An Interview With The Man Who Caught A-Rod’s 3000th Hit, Zack Hample
Patrick Hennessy: What do you do to spend your time in the offseason when there are no baseball games for you to attend?
Zack Hample: Another good question and I do get asked that quite a bit. I posted a recent video on YouTube that kind of answered that question, I took my first attempt of vlogging and I took it in sort of a weird style where the video was made up of video clips that each lasted two seconds and I really took people through a week of my life.
You know, when it’s not baseball I have a lot more free time and I fill it up doing other things. I’m much more social, I see more friends, more family, I eat healthier, I exercise more, I spend a lot of time obsessing over music and I can pay more attention to my writing group and my girlfriend and the list goes on and on.
I have a much more well-rounded life when it’s not baseball season and I actually enjoy my life more when it’s not baseball season which I think a lot of people have a hard time believing, but when it’s baseball I’m all in so there’s really not much time for anyone or anything else. It’s fun but it definitely leaves me wanting more and I definitely get exhausted. Not that I’m complaining but it’s just interesting to really compare the two lives that I live. There’s baseball-season Zack and offseason Zack. I’m really enjoying myself now that there’s no baseball.
Patrick Hennessy: Over the years have you been able to create any relationships with any players?
Zack Hample: The player I have gotten to know best is Heath Bell, three-time all-star, former closer on the Padres where he really made his mark. I just met him in 2005 when he was a September call-up with the Mets and he just couldn’t really stick in the major leagues.
There was nobody at Shea Stadium back then, I mean the team was awful and they were routinely under 20,000 fans per game and they used to open two and a half hours early, so 4:40 PM on a weekday when a team is bad you could imagine there weren’t that many people out there. So a lot of the players got to recognize me and Heath was the friendliest and actually took an interest in chatting with me one day.
I saw him over the years with different teams and different stadiums and he remembered me and we just built up a nice friendship and exchanged numbers and hung out numerous times outside of stadiums so that’s pretty cool. Jeremy Guthrie is also awesome, he’s one of the friendliest guys, it’s too bad these two players have retired because it was just really great being able to go to a stadium and seeing someone I was friends with outside of the stadium. So yeah, it’s really cool how those things developed over the years.
Patrick Hennessy: This one might be tough for you to answer, but do you ever see yourself stopping?
Zack Hample: I hope not. You know, there are ball hawks out there who are in their 60’s and they are in good shape, they are trim, their fit, they run around, and obviously you slow down a bit as you age but just even seeing guys in their 60s that can do it , it makes me wanna stay in shape so I can do it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop going to games and catching balls, but I could see my pace slowing way down.
I may have a family some day, my career might change, my health might change, but I don’t think my passion for it will ever change. I might not want to go to 100 games a year, you know It’s possible that my motivation will change but I can’t imagine just walking away from baseball or trying not to catch balls. It’s fun and it’s just become such a big part of my life that it would be difficult to walk away from after putting in so much time and effort.
Patrick Hennessy: Well, that’s all the questions I have for you. Thank you very much.
Zack Hample: Thank you, I appreciate it.
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