Sportress of Blogitude

Man who caught A-Rod’s 3,000th hit: I was assaulted at Yankee Stadium

Zack Hample, the professional ball-hawk who wrangled the home run ball Alex Rodriguez deposited into the Yankee Stadium seats for his 3,000th hit, claims he was assaulted before Wednesday’s game between the Yankees and Orioles.

Hample, 37, claims a man attacked him in the right-field stands and that the aggressor “was basically throwing punches and absolutely assaulting me like a maniac,” per a report filed by NJ Advanced Media’s Brendan Kuty.

Hample, 37, of Manhattan, told NJ Advance Media that the alleged attack left him with scrapes on his back and forearms. He posted photographs to social media in which he documents the injuries suffered during the incident.

The Yankees released the following statement in response to Hample’s allegations:

An incident took place between Zack Hample and another fan during batting practice when an Orioles player attempted to toss a ball into the right-field stands. After a brief altercation, the two parties were separated. 

After carefully reviewing video recordings of the incident — in which no punches were thrown and there was not a clear determination of who was the aggressor — Yankees operations personnel reassigned the other fan, along with his father, to a different seat location within the stadium. Reports were also taken by security officials.

Hample later took to Twitter Wednesday night and published the following accounting of what occurred via a series of five tweets:

As for the BP incident, Miguel Gonzalez recognized me and threw ME a ball. Some huge 20-ish-year-old guy with a glove took issue… He shoved me from behind and swatted the ball out my glove twice. On the third throw, which I caught, the guy grabbed/tackled me… He punched me in the face and clawed my neck and slammed me against the sharp edge of the concrete wall in the front row… His father confronted me later and actually defended him, saying, “He’s just trying to get a ball like anybody else.” Wow. Okay… Police got witnesses. Medical staff attended to me. Security said the guy & his father will never be allowed in the RF seats again.

Hample ignited a media firestorm after catching A-Rod’s 3,000th hit ball, initially making demands of the Yankees related to handing over the ball. He later claimed he had received threats over his reluctance to relinquish the ball. Hample ultimately agreed to turn over the ball after the Yankees agreed to donate $150,000 to a charity of his choice.