You know that Korean documentary that I’ve been talking about since last summer? It never aired in North America — only on the Korean Broadcasting System — and I was told by the filmmaker not to post it online. I’ve made a few copies for my friends who are *in* the movie, but as far as sharing it publicly, the best I can do is show you a bunch of screen shots, so check it out. . .
The opening scene shows me dumping out (and unzipping) several bags of baseballs in my bedroom:
The documentary is IN Korean. There are no English subtitles — only Korean ones (as you can see above) to translate what I was saying. In the screen shot above, I’m in the process of saying, “This whole bag is baseballs.”
Then there’s a brief montage of my TV appearances. Here’s Jay Leno talking about my first two books:
That clip was taken from my TV reel, which you can see here in its entirety. And by the way, did you notice that my name is spelled wrong up above? Amazing.
At around the four-minute mark, there’s some footage of me inside Yankee Stadium:
In the screen shot above (taken just after I changed out of my Rays gear and gave a ball to a kid), I’m saying to several on-lookers, “I’m not a Rays fan. I’m just wearing that crap to get baseballs. Didn’t really work too well today, though.”
By the way, this was the game on August 13, 2011. Click here to read my blog entry about it.
Here I am back at my place, showing some of my favorite baseballs:
(Yes, my kitchen cabinets are ugly. They were like that when I moved in, and I don’t feel like paying thousands of dollars to replace them.)
In the screen shot above, the ball on the left is a Robinson Cano grand slam from the new Yankee Stadium, the ball in the middle is the last Mets home run ever hit at Shea Stadium, and the ball on the right is Barry Bonds’ 724th career home run.
Here’s something odd/funny:
Did you notice what’s wrong in the screen shot above? Look at my Tigers cap. The logo is backwards.That’s because I was being filmed in the mirror (in a hotel room in Detroit). As for what I’m saying, it’s some portion of this: “He’s 6-foot-4 and weighs about 250 pounds, so the guy is a monster. You watch him in batting practice — he crushes balls where baseballs shouldn’t even be landing.” I’m talking about Ramon Santiago, of course.
Kidding. Miguel Cabrera.
Here are some fancy visuals . . .
. . . and here’s another scene from the hotel room in Detroit:
The filmmaker had asked me to (a) show him how I use Home Run Tracker and (b) talk about my connection to Korean baseball, so naturally I pulled up Shin-Soo Choo’s page and talked about where his longballs land.
Several childhood photos found their way into the documentary:
The filmmaker got footage of just about everything. Here I am walking along Broadway with an open box of pizza:
“It is my breakfast and my lunch,” I’m telling the camera, “and unfortunately this is how a lot of meals go for me.”
The pizza scene was filmed on the way to my mom’s place. Here she is telling the world (or at least all of South Korea) how weird her son is:
During the interview, my mom mentioned my dad, and as a result, a photo of him made it into the documentary:
That was pretty cool.
Most of my baseballs are still at my mom’s place, so while I was there, I showed a few to the camera. Here I am explaining why the stitches are red and black on the 2000 All-Star Game ball:
(It’s because the game was at Turner Field, and the Braves’ colors are red and black.)
In the screen shot above, the Korean is a translation of this: “We’re driving from New York City up to Cooperstown, New York — it’s about a four-hour drive — to visit the Hall of Fame.”
(Is there anyone reading this who’s fluent in Korean? It’d be fun to know if anything got lost in translation.)
Here I am wandering with my camera:
Back at my place, the filmmaker asked me to talk about my books. Here I am holding all three of them . . .
. . . and here I am critiquing my first one, How to Snag Major League Baseballs:
That book is TERRIBLE. You will actually become dumber if you read it. It was written badly, I said some stupid things, and half the stadiums I talked about are now defunct. Avoid the book at all costs. Seriously. This is not reverse psychology. I’m telling this to you as a friend.
Anyway, moving right along . . .
Here I am (blue shirt, tan shorts) at the softball game during BallhawkFest, which took place in Baltimore on July 23, 2011:
(In the screen shot above, did you notice the time stamp on the video control panel? That was no coincidence.)
Alan Schuster, the organizer of BallhawkFest (and webmaster of MyGameBalls.com), was interviewed:
” . . . about two years ago,” he said of founding his website. “It’s for people who go to baseball games and try to catch balls. We’ve got over 200 members . . . “
Then things got really exciting:
Behold the glove trick:
“That’s what I’m talking about,” I’m saying in the screen shot above.
Then I got a ride to Comerica Park . . .
