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September 29, 2012

Is Famed Ballhawk's Streak a Farce?

It's been more than a week since the story of famed ballhawk Zack Hample getting kicked out of a Washington Nationals game for, alledgedly, selling baseballs hit the internets.

And, like everything you read online nowadays, dude's story is not without controversy.

Wednesday, after Hample teased that his story was going to be re-posted here at The Hall, I was greeted with this anonymous email.

Personally, I think the story that everyone is overlooking here is the fact that Zack's 20-year streak of snagging at least one baseball at every game he's attended should have been snapped by his ejection from the park, however Zack has failed to address it in his blog AND continues to count games toward his streak.

What gives?

Uh oh! It continues.
His own blog posting for that game shows a picture of the field during the first inning of the second game of that day's doubleheader and states: "and here’s what my view of the field briefly looked like in the top of the 1st inning". Then shortly after he took that picture he was escorted out of the stadium.

At the end of his posts he always includes a bunch of statistics about his snagging of baseballs, including this one at the end of the 9/19/2012 game posting: "861 consecutive games with at least one ball". He definitely snagged a bunch of baseballs prior to and during the first game of the doubleheader (hence 861 consecutive game), but I don't see how any of those can count towards the second game of the doubleheader for which -- by his own blog posting -- he clearly was in attendance -- and during which he didn't snag any balls.

So, if you do post something about him, maybe you could pin him to the wall about why his consecutive game streak is now at 863 (and counting)... and if he tries to feed you some crap about it only counting as one game "because you only needed one ticket to attend both games" remind him that (a) it counts as two games in the standing for the Nationals; and (b) sometimes baseball is REALLY unfair -- just ask Armando Gallaraga (the Detroit Tigers pitcher who lost a perfect game because the first base umpire, Jim Joyce, blew the last call of the game at first base), or Bill Buckner.

The anonymous emailer makes a good point. So, naturally, I had to reach out to Hample and find out exactly what the deal was. Suffice it so say, homeboy was quick with a response and some clarification.

Heck, the baseball collector even went so far to post about it over at his site.

I’ve heard from a few people lately who’ve been asking if (and insisting that) my consecutive games streak is over. Why? Because I was ejected last week from Nationals Park during the second game of a single-admission doubleheader.

Did I snag any baseballs during the second game? No, I snagged 11 balls before and during the first game.  So, then, is my streak over? No...and I’d like to quote myself to prove it.

If you turn to page 317 of The Baseball, you’ll see the following line near the top: "Single-admission doubleheaders should be counted as one ‘game'."

Hample continues citing some other examples and insisting that "single-admission doubleheaders have always been one 'game' for me, and whenever I’ve gone and snagged a few balls and the game got rained out before it even started, that has also been a 'game'."
Alright, I get both sides of this debate...but what do you think? Should Hample man up and concede that his consecutive games was over at 861...or, should his streak continue?

Or, well...does it even matter?


Paul said...

Meh. If he's only been counting doubleheaders as one game all along, the ejection shouldn't end the streak.

But really, why are we worrying about this?

Anonymous said...

As much as I would enjoy messing with Zack, claiming that his streak is over (friendly messing, that is), I cannot.

I feel as if those unfamiliar with ballhawking do not realize the definition of a "game." As the anonymous emailer pointed out, Zack did not catch a ball in a game in which he was in attendance that counted into the Nationals' standings. However, does batting practice also count into the Nats' standings?

If we want to go on the strict definition of "game." Then Zack's streak ended a long time ago since a wide majority of his baseballs were not caught during the game. In fact, Zack has had a few games where he left before the game even started with baseballs in hand. So what's that mean?

A game to me, and to many other ballhawks, is a trip to the stadium. He was there, at the stadium, for a Major League Baseball contest and caught 11 baseballs.

But, since I spent this time defending Zack, I would like to remind everyone of #EjectZackFrom30. We only have 29 more to go! Do your part.

Anonymous said...

No it shouldn't continue but who really cares. From the sound of it, he'll do anything he can to put the "rules" in his favor to keep it going.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, does this even matter? I read where he caught the balls for game 861 and his streak is now 863 so that means that he does count the second game as a game. I think it's cool that he's gotten so many balls, but during BP and before the game starts. Does that mean if someone hands him a ball during the game that counts too? In the grand scheme of things, he isn't a professional playing on the field, he makes the rules so that the "streak" can continue. When he affects the Wins and Losses of the game by hitting or pitching, then I'll care.

Michael David said...

For me, I guess it doesn't really matter. I've never been a fan of 'ballhawking' and feel it takes away from the game itself. When I go to a game, I like to enjoy it, not run around trying snag stray baseball away from kids. If a ball comes my way and I get it, then great. It's a good souvenier and one to be remembered. I'd be a little ticked off, though, if I take my kids to a rare major league game, and some 'ballhawk' gets in thier way to get his number 2,000 ball. I know Zack has gotten publicity from this, but I'm not a fan of his or 'ballhawking'.

No one really cares said...

Who freaking cares?