Noted ball hawk draws ire from MLB fans


Photo is the one that Zack Hample tweeted from the game.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – On July 3, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball aired just like is does each and every Sunday during the MLB season. However, Sunday’s game was the first time that a Major League Baseball game had originated from North Carolina. It was held on the grounds of Fort Bragg in a new park that holds 12,500 and was donated by the MLB for military recreational use. This was the first time a major sport held a regular season game on a military base. The game was won by the Miami Marlins, 5-2, over the Atlanta Braves, and was supposed to be closed to the public. Tickets were only obtainable through a lottery system open to military personnel (and family) with an active DoD ID.

Enter Zack Hample, a “ball hawk” who has claimed to have collected more than 9,000 baseballs from over 50 MLB stadiums.

Hample was in attendance at the historic game, though many felt he shouldn’t be. The exclusive event was for our servicemen and women of the armed forces, yet Hample found his way in.

He tweeted, “Fort Bragg commemorative baseballs? Oh yes! Martin Prado tossed this to me after the third inning,” with a picture of the ball, and this immediately sparked an outrage.

It prompted the 82nd Arirborne Division, based out of Fort Bragg, to tweet, “Delete your (Twitter) account.”

He also drew the ire of Laurence Leavy, known as the Marlins Man, who tweeted, “Zack, that game is CLOSED to NON department of Defense Employees and their families. Give any balls u have to kids and leave. NOW.”

Social media followed suit and for a period of time Sunday, the hashtag #ThingsBetterThanHample was a trending topic. Hample fired back by saying that he was given the ticket by a friend whose whole unit got tickets, even though they were not in the ticket lottery, and whose girlfriend didn’t like baseball so he took him instead. However, the explanation was almost instantly called into question when @RT Ohio tweeted a Tinder profile Hample had set up offering $1,000 to someone who had an extra ticket, although they could not be sold, and a valid DoD ID. After the tweet was sent out, Hample stated that he was going to donate $100 for each ball he got.

Following the game, Hample stated that he had a total of 11 baseballs and gave 10 away and that he was going to donate $1,100 to However, this has not been enough to curb the outrage of the baseball community who has started a petition to ban Hample from all MLB parks. An excerpt from the petition claims that Hample has had documented history of pushing children out of the way for baseballs, making him a blight on baseball. As of Monday night, the petition had 813 signatures.