At a small park in Pyne Poynt on the north side of Camden, N.J., kids take practice cuts on the infield dirt and adjust their hats. A small but enthusiastic crowd shouts words of encouragement, but the cheering parents and playful bench-side scuffles only momentarily disguise the troubles in the city. Baggies, vials and hypodermic needles litter the same field where practice is being held.
"Each day, our kids walk past drug sets and open air drug use," says Bryan Morton, the North Camden Little League president.
Since 1990, Zack Hample has been snagging baseballs from the stands — nearly 7,000 at 50 different Major League stadiums. This past weekend in Massachusetts, a ball dropped from a helicopter 1,200 feet in the air. From that height, a very fast ball, so Hample was decked out in catchers gear.
Greg Van Niel is a Cleveland Indians season-ticket holder. But curiously, he wasn't sitting in his usual seat when he grabbed four foul balls at Sunday's game at Progressive Field against the Kansas City Royals.
He accomplished his feat by the fifth inning while sitting in Row FF, Section 160, Seat 3.
"Three of them were catches, and one was a ball I picked up off the ground," Van Niel told the team, according to tribevibe on mlblogs.com.
Derek Jeter was back in the Yankees lineup last week after breaking his ankle in the 2012 playoffs. A few at-bats later, he was out with a strained quadricep. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Mike Pesca about how much difference this one player can make on the baseball diamond.