In the top of the sixth inning of Sunday’s ALDS game between the Yankees and the Indians, Aaron Judge made an impressive catch at the wall to rob Francisco Lindor of a home run and keep the ongoing pitchers’ duel knotted at 0-0.
While the the play was highlight-reel worthy on its own merit, it became something of a viral moment when upon repeated viewings baseball fans around the country realised that Judge had not just taken a home run away from the Indians, but had also robbed infamous ballhawk Zack Hample (in yellow shirt) of yet another souvenir to add to his collection.
Hample, for those unfamiliar with his presence in the baseball zeitgeist, is likely the most notorious MLB fan this side of Steve Bartman. But rather than becoming infamous for interfering with a ball in play, Hample has made his name in the baseball world as a ballhawk, seeking out and recovering home runs, foul balls, and more at an unbelievable success rate.
He claims to have caught over 10,000 baseballs in stadiums across the league, including some of historical significance, such as Mike Trout’s first career home run and A-Rod’s 3,000th hit.
To some, he’s simply a die-hard baseball fan with a somewhat peculiar and specific interest that travels the country doing what he loves. But to others, Hample is something of a menace, taking the prize of catching a ball by luck of your seat and turning it into a game to be won or lost.
Regardless of each person’s individual feelings on the merits of ballhawking, when Twitter users realised it was Hample who had been robbed of the souvenir, they had a field day.
While those against him were the loudest on Sunday night after Judge’s dramatic catch, it’s worth noting that Hample was not without defenders.
As the “#NoInterference” in the above tweet implies, there were some on Twitter that accused Hample of attempting to interfere with the play, or simply being too close to an active play.
Hample responded to the charges with a series of tweets that he hoped would serve as vindication.
Whether you’re a fan of Hample and his ballhawking ways or not, there’s no denying that his presence so close to a show-stopping home run robbery adds an extra bit of intrigue and interest to the scene.
With the help of Judge’s heroic catch, the Yankees would go on to shut out the Indians and win the game 1-0 to give them their first win of the ALDS.
Now down 2-1 in the best of five series, the Yankees will host Cleveland again at 7 p.m. ET on Monday night with the hopes of once again extended their postseason.
RT if you’re glad Zack Hample got owned by Aaron Judge, like if you’re upset he didn’t comically fall down and get laughed at, too
— Marc Normandin???? (@Marc_Normandin) October 9, 2017
BLESS YOU AARON JUDGE FOR ROBBING ZACK HAMPLE OF A BALL
— Paul Boyé (@paul_boye) October 9, 2017
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