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?
As we noted, Bryce Harper was ejected in the Phillies-Mets game for arguing balls and strikes, punctuating the ejection with a fairly aggressive argument in which he sorta shoved his manager into the ump, had to be held back by teammates and may very well have earned himself a suspension.
We’ll see about the suspension part, but even if he didn’t anger Rob Manfred over all of that, he did annoy his teammate, Jake Arrieta, who was on the mound last night. Here were Arrieta’s comments after the game:
“Look, I mean, [Harper’s] got to understand we need him in right field,” Arrieta said. “I don’t care how bad the umpire is. He wasn’t great for either side. I’m out there trying to make pitches, and he misses some calls. So what? We need him out there. I need him in right field, I need him at the plate, and he wasn’t there. So that hurts.
“We were flat from start to finish. Two-hour delay, it doesn’t matter. We have to be ready to play. We weren’t, and it showed. The dugout was flat. The defense wasn’t good. Didn’t throw the ball well as a staff overall. We got beat. We started at 8:45. I don’t think our guys were ready to play. We’ve got to come out tomorrow ready to play.”
For Harper’s part he was contrite after the game, echoing Arrieta’s words about needing to keep a level head and about him being more useful in the game than in the clubhouse. Still, he got told by his teammate. And seems to know he got told.