Meet Zack Hample, ball hawk extraordinaire. Entering Tuesday's Braves-Yankees tilt in the Bronx, the 34-year-old had caught 6,027 baseballs at 50 Major League stadiums since 1990.
Then the Yankee Stadium gates opened.
Zack sprinted through Gate 6 into the right-field stands to begin his day of snagging. Things didn't go so smoothly at first, as he was shut out during the first group of batting practice hitters -- a rare occurrance for the New York City native.
"It's a tough ballpark," he said. "There aren't many seats to work with and the crowds are enormous here."
As Yankees BP wrapped up, Zack unleashed his secret weapon: Atlanta Braves gear. Tip No. 1: Always bring road team gear to the park.
A few minutes later Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson threw Zack ball No. 6,028. Tip No. 2: Always note players who seem more friendly.
Balls three and four of the day came from the Braves bullpen. After waiting out the rest of batting practice, most of Zack's hawking work was done -- and the game was about to begin.
-- Matt Latimer