Alex Rodriguez

Brett Oberholtzer

Brett Oberholtzer, because he was pitching poorly, intentionally threw at Alex Rodriguez


Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer was not having a good afternoon at home against the Yankees on Saturday. He served up an upper-deck home run to right field in the first inning to Brian McCann, then surrendered a one-out, two-run blast to Chris Young in the second.

Frustrated, Oberholtzer’s next pitch was a fastball inside to Alex Rodriguez, nearly hitting the DH. Home plate umpire Rob Drake immediately ejected a remorseless Oberholtzer, who walked off the mound without an argument.

Roberto Hernandez entered the game in Oberholtzer’s place, eventually walking Rodriguez before escaping the inning unscathed.

Oberholtzer should end up with a fine and/or a suspension when the dust settles.

The guy who caught A-Rod’s 3,000th hit is reconsidering keeping the ball

Alex Rodriguez

Zach Hample — famous for snagging baseballs at ballparks across the country — is the guy who caught the homer that was Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th career hit. At the time he said he was keeping the ball. Now he’s reconsidering.

Sports Illustrated spoke to Hample, who is prepared to work out a deal:

“I am planning on meeting again with the Yankees soon,” Hample said. “And I am contemplating a scenario where they and A-Rod could get this ball back involving a large donation to my favorite charity.”

The charity: Pitch In for Baseball, which provides new and gently used baseballs and softball equipment for kids who lack equipment to play baseball.

Hample didn’t come off too well on Friday after catching the baseball. Seems now he’s at least trying to make something good come out of this.

Alex Rodriguez didn’t ruin the 3,000 hit plateau

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez got his 3,000th hit on Friday night. It was a home run. I thought that was cool, but of course I’m a hopeless A-Rod apologist. We all know this. Most people, I suspect, were underwhelmed. Understandable. When you set fire to your legacy the way Alex Rodriguez has over the past several years, you can’t expect people to jump up and down for you. That’s the way it works.

But it’s one thing to say that A-Rod’s 3,000th hit was less-than-impressive. It’s another thing altogether to say that the idea of getting 3,000 hits is no longer an accomplishment. That’s just crazy. But that’s a crazy that the otherwise great Jayson Stark is dabbling in today. In his column he wonders whether all offensive milestones are tainted now, 3,000 hits included. He talks about how baseball records were different and more special than that of other sports and how, thanks to PED guys breaking home run records and achieving milestones, they no longer “magical and memorable.”

I reject that notion for a few reasons. I reject the idea that, just because a couple of guys did things on drugs that someone doing it clean is no longer impressive. We’re all adults here and can distinguish between such things I hope. Saying that A-Rod or Bonds or someone “ruined” something is way too dramatic for me. It’s like your mom calling off your dad’s surprise party because your brother and you got the wrong color balloons. “Oh, let’s not even BOTHER now! It’s RUINED!” Please.

And even if that particular party was going to be ruined, it sure as heck would’ve been ruined before now. Rafael Palmiero was the first big name to test positive for PEDs while playing. He did so two weeks after getting his 3,000th hit. That was a decade ago. We’ve somehow managed to care about 3,000 hits since then.

But I also reject Stark’s argument because it’s demonstrably not true that reaching such a milestone is no longer interesting, even when A-Rod does it.

My son is not quite ten. He’s just started to get into baseball in a somewhat serious way in the past year or so. Despite my reputation, I can assure you that I have not shared my PED apologism with him. I have not defended A-Rod or Bonds or any of those guys. Indeed, he doesn’t think too much about any of those guys at all. His current infatuation is young Cuban players and Bryce Harper. To the extent we’ve even discussed performance enhancing drugs it has been to (a) mention why A-Rod missed all of last season, which I told him was because A-Rod broke the rules and took drugs he wasn’t supposed to; and (b) to state that they test for drugs in baseball and players are not allowed to take PEDs. A couple of brief conversations which have likely bored him to tears and about which he obviously didn’t care.

