April 14, 2011
Ball hawking at Major League stadiums is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm not entirely sure why I like chasing after baseballs while I attend games but I just do. I guess its probably something that spawned from my childhood about always wanting a baseball from a game but never arriving earlier enough or staying long enough or sitting in the right seats. Of course as a little kid my parents were pretty much in control of how many baseball games I went to and where we sat and when we showed up to the games. But now that I'm a grown adult I get to make my own decisions. AND ITS AWESOME.
The one thing that always keeps me on my toes are the security guards. They're employed by the stadiums to keep people like me and my fellow ball hawks in line. They try their best. Really they do. But most security guards aren't young men with a high energy with an absolute hunger to catch a baseball. Most security guards are elderly men or short obese women. They are strategically placed in various key points throughout the stadiums. That is where they have the upper hand.
Just because you run into a security guard checking tickets at the top of the entrance to a specific row that you need to get down to catch a third-out baseball or just to get down behind the dugouts for a better view doesn't mean you're sunk right away. There are a few tricks that I have used to dupe said security guards into thinking you belong down there. A well known trick is to simply have your hands full. Normally a security guard wont ask for your ticket if you have loads of food and drinks in your hands. Try to sweet talk them and be apologetic. That usually gets you passed. Another trick in this particular situation is to use your stealth mode. Yes, every Ball hawk has a stealth mode. When the security guard is busy checking tickets of a rather large group of college students or whoever use your stealth mode to slink passed the group and down the aisle.
Now this next trick I do not recommend because it can possibly get you ejected. Its only for the elite. If you use "print at home" tickets you can use yesterdays ticket to get passed if its for that area. Or possibly someone else's ticket from yesterday. ( You might have to collect some tickets from yesterdays game from that area ) Obviously the paper ticket has yesterdays date on it. If you take an eye dropper and drop some well placed water drops on the date it will wash away the ink and leave it unreadable. You can claim you dropped some water on your ticket while you were in the restroom. ( Also this only works if your team is still playing the team from yesterday ) Whatever you do don't let them escort you to your seat. Sometimes they'll do that.
Now if you pay close attention to the security guards around the dugout aisles they actually walk all the way down to the field as the third out is being recorded. In this case all you have to do is follow them down and sit down in a seat you have already scouted out from afar that you know is vacant. Once you sit down either take out your cell phone and pretend to take a call or just start digging through your bag until the security guard walks back up to take his/her place back at the top of the aisle. Towards the end of the game in most stadiums the security guards loosen up and start letting fans sit where they want. So if you want to just wait until then to score a third out baseball then that's up to you. But also remember that towards the end of the game you will have a lot more competition to contend with. Its just the name of the game.
So there are a few tricks you can use to get passed your security guards at your home stadium. Or any other stadium for that matter. Until next time...
Wayne Peck is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com and also maintains a Blog.