off to deal with it as well. Hopefully, Osuna is able to use the time off to get the help he needs. And hopefully his going public helps motivate other people dealing with mental issues to seek help for themselves.

The 22-year-old recently became the youngest player in major league history to reach 75 career saves. This season, Osuna is carrying a 2.48 ERA with 19 saves and a 37/3 K/BB ratio in 39 innings.

Brewers claim Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics

Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Leave a comment

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.

Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.