Zack Hample is an adult who has more or less dedicated his life to collecting baseballs, which you can buy online or at a sporting goods store, from the various games he attends. Most of Hample’s work is to be in the right place at the right time for home runs and foul balls, such as he was for Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit, which he initially refused to give back before parting with it in exchange for a charitable donation. He also attends as many games as he can, like 2016’s game at Fort Bragg between the Braves and Marlins, a contest that only active military service members and their friends and family were allowed to purchase tickets for but that he managed to buy his way into despite the fact that he is not a soldier or anything close to it.
Over the years, Hample has amassed nearly 10,000 baseballs and probably long ago passed the point where any of these rubber spheroids actually mean anything, given that he’s accumulated enough of them to fill a warehouse. Why he does this is hard to understand. This is someone who once went to the effort of catching 36 baseballs over the course of a single game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati in 2011 (if his suspiciously well-maintained Wikipedia page is to be believed)—or, in other words, a man who kept 36 other people from getting a ball in order to add some to his neverending pile. Maybe this is all part of some mysterious quest, or maybe he’s been cursed by an evil wizard to have to collect baseballs forever or else he’ll turn into a frog or something. He does have a charity pledge going for every ball he catches, but last I checked, you’re allowed to give money to good causes without it being conditional.
Anyway, on Sunday, Hample was in attendance for a Reds-Dodgers matinee, one that would feature special Father’s Day baseballs with blue stitching. As such, Hample—who is 39 years old and could be doing literally anything else with his time but instead has chosen to be a professional ballhawk—decided to ask Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw if he could have one. Kershaw’s response was succinct and wonderful.
Today I asked Clayton Kershaw if I could have a baseball. He said, "No, you got 7,000 of 'em." #rejected
Shouts to Kershaw for correctly recognizing that a man with so many baseballs would attach no special significance to one more. Reverse shouts to Hample for his dumb “by that logic” argument that equates a baseball with a paycheck.