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 Yankees threatened early against the Twins in the top of the first inning of Monday night’s game in Minnesota. DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge drew leadoff walks Martín Pérez, bringing up slugger Edwin Encarnación. Encarnación battled Pérez, ultimately rolling over on the ninth pitch, a change-up. Third baseman Luis Arraez gobbled it up and stepped on the third base bag, then fired to Jonathan Schoop at second base for the second out. Schoop got the ball over to Miguel Sanó at first base just in time to complete the 5-4-3 triple play.
It’s the second triple play turned this year, as the White Sox also accomplished a 5-4-3 double play on May 22 against the Astros. The Twins’ last triple play occurred on June 1, 2017 against the Angels, also a 5-4-3 triple-killing.
The Yankees were eventually able to generate some offense in the third inning on a Gio Urshela solo homer and an RBI single from Encarnación. It’s a 2-2 game as this gets published.