January 2012

MLB Fan Cave application video (FINAL VERSION)

My application is done! Check out my final video for the 2012 MLB Fan Cave:

In case you missed it, I posted a funny/stupid outtake two days ago. That one was more eye-catching, but I’m thinking that the new one is pretty solid. I’m always down for making fun of myself, but sometimes it’s good to be direct and sincere.

MLB Fan Cave application video (OUTTAKE)

It’s official. I’m applying for the MLB Fan Cave, and it’s taking a long time.

In addition to writing a pair of 500-word essays and attaching my résumé, I also have to submit a short video. According to the rules, the video must not be longer than two minutes. With that in mind, check out my failed (but funny) attempt to showcase myself.

In case you didn’t notice, I nearly cracked up at the 37-second mark because my friend Andrew (who was filming me) and his girlfriend Dorkys (who was also in the room) were dying of laughter. You can barely hear Andrew laughing throughout the video.

What I learned from this experience is that:

1) Wearing 31 t-shirts all at once makes it hard to breathe.
2) Removing the shirts is rather difficult and provides quite a workout.
3) My Brewers shirt is much smaller than I thought.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do for the final video, but I’m thinking of going in a totally different direction. I might take it down a notch (or ten). Sometimes less is more, you know?

Brian Wilson vs. Rollie Fingers

As some of you already know, I’ve been doing silly things with my facial hair. Earlier this month, I tweeted a photo of my Brian Wilson impression. Here it is in case you’re too lazy to click the link:

And now?

Rollie Fingers, baby. Check it out:

At some point in the fairly near future, I’ll post a few photos of the transition from beard to ‘stache.

Reddit love

One of my favorite websites in the world is Reddit, and one of my favorite categories on Reddit is /r/baseball. While scrolling through it the other day, I saw a post titled, “I want to be a baseball fan.”

“Hmm,” I thought, “I wonder if it’d be appropriate for me to leave a comment and recommend my own book.” Then I started reading the comments and saw that someone else already had! Here’s a screen shot:

That’s all. Just wanted to share.

New URL

In case you haven’t noticed, this blog now has a new URL. For the last seven years, it’s been snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com, but now, as you can see . . .

. . . it’s zackhample.mlblogs.com. You can still access this blog from the old URL (you’ll automatically be redirected), but you might as well update your bookmarks.

Revoke THIS!

My 2012 season is officially in jeopardy:

As of this moment, I’m officially forbidden from driving. Here’s how it happened:

1) While driving back from Citizens Bank Park on April 15, 2011, I had to stop at a police checkpoint in Times Square. “This’ll be easy,” I thought. “They’re obviously looking for drunk drivers, and I don’t drink.”

2) I was given a ticket for (supposedly) not having insurance. The fact is . . . I actually DID have insurance; I just didn’t have the paperwork to prove it. It was my mom’s car. The insurance card in the glove compartment had expired FOUR DAYS EARLIER, and we’d neglected to replace it.

3) The officer wrote my old address on the ticket because THAT was the address on appeared on my driver’s license.

4) New York State mailed me a summons to appear in court, and whaddaya know, I never received it. (My court date, BTW, was September 16th. Look where I was instead. Heh. Oopsie.)

5) New York State got very angry when I didn’t show up in court; governor Andrew M. Cuomo decided not to let me drive.

6) $1,500 lawyer fee.

7) Hample Jinx for New York State?

Good thing I don’t need to drive to the Opening Series in Japan, but seriously, if this doesn’t get resolved soon, it’s gonna be tough for me to get to Camden Yards and Nationals Park.

Ben Weil

If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, the name Ben Weil might sound familiar. Ben is a fellow ballhawk. We’ve ended up at lots of the same games. We’ve become really good friends. And I’ve mentioned him often. See if this rings a bell . . .

Here we are at Game 3 of the 2011 World Series in Arlington.
Here we are after Game 5 of the 2011 ALDS in New York.
Here we are at a regular-season Marlins game at Nationals Park.

Do you remember this photo of Ben at Camden Yards or this one at Citi Field? Do you know what all these photos have in common?

One word: JERSEYS.

Ben has an insane collection, which is already somewhat legendary. Obviously, word has been spreading among the fans who always see him wearing different jerseys, but I’ve also been dropping hints on my blog about the enormity of his collection. Just how many jerseys does he own? Twenty? Fifty? One hundred?! I’ve never given an actual number, prompting some people to get competitive and claim that they have more jerseys than Ben. If you’re one of these people, settle down. You and all your friends combined don’t have as many jerseys as this guy. This blog entry will finally settle the dispute. Just last week, I went to Ben’s place — he lives with his mother in Queens — to see his collection with my very own eyes, and wow. Get ready for it.

Let’s start with a photo that shows the area just inside the front door; there aren’t any jerseys visible, but it’ll give you an idea of things to come:

Like I said . . . wow.

Here’s a photo of Ben in the hallway outside his bedroom . . .

