By Jason Rowan
The long and sordid saga revolving around the ultimate fate of the ball Alex Rodriguez deposited into the outfield seats at Yankee Stadium for his 3,000th hit has finally reached a resolution.
Zack Hample, a “professional ballhawk” who was uncooperative at best after procuring the baseball after A-Rod’s solo shot in the first inning on June 19, has agreed to turn over the ball to the Yankees after the team agreed to donate $150,000 to Pitch In For Baseball, a charity with which Hample has worked with since 2009.
Hample previously suggested this as a way to reach an amicable resolution with the ball club and Rodriguez, saying a “sizable donation” may do the trick. This came after he made it clear that under no uncertain terms would he freely turn over the ball without some semblance of compensation. He added he may ask for some memorabilia of some sort for his own benefit, but said he wouldn’t “go overboard” with his demands. It’s not clear whether Hample would be receiving anything from the team for his cooperation.
Hample reported that in the days and weeks that he received threats from fans who supported the Yankees and A-Rod in the milestone baseball tug-of-war in light of his rigid stance on what he intended to do with the ball.
NJ.com reports that the exchange will occur during a press conference at Yankee Stadium on Friday at 5:30 p.m. local time. Both Hample and Rodriguez will be present at the presser, which may make for some uncomfortable moments given how Hample seems to have an unsavory opinion of the Yankees slugger.
“I do not plan on giving it back to Alex Rodriguez,” he said shortly after securing the baseball. “If I choose to sell it, he’s welcome to come bid on it. But I don’t think that A-Rod deserves a favor from a normal civilian like me.”
But that’s all water under the bridge now. It appears that everyone involved will walk away happy from the battle of wills that ensued over a pretty valuable piece of baseball history.
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