The Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins played a baseball game at Fort Bragg on Sunday night. Professional ballhawk Zack Hample was there. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been.
Eric Hill, the recreation division chief for Fort Bragg’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, told the Fayetteville Observer last week that giving the tickets away, whether or not money changes hands, could lead to some spectators being removed from the ballpark and “repercussions” for the service member who originally owned the tickets.
Hample got his paws on a souvenir baseball in the third inning. Happy that he didn’t get hit in the face or body-slammed in the pursuit, he took to Twitter to celebrate.
Immediately, the boastful post caused controversy.
The main issue: How did Hample get in despite the strict attendance rules?
There’s obviously a big difference between being invited by a buddy and using Tinder to beg for tickets.
The 82nd Airborne Division did not seem entirely thrilled that Hample was occupying one of the precious few seats at the historic event.
Hample responded that his ballhawking presence was actually a charitable endeavor.
As if this story wasn’t ridiculous enough, Laurence Leavy, better known as Marlins Man, added his voice to the fray, saying he declined tickets to the game out of respect and admonishing Hample for not doing the same.
Hample was already a polarizing figure before last night. A 38-year-old man aggressively hunting baseballs with the passion of Brian Cardinal going after a loose ball is bound to rub people the wrong way. Especially those who recoil in horror at the sight of a grown man wearing a baseball glove to a game.
But even the biggest Hample detractor has to wonder if he’s so oblivious to reality that he would pull a stunt like this. The quickest way to personal ruin in this country is to do anything that insults the troops. Taking a ticket away from a military member on what was supposed to be a special night would surely do that.