How often have you gone to a baseball game hoping to catch a ball that goes into the stands? It’s not as hard as it seems, says Zack Hample, author of “How to Snag Major League Baseballs.”
Hample has snagged almost 3,000 baseballs at 40 different Major League stadiums across North America. Here are his top five tips for getting one:
Teams warm up one to two hours before the game, so be the first person in the gate. You’ll have fewer people to compete with for foul or home-run balls, and you’ll occasionally find balls already lying in the seats when you arrive.
Sit on the aisle
You’ll need to move around to increase your chances. “Don’t get trapped in the middle of a long row. You need to be able to jump up and move,” Hample says.
Play the percentages
Check out the rosters ahead of time, so you know how many right- and left-handed batters there will be. Most right-handed batters will hit foul balls to the first-base side; left-handed batters, to the third-base side. Pick a seat in the stadium accordingly.
When teams are warming up, they’ll often throw balls to their fans in the stands. “And players love to throw balls to kids,” Hample says.
Buy a hat for each team that’s playing
Players on the road love to spot their fans, and will often reward them by throwing them a ball. Change your hat according to who’s in the field.
WHERE TO SNAG A BASEBALL
Best: Turner Field in Atlanta, Ga. “There’s a gap between the outfield wall and the outfield stands,” Hample says. “You can snag a lot of balls that fall in the gap. Since they’re out of reach, you’ll need a special ball-snagging device tied to a string.
Worst: Yankee Stadium in New York City. “It’s the most crowded stadium in baseball, and security is strict — you can’t get down to the dugouts before the game like you can in most ballparks.”
For more tips, check out Hample’s Web site at www.zackhample.com.