January 2007

My laptop died

Sorry for the gap between entries. My laptop’s hard drive died over the weekend, and then for some reason, I wasn’t able to log into MLBlogs from ANY computer.

Problem solved…at least the MLBlogs part.

In other news, the first review of Watching Baseball Smarter should be out tomorrow. I’ll share it here as soon as I receive a copy.

Banned from Shea?!

Over the years, I’ve done a few dopey things at Shea Stadium and gotten myself into trouble; when I stumbled upon this article today and first glanced at the headline, I thought it was about me. No joke.


But it’s not. Phew!

New Yankee Stadium

Dear Mr. Steinbrenner,

Here’s my (rough) suggestion for how the new Yankee Stadium should look:


You see, shrinking the field will be a great way for you to pack in extra fans and give them what they really want: more home runs.

What do you think?

Your friend Zachary

Email fraud

Just got word that someone has been impersonating me in emails. His name is Derek Sandford, and he’s using the address accumulatingbaseballs@gmail.com. Here’s what he’s been writing:

From: accumulatingbaseballs@gmail.com
Subject: New Account! Zack Hample


This is going to be my new email so email, be on this account and also you can ask me any questions on how to get baseballs on this account , don’t email to my aol one ok.

So email me only on this one ok.


I suppose I could be flattered that someone thinks I’m cool enough to be impersonated…but that’s not how I’m taking it. This is a crime (which I’ve already reported), and it needs to stop.

Within the next month or two, I plan to switch to gmail or to something@zackhample.com, but for now, my email address remains ZackSnags@aol.com.

“Recent Visitor Activity”

Who knew that snagging is popular in Nigeria?



Thanks to my friend Lia for telling me about this:


It’s a screen shot of the page on Amazon.com for Cal Ripken’s new-ish book called Play Baseball the Ripken Way. Check out the “Best Value” book that it’s been paired with at the bottom.

Cal Ripken Jr.

Cal Ripken Jr. is BY FAR my favorite player of all time. He always has been and always will be (unless I have a son who one day plays in the big leagues), so in honor of his election earlier today to the Hall of Fame (in which he got the highest percentage of votes in history for a position player), I hereby present some personal Ripken sightings over the years:

Anaheim, 1995…


Chicago, 1999…


Toronto, 2000…


New York, 2004…


Cal, you are truly The Man. Thanks for being an inspiration.

What qualifies as a “game ball”?

I just had this debate with a fellow baseball collector named Brad. He feels that ANY ball used in a game should count as a game ball. I’ve always felt that game-used balls that get tossed into the crowd are too easy and therefore shouldn’t count. I mean, if you’re sitting behind the dugout and the batter grounds out to end an inning and first baseman jogs in and flips you the ball, is it fair to say you caught a game ball?

Brad and I agree that there should be two categories of gamers: assisted and unassisted. Assisted means the ball was thrown or given to you. (Perhaps it came from a ballboy or usher or vendor or photographer or umpire or someone in the press box.) Unassisted means you got the ball without any help.

My unassisted total (which is the only total I’ve kept track of) is currently at 98. I wish I’d documented my collection ball-by-ball from the very beginning. It’d be cool to know the exact number of assisted game balls. I know it’d be well into the hundreds.

What do you think about all of this?
What counts as a game ball in your collection?
Do you differentiate between assisted/unassisted?
Will you start doing it now?

My Top 40

Every even-numbered year since 1998, I’ve compiled a list of my 40 favorite songs. Some are old. Some are new. Some are beautiful. Some are cheesy. My selections are based entirely on how much a song moves me. When a song gives me chills and goose bumps, or when it gets me so excited that I have to dance and/or sing as loud as possible, it belongs on the list. I admit it’s all a bit arbitrary (in part because I don’t include classical music, which I love deeply), and I know that my musical taste–along with my manhood–will be questioned, but whatever. I can take it. So here it is, my Top 40 for 2006…

1. Amsterdam – Coldplay
2. Hidden Grove – Slender Means
3. Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney
4. Luna De Fuego – Gipsy Kings
5. In A Little While – U2
6. Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson
7. Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’Sullivan
8. Lothlórien – Enya
9. Down In A Hole (unplugged) – Alice In Chains
10. Dudu – Tarkan
11. Your Latest Trick – Dire Straits
12. Play The Game – Queen
13. Share The Land – Guess Who
14. Light Flight – Pentangle
15. Let It Grow – Eric Clapton
16. Billy Breathes – Phish
17. Second Avenue – Tim Moore
18. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right – Peter, Paul & Mary
19. Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd
20. Nora – Blessid Union Of Souls
21. Beautiful Stranger – Madonna
22. I Believe – Earls
23. Find The Cost Of Freedom – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
24. I Wrote A Simple Song – Billy Preston
25. Axel F – Harold Faltermeyer
26. Fantasy – Earth, Wind & Fire
27. Sunlight – Youngbloods
28. John Barleycorn Must Die – Traffic
29. Back When My Hair Was Short – Gunhill Road
30. Misty – Johnny Mathis
31. Lucie – Pascal Obispo
32. Foolish Games – Jewel
33. Knock Three Times – Dawn
34. I Know What You Want – Busta Rhymes & Mariah Carey f/ The Flipmode Squad
35. Cold As Ice – Foreigner
36. Mad World – Gary Jules
37. Push – Junior Caldera
38. Making Our Dreams Come True – Cyndi Grecco
39. Date Rape – Sublime
40. Turn Off The Light – Nelly Furtado


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