Fast forward to Friday night. My boy is at a sleepover at a friend’s house. Way, way past his usual bedtime, I get a text from him:


To him and the other ten-year-old boys, A-Rod reaching 3,000 with a homer was cool. Because it was a baseball thing that happened that was inherently neat and need not be weighed down with nostalgia for old records or the moralizing over PEDs. It’s a sport capable of being enjoyed regardless of that stuff. Baseball is a sport and a form of entertainment before it is a function of its politics or the weight of its history. It can and should be enjoyed for its own sake before you get to any of that stuff, and that stuff should be secondary, even if it is interesting and worth talking about.

Kids in the 90s loved watching Barry Bonds, A-Rod and Roger Clemens, even if that was ruined for people who grew up watching Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Bob Gibson. Kids born in 2005 enjoy watching what they recognize as a neat and cool baseball accomplishment even if some people think it’s ruined too. It will always be thus, and that’s part of what makes baseball wonderful.



Such an amazing weekend. Thank you for your faith in me and for your unbelievable support this season, in the stands and here on Facebook. Eternally grateful.

Posted by Alex Rodriguez on Monday, June 22, 2015

Alex Rodriguez homered again for his 3,001st career hit, passing Roberto Clemente

Alex Rodriguez

Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez joined the 3,000-hit club on Friday with an opposite field home run against Justin Verlander. He got his 3,001st hit, passing Roberto Clemente to move into 28th place on baseball’s all-time hit list, in style as well.

With runners on first and third in the third inning, Rodriguez drove a 1-1 fastball from Ian Krol to left field for a no-doubt three run home run. He’s knocked in five runs thus far in the contest as the Yankees currently lead 10-0 as of this writing. Rodriguez now has 668 home runs in his career along with 2,009 RBI. On the season, he’s hitting .279/.381/.527 with 14 home runs and 40 RBI.

Zack Hample, who caught Alex Rodriguez’s 3000th hit, plans to keep baseball for now

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees hits a home run as well as getting his 3000th career hit in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during their game at Yankee Stadium on June 19, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Alex Rodriguez hit a home run for his 3,000th hit last night and the ball ended up in the hands of Zack Hample, a Yankees season ticket holder who is well known for snagging home run balls. He claims to have caught 8,161 baseballs at stadiums around the country and has even written books about it.

That Hample caught the historic homer was interesting, especially in light of what he tweeted (it has since been deleted) on Thursday night in response to a question about what he would do if he caught it:

@Yankeefan98 I’ll give him the finger and a dummy ball. That man deserves favors from no one, least of all a fan.

According to Tim Rohan of the New York Times, this was Hample’s reaction before the Yankees whisked him away in an attempt to get the ball back:

“I really think that whatever you want to do with it is your choice,” Hample said, moments afterward. “I think that somebody like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who’s made half a billion dollars in their career, doesn’t really need a favor from, you know, a normal civilian and a fan like me. I don’t know right now if I’m going to sell it. Depending on what the Yankees could offer, I’d consider giving it back.”

The negotiations, which included Yankees president Randy Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost, didn’t get anywhere last night. Here’s a tweet from Hample during the game:

Hample appears to be softening on that stance, as he later told the Associated Press that he’s “thinking about” giving the ball back because the Yankees were “so nice.” He said the same thing on his Twitter account this morning.

David Kohler of SCP Auctions told ESPN that the ball is worth more than $50,000. Regardless of how you feel about Hample or his supposed approach to catching baseballs, that’s a lot of money to potentially turn down. It’s his right to keep it or sell it.

When Derek Jeter homered for his 3000th hit in 2011, Christian Lopez was quick to return the ball in exchange for some premium seats and memorabilia. It’s not coming as easily this time around:

“Where’s Jeet’s guy? That’s the guy I needed,” Rodriguez said. “I wasn’t so lucky.”