May 16, 2010
Zack Hample's Blog
There aren't many "firsts" left for Zack Hample to accomplish, but he managed to score another one on Thursday afternoon at Camden Yards. For the first time in his career, Hample snagged two home runs in a single game - the first on a 7th inning shot hit by Michael Saunders, and the second just an inning later off the bat of Corey Patterson.
It was his third consecutive game without batting practice, and that combined with the fact that Ken Griffey, Jr didn't get many at-bats made for a rather disappointing stay in Baltimore. That is, until Saunders stepped to the plate in the 7th.
Hample had been running back and forth between the home plate area and the standing room section in right field, and with Saunders at bat, a powerful lefty, the choice was obvious. Saunders yanked a liner deep to right, and Hample barely had time to react.
"I couldn't see the field from where I was standing, and then all of a sudden, a ball appeared out of nowhere and started flying to my left," Hample wrote on his blog. "It was a line drive. A home run? What?! It happened so fast that the crowd didn't react, and it didn't even occur to me at first what was going on, but I chased after it nonetheless."
Nobody in the standing room section was able to put a glove on it, and after it took a couple bounces Hample was positioned in the perfect spot and he came down with it. It was his 11th career game home run ball.
He enjoyed the moment and showed off the ball, but eventually his focus returned to the game. "My goal? Snagging another home run, of course," he wrote.
When Patterson came up in the 8th, Hample wasn't expecting much from the recent AAA call-up. "Normally I stand at the back of the section, but in this case, since I didn't think Patterson was likely to hit a monstrous home run, I stood just a few feet back from the wall at the front," he wrote.
Patterson proved him wrong, though, and lifted a high towering shot deep into the back of the section. The ball's high trajectory gave Hample the chance to drift back on it, and with a few others also in pursuit of the ball he reached up and snagged it out of the air on the fly.
He went crazy, and as the television camera zoomed in on him he reached into his pocket and pulled out the Saunders' ball and held up both balls to show the world that he had just snagged back-to-back gamers. It was reminiscent of 2008 when he held up 2 fingers after snagging homers on back-to-back nights at Old Yankee Stadium, but this time he had done it in a single game.
So after a depressing, rain-socked series in Baltimore, Hample ended it with one of his biggest accomplishments as a ballhawk. "Man, what a day," he wrote. "The trip turned out to be pretty good after all."