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A-Rod Ball Guy

Getting 'Scary' Threats

'Cause I Won't Return Ball

6/30/2015 12:15 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0630_zack_hample_gettyZack Hample ... the guy who caught A-Rod's 3,000th hit ... tells TMZ Sports that since snagging the lucky ball he's been dogged by people making "scary" threats for him to return the ball to the Yankees stud.

Hample ... a notorious ball hawk who actually writes a blog on how to catch dingers ... says some fans want him to return the ball so badly that they are filling up his inboxes with dangerous talk.

"I try to disregard it, but when some people make personal threats and say things, it's scary."

Zack also tells us he adamantly refutes the rumors that he knocked over kids and old ladies to get the ball ... saying Internet haters are spreading the lies to smear his name. 

"What I do, is totally respectful, and done with the utmost care. It's all lies."

Hample still hasn't made up his mind about what to do with the rock just yet -- despite yet another offer from the Yankees -- but he says he doesn't understand why people are giving him a hard time.

"No one has a problem with A-Rod making like $20 or 30 million a year, but when some dude catches a baseball he's supposed to just hand it over to the rich guy."

A-Rod Baseball

Yankees Offer King's Ransom

... Says Guy Who Caught It

6/20/2015 10:21 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0621-a-rod-01

How bad do the New York Yankees want A-Rod to have his 3,000 hit ball back? So bad that the team is offering a smorgasbord of AWESOME pinstriped-themed goodies ... so says the guy who caught it.

We spoke to Zack Hample ... the lucky dog who snagged A-Rod's historic dinger, and he tells us the Yanks made an incredible offer to him the minute the MLB authenticated his ball.

According to Hample the deal included ...

- Seats in the "Legends" section of Yankees stadium

- A personal meeting with A-Rod

- His own press conference with the media

- Appearances on the YES network for the rest of the season

- A "sizable" donation" to the charity of Hample's choice (with A-Rod to match the donation)

FYI -- sitting in the swanky "Legends" section of Yankees stadium is a big deal, with tickets running up to $1,500 per game ... and include gourmet food and drinks for the whole 9 innings.

Hample says it ain't just the Yanks who want the ball -- with multiple auction houses and collectors offering big cash for the rock -- but he hasn't made up his mind about what to do with it just yet.

Good problem to have if you ask us.

Jason Alexander

I Didn't Know Who Steinbrenner Was

... Before 'Seinfeld' Gig

6/5/2015 1:07 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Much like George Costanza, Jason Alexander had to pretend at a job he was pretending to have.

Alexander was out and about in New York City when our photog tried to chat him up about the New York Yankees, figuring Alexander was a fan from his "Seinfeld" days.

But as it turns out ... Alexander knows NOTHING about sports and says he had no idea who George Steinbrenner even was ... even though he shot several memorable scenes poking fun of the notorious Yankees owner.

In the immortal words of Mr. Costanza ... it's not a lie, if you believe it.

Jorge Posada

Umpires Used to Fart On Me

'But I Returned the Favor'

5/13/2015 11:22 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

When you're an MLB catcher ... there are serious hazards of the job. 

Being farted on by the home plate umpire is apparently one of those hazards ... so says former Yankees superstar Jorge Posada

Don't worry, Jorge tells us if an ump hit him with a stink bomb -- he always got even ... "I returned the favor."

And now you know. 

Lou Gehrig

Game-Used Bat Found

Family Used for Home Protection

5/8/2015 8:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0507-lou-gherig-bat-getty-03

Talk about hitting the jackpot ... a NY family learned a baseball bat specifically kept in the house for beating off intruders ... IS WORTH A FORTUNE ... 'cause it was used by Lou Gehrig

The story is pretty crazy ... the family says they came into possession of the bat decades ago when a family member of a former NY Yankees groundskeeper gave it to them as a gift. 

Clearly, they thought it was just a regular bat ... and kept it behind the front door of the home for "protection" ... and it stayed there for 30 years. 

That is, until someone realized it wasn't just an old piece of wood ... but a 1929-31 Lou Gehrig game-used bat ... one of the few Gehrig bats known to exist. 

Now, the bat is hitting the auction block through Love of the Game Auctions ... and we're told the opening bid will be $20,000. 

Pretty cool, right? 

NY Congressman Peter King

DON'T CELEBRATE A-ROD

Home Runs Are Tainted

4/23/2015 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

With Alex Rodriguez just 2 home run from tying Willie Mays as #4 on the all-time MLB home run list ... NY Congressman Peter King says NO ONE should celebrate ... 'cause A-Rod's a dirty cheater. 

In fact, the Yankees are practically ignoring A-Rod's impending accomplishment (odd since the Yanks usually celebrate EVERYTHING) ... but King says it's definitely the right move. 

"I think they're right because it's obvious that so many of [A-Rod's] home runs were tainted," King told TMZ Sports

"I think it would be wrong to be celebrating ... since for all we know, hundreds of those home runs probably occurred when he was taking steroids."

Of course, Rodriguez has admitted to using illegal performance enhancing substances -- and was suspended for the entire 2014 season. 

But even if the Yanks do acknowledge the milestone, Alex still has a huge incentive -- the guy will get a $6 MILLION bonus if he ties or breaks the record. 