. . . and ran into my friend Dave Lally (pictured below in the green hat) who asked me to sign his copy of Watching Baseball Smarter:
I snagged five baseballs that day. Here I am crouching down to catch the first one:
Here I am preparing the grab the second:
Here I am using the glove trick for the third:
As you can see, I had to fling my glove out in order to knock the ball closer. While this was happening, my friend Dave took some great photos from above. If you have a couple extra minutes to spare, check out my blog entry about this game. I had a media credential and got to explore some otherwise off-limits areas.
I gave my first three baseballs to kids. The filmmaker wasn’t there for the first two, but got a nice shot of the third one. Here I am getting a high-five after I handed it over:
If you’ve read my blog entry about this game as well as the entry from the following day, then you know about the Joe Mauer home run ball that I snagged. I won’t retell the whole story here, but basically . . .
1) The ball landed on a platform between the outfield wall and the stands.
2) I ran over and tried to knock it closer with my glove trick.
3) I accidentally knocked it into bullpen instead (and felt like an ass).
4) A security guard tossed it to me.
Here I am flinging my glove out at it . . .
. . . and here I am reaching up for the grab through a sea of hands:
The magnified look inside the red circle is not the result of my Photoshop skills. That’s actually in the documentary.
In the final third of the film, I’m shown approaching the Free Library of Philadelphia with my then-girlfriend Jona:
In the screen shot above, she’s pointing at the small marquee. Here’s what it says:
I gave a talk that night about The Baseball and did a signing afterward. Here I am telling the story about Charlie Sheen buying an entire pavilion of seats in order to snag a home run ball:
(It’s a true story, and Sheen failed. See pages 81-82 in the book.)
On my way out of the auditorium, some random guy approached me and showed me something in a random book:
Turns out that How to Snag Major League Baseballs (along with my misspelled name) was listed in the bibliography of a book called The Disciple Making Church: From Dry Bones to Spiritual Vitality.
The random guy showed it to the filmmaker . . .
. . . and explained the connection as follows: “I was reading a Christian book, and I looked in the bibliography, and out of all these Christian books, there was one book that was totally different: How to Snag Major League Baseballs by a guy named Zack Hample. The point that this guy was making was if Christians could be as committed to Jesus Christ and working for the kingdom of god as Zack is to catching major league baseballs, we’d turn the world upside-down in a positive way.”
Then I signed copies of my books. Here I am talking to a young fan . . .
. . . whose mother was telling me about a foul ball that he’d caught at Citi Field. Cool kid. His name is Max.
Before the book signing, I had visited the Pitch In For Baseball warehouse in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. (This is the charity that I’ve been working with since 2009.) Here I am with Tom Schoenfelder, the operations manager:
In the screen shot above, Tom is beginning to say, “We try to use anything that’s safe and in a playable condition, so when we get stuff donated — this here is perfect. It’s not cracked. It’s not dented. The handle’s still in good shape, but it’s just a little bit old.”
Tom was in the process of boxing up some equipment and uniforms, so I helped for a few minutes:
FYI: I plan to raise money again for Pitch In For Baseball this season. If you’re thinking about making a pledge, hang tight for now. As Spring Training gets underway, I’ll post a separate entry with instructions. Also, Pitch In For Baseball has a new MLBlog, and if you click here, you’ll see an entry that Tom wrote about his experience being in the documentary. Also, Pitch In For Baseball is on Twitter @PIFB_HelpsKids. Also, I wrote a big blog entry about the visiting the charity and doing the book signing, so if you missed it, click here.
Toward the end of the documentary, there’s some footage of my writing group . . .
. . . and of me on the subway platform (one stop away from Yankee Stadium) . . .
. . . and of my yellow-shirted companions at BallhawkFest. Here we are waiting for Camden Yards to open . . .
. . . and here I am getting my ticket scanned:
The final scene of the documentary shows me back at my place, summing it all up:
In the screen shot above, I’m beginning to say, “My dad was a ballboy for a minor league team way back in 1939, and he told me that after games, the teams would give him all the old baseballs, and he must’ve had hundreds of them — and when I was little, I said, ‘Well, alright, where are they? Let’s go play with them. Let’s DO something,’ and he said, ‘Well, I didn’t SAVE them. I didn’t know I was gonna have a kid someday who was gonna be obsessed with baseball,’ so it was just like, UHHH!!! So maybe in some subconscious way, my whole collection is, like, making up for that loss in childhood.”
That’s some pretty deep self-analysis, folks.
Just before the final credits, there’s a montage of clips that hadn’t made it into the main portion of the film. Here’s one of my favorites:
Check out the photo that was used during the credits:
It was a still shot that the filmmaker grabbed at the top of my leap while I played with my No. 24 sign at Comerica Park. I didn’t end up using that photo in my 30-stadium collage. I picked this one instead. Here’s the whole thing.
(한국, 감사합니다. 난 당신을 사랑 해요.)