. . . and here’s a shot of him in his room:

Here’s a closeup of something funny that you probably didn’t notice in the previous photo:

In case you can’t tell, that’s a Chipper Jones Bobblehead, dangling from the window with a miniature noose around its neck.

As it turned out, there was SO much stuff to see that I failed to photograph most of it. I did, however, film a nine-minute video inside Ben’s apartment, so I can at least share some screen shots. Here’s one that shows just a few of Ben’s jerseys bulging out of his closet:

In the screen shot above, did you notice the Garfield stuffed animals on the closet shelf? What about the Garfield calendar on the wall? As you’re about to see, Ben collects lots of stuff beyond jerseys, including anything/everything related to Garfield. Here’s a four-part photo that shows some more items . . .

. . . and by the way, the cat in the first photo (sitting on the table and looking at the camera) is named . . . yeah, you guessed it.

In the four-part photo above, the Garfield item on the upper left is a piggy bank. On the upper right, you’re looking at a Garfield clock and lamp. On the lower left, you can see a couple of Ben’s original Garfield drawings taped to the wall outside his bedroom, and on the lower right, there’s a bottle of Garfield hand sanitizer.

Here’s another screen shot of one of Ben’s collections:

Can you tell what he’s holding? Those are credit cards. He was approved for all of them at one time or another.

And then there are the caps. In the following screen shot, the stack of cardboard boxes is filled with them:

Here’s a number for you: Ben owns more than 900 caps, all of which are fitted.

Want to see more jerseys? Take a look at the stacks on top of the dresser in the hallway:

Wanna guess what’s inside the dresser?

Here’s a hint:

And oh, hey, look, here’s another closet FILLED WITH JERSEYS:

And what’s this over here? Why, it’s ANOTHER DRESSER FILLED WITH JERSEYS:

Before Ben closed the dresser drawers, he pulled out two different jerseys of Albert Belle:

In the screen shot above, do you see the stack of cardboard boxes on the right? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but those are filled with jerseys too.

Here’s one of Ben’s favorites.

Here’s where he stores the baseballs that he’s snagged at major league games:

Here’s Ben wearing a “cheesehead” hat, which he plans to bring to Green Bay next year:

That’s right, Ben is a fan of football too. And basketball. And probably croquet. And bowling.

Actually, I’m being serious about bowling. Here’s a rack of bowling balls in his mother’s room:

Ben owns THIRTY-SIX BOWLING BALLS and once bowled a perfect/300 game. He even wears a ring to commemorate it. Ask him to show it to you next time you see him.

Now, speaking of Ben’s mother, here she is in the living room, graciously allowing me to take photos and not yelling at me for blocking her view of the TV:

In the photo above, do you see the colorful stack of stuff in the far right corner of the room? Those are foam fingers. See the life-sized cardboard cutout of Mike Piazza, just to the left of the lamp? See the stacks of clothes in front of Piazza? Those are jerseys. You know what you can’t see in the photo above? The 250,000 baseball cards that are boxed up and tucked under the couch or the 70-plus Mike Piazza jerseys that Ben owns.

Yeah.

Ben and his mother (yes, they’re in this together) also collect Bobbleheads. In the following photo, you can see some of them stacked up in their boxes on the right:

They also collect souvenir soda cups from various stadiums. Behold!

Here are some of Ben’s hats:

As you’ve probably gathered, Ben kinda likes Mike Piazza. Check out the light switch in the following photo:

Here’s a photo of Ben’s mother’s room. There are jerseys everywhere, and they don’t belong to her:

Ben and I hung out at the apartment for about an hour. Before we left, I got a photo of him with his mom:

Her name is Paula, and hey, did you notice his cap?

Then he and I drove to an Italian restaurant in Howard Beach. This was my view during dinner:

(Nice shirt, Ben. Stay classy.)

As for the number of jerseys that Ben owns, he estimates the grand total to be over 1,600. And some people think his blog URL contains “jerseyboy” because he’s from New Jersey? Ha. Ha. Ha. Not quite.

If you have any questions for Ben, fire away. He reads this blog (as well as all the comments), so you’ll get an answer directly from him.

Finally, in case you care, you can follow him on Twitter @Benny_Bang_Bang, and while we’re at it, you can follow me @zack_hample.

Actually, no, wait. One more thing. It’s easy to make fun of people who are obsessed with stuff — I’ve certainly taken my share of heat for my baseball collection – but let’s not be too quick make judgments and hurl insults. I wouldn’t want to live with my mother, but Ben has a specific/personal reason for living with his. I wouldn’t want to live in an apartment with so much clutter, but Ben and his mother don’t seem to mind. I also don’t give a damn about Garfield or football or foam fingers or jerseys. But if there’s one thing that I love and respect, it’s passion; Ben has as much of it as anyone I’ve ever met, and since he’s not hurting anyone with his hobbies and collections, I say ROCK ON, BROTHA! Keep doing your thing, and thanks for being an inspiration.

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