NY Congressman to A-Rod:

Image Rehab's Gonna Be Tough

... I Would Know

3/25/2015 6:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

If there's anyone who knows what it takes to bounce back after being humiliated on a national scale, it's NY Congressman Charlie Rangel ... who has some advice for A-Rod on how to weather the storm. 

TMZ Sports spoke with Rangel out in D.C. -- and asked how Alex Rodriguez could get back into the good graces of Yankees fans ... following his second PED scandal. 

Rangel knows a thing or two about image rehab -- he was infamously found guilty of multiple House ethics violations in 2010 (including failing to pay taxes) and was forced to beg for mercy on the House floor.

So, what advice does he have for the disgraced MLB star? Rangel didn't hold back. 

Check out the clip. 

Alex Rodriguez

Famous Ex-GF Breaks Silence

'We're Still Friends'

3/10/2015 6:42 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Can you stay friends with an ex??

Alex Rodriguez certainly can ... so says his last girlfriend Torrie Wilson -- who tells TMZ Sports they're not only on GREAT terms, but she'll be rooting FOR him when baseball season starts. 

The former WWE Diva was leaving the gym in Los Angeles Monday when we asked how things were going ever since she and A-Rod ended their 3-year relationship back in February. 

According to Page Six, the relationship fizzled (at least in part) because Alex is still tight with another ex ... his former wife Cynthia.

But Torrie doesn't seem upset at all -- and says she'll "always" be friends with the guy. 

Jerry Seinfeld

I'm Bored

with A-Rod Drama

3/9/2015 7:19 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The Alex Rodriguez storyline has grown tiresome ... so says MLB superfan Jerry Seinfeld who says plain and simple, "It's not very interesting."

Seinfeld was leaving Craig's in West Hollywood when we tried to ask if he thinks A-Rod's return to the Yanks will be a good thing or a bad thing for the ball club. 

Jerry's response? He couldn't care less. 

But he DID care about his beloved NY Mets ... and told us if the team is gonna be competitive this year, it's all gonna come down to one guy. 

No pressure. 

Alex Rodriguez

I'M SORRY I CHEATED

... Again

2/17/2015 10:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0217_alex-rodriguez_getty_2Alex Rodriguez is begging for Yankees fans to forgive him ... again ... penning a handwritten apology in which he "take[s] full responsibility" for pumping himself full of performance-enhancing drugs. 

In the letter, addressed "To the Fans" ... A-Rod says, "I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season."

0217-WITHOUT-SWIPE-alex-rodriguez-apology-letter-SUB-TWITTER-01"I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major league baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association, and you, the fans, I can only say I'm sorry."

He adds, "I accept that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that's on me."

"I'm ready to put this chapter behind me and play some ball."

FYI -- Rodriguez first confessed to juicing in 2009 ... saying he used steroids in 2001, 2002 and 2003. 

Then in 2013, MLB investigated Rodriguez again ... and found he was using PEDs. He was ultimately suspended for the entire 2014 season. 

Vida Guerra

Hey Derek Jeter ...

I'm the Hottest GF You Ever Had

2/10/2015 8:21 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0210_vida_guerra_sexy_thong_bikini_launchBefore Hannah Davis ... Minka Kelly ... Jessica Biel, Alba, Minnillo, Lima, etc. ... there was Vida Guerra -- and now she's on a mission to prove she's Derek Jeter's hottest ex.

Guerra (40) -- who shot to fame as an ass model -- tells TMZ Sports she respects Hannah Davis (24) and likes her S.I. Swimsuit Edition cover, but wanted to "respond" with a sexy shoot of her own. 

Hence the photos you see before you.

"Hannah is Derek's type for sure, he's always liked tall girls ... but she was like seven when him and I dated," Guerra says. 

"Curves are in -- and I have all of those."

#Truth

0210_vida_guerra_jeter_sub

Derek Jeter

Escapes East Coast Blizzard ...

Bringing Back Ripped Jeans

1/27/2015 7:08 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
012715_derek_jeter_launch_v2While most of the East Coast was hunkering down in the blizzard, NY Yankees legend Derek Jeter wasn't even rockin' a coat -- strollin' around Bev Hills in a pair of ripped jeans like it was '86 all over again. 

Jeter's out in L.A. (we're told he's taking meetings with some Hollywood people) -- and Monday night we ran into #2 on his way out of Mastro's Steakhouse. 

FYI -- apparently, distressed jeans are "in" ... at least according to GQ and Women's Wear Daily, which recently published an article saying: 

"After a few years of dark denim dominance, it's only natural that distressed denim would reenter the game with rips and tears galore."

Def Leppard is so happy right now ... 

Yankees Star CC Sabathia

CHILL STEINBRENNERS

I'll Kill My Beard Before the Season!

12/4/2014 9:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
120414_cc_sabathia_launchIt's one of the most famous Yankees rules ... NO BEARDS DURING THE SEASON!!!

But with star pitcher CC Sabathia, who's growing out his whiskers in the off-season, we had to ask the 34-year-old if he was planning to rage against the machine this year ... and fight to keep his face warmer when it's time to put on the pinstripes.  

Don't worry Steinbrenners, Sabathia told us he's gonna play by the family rules ... even though he likes his new scruff. 

There have been rumblings over the years that the Yanks would consider reversing the follicle ban -- but team officials have shot down the rumors every time.

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