Catching balls at Target Field

Even after all these years of reading about his exploits, I’m intrigued by the life and times of Zack Hample, who specializes in catching balls at Major League Baseball stadiums. Long-time News Cut readers know this is one of the few remaining items on my Bucket List. He’s caught over 4,000 of them. His technique is a little more sophisticated than mine, which explains his success. He actually goes to games.

He stopped at Target Field during the Detroit series and evaluated its ball-catching goodness:

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My biggest gripe about the stadium is that it doesn’t open earlier. I think it’s a real slap in the face to the fans that they can’t even get inside early enough to watch the Twins take batting practice. Every team should open its stadium two and a half hours early. Not just for season ticket holders. Not just on weekends. Always. For everyone. Forever. And especially when it’s the first season of a new stadium and the crowds are extra large. Seriously, Twins and MLB: duh.

His column may be the longest and most detailed look at Target Field in its short and over-covered history.

The day before his Minnesota game, Hample got 24 baseballs at a game in Cleveland. Impressive? Sure. Of course, in Cleveland these days, when you call the Indians’ offices and ask them, “What time does the game start?”, they’ll usually answer, “What time can you be here?”

  • Jake K

    Bob,

    I can very much agree w/ him on the park’s hours. However, if this is him in the photo he has broken a cardinal run (in my book), and if he’s made off with that many game balls he’s most likely broken another one as well.

    1. Nobody over the age of 12 should be allowed in the park (yes park…not stadium) with a mitt (yes mitt…not glove).

    2. If you do happen to bare hand one, it goes directly to the closest kid. No excuses.

    I’ve have more. Not alot, just enough.

  • John

    @ Jake K.

    The naming convention for baseball hand gear that I was taught goes like this:

    - If it has fingers it’s a baseball “glove”.

    - If it has no fingers, like the one a catcher or first baseman uses, it’s a “mitt”. … as in a mitten has no fingers.

    It may or may not be correct, but it makes a certain amount of sense, so I’m sticking with it!

  • Jake K.

    Thanks John. Rules amended. Read his article. The highlight was the guy bare handing one right in front of him. That and his lone dog pic.

  • Nate

    I totally agree on the hours. That’s why I used to go to Wrigley early with my college roommate. We’d sit in the outfield, chat with the left fielder, and almost everyone around us got a ball (I want my chance!).