Alex Rodriguez can't even avoid drama with souvenir baseballs. A-Rod smacked his 3,000th hit last night, but the fan who caught the home run ball is resisting the Yankees' efforts to have him return it. At least temporarily: "At first, I was 100% adamant about not giving the ball back," Zack Hample tells the AP. "Now, I'm thinking about it." But it sounds like A-Rod will have to be willing to shell out big money, as Hample makes clear in an entertaining quote to Newsday:
- "He's not going to offer me a million dollars. If he did, I would consider it. It's kind of like, well, I don't like you and I have something you want and you can't have it. I wanted you to not take steroids and be the greatest of all time and you disappointed me. So I still respect A-Rod, he's an amazing player and I think he is pretty fan-friendly, but I have to hang on to this ball right now."
Hample says he might eventually put it up for auction. Both stories explain that it's no fluke Hample ended up with the souvenir: He's actually written a book called How to Snag Major League Baseballs. Though he was wearing his glove at the time, the 37-year-old Yankees season-ticket-holder didn't catch the ball. When it cleared the wall, a crowd surged forward to try to grab it, but everybody missed. "I looked down and the ball was at my feet," says Hample. "It was almost touching my shoe."