Tips for Catching Foul Balls

As I state on the front page, this site is not intended as a guide for ball hawks (people who have a hobby of getting as many balls as they can).  Rather this website focuses on how you can increase the odds you have a foul ball come your way while you are enjoying a game with friends or family.

  1. Don’t expect to catch one.  This may seem obvious but it needs to be said.  You can increase your odds but don’t lose sight that the main thing is to enjoy the game and the atmosphere.
  2. Look for seating that juts out along the baselines. In many ballparks the best seats are in areas that are mostly reserved for season ticket holders.  However, you can almost always find these tickets for sale online.  The links on this site link to a good source for tickets.
  3. Don’t buy seats in the first two rows of a section unless they are at field level.  Your view will be blocked by people walking by throughout the game.
  4. Buy a seat on the aisle not in the middle of a row.  You gain lots of additional real estate and increase the odds if you can also step out to catch balls in the aisle.  It is also true that you will often get balls bouncing up or down the aisle.
  5. Upper level seats are not usually a good choice.  In every game you will see a number of foul balls hit into upper level seats.  However, these tend to be distributed fairly randomly and your odds of getting a foul ball in these seats are no better than average.
  6. If you are in field box seats, be wary of line drive hits.
  7. Consider the ballpark.  For example, at Fenway Park, hitters often aim for left field to take advantage of the Green Monster.  In Fenway, you will find more foul balls in the left field stands.
  8. Bring a glove.
  9. Bring your kids.  Seriously, children will often be offered a foul ball that comes near your seat by the person who catches it.  I have done this on several occasions while at the ballpark without my own son.  Your kid can increase the odds of this happening by wearing team clothing
    and bringing their own glove.  When I see a kid with a team hat and a glove I know they are serious fans and would love a ball.

Things to Bring to the Ballpark

You’ve done your homework. You’ve purchased tickets in a foul ball friendly section of the ballpark. Now, what do you need to absolutely not forget on your way out the door to enjoy the game?

  1. Sunglasses. You will be looking up a lot if you are lucky and the balls are flying your way. The best foul ball seats are not under overhangs so you will likely be sitting in the sun for at least part of the game.
  2. A hat and rain gear. See number 1.
  3. A cute, smiling kid wearing the home team cap/t-shirt and sporting a glove.
  4. A cute, smiling kid wearing the home team cap and t-shirt. Seriously. This is doubled on purpose. Nothing will increase your odds more than going to the game with your kids. People will give their foul balls to your kid. This is what I do if not with my own son and I have seen it many times. The kid with the team cap is the one most likely to be thrilled beyond belief with the foul ball. In addition, player tossed balls will come your way in the right section.
  5. A glove
  6. Money to buy your kid a souvenir baseball from the shop to make up for not getting a foul ball.
  7. Your ability to be a good loser. Nothing is more obnoxious than that guy who seems to think the foul ball is his just because he was the first to touch it. Sorry guy, you didn’t catch it. Get over it, stop pouting and let the person who ends up with it be happy.
  8. Finally, this is not really something to bring to the ballpark but something to consider. If your kids really enjoy the experience, consider buying them an autographed baseball as a way to remember the day (see link at right for a great assortment of autographed baseballs). While it is even better to get an autograph in person, that can take patience and often ends in disappointment.

 

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