August 17, 2010
In recent history I have found a tour that you can take at my own home town ballpark that will get you into the game a whole forty minutes before the season ticket holders.
The Batting Practice tour at GABP will set you back fifteen dollars but in the long run if you snag a couple of extra balls in that time it is an investment that is well worth the monetary setback. I have made many trips to GABP this year, only snagging four balls in total. At only two of the games have I really tried to snag baseballs; the other games were work events or with my wife and her friends.
At GABP, once you purchase your ticket from the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum you will be granted access to the Sun/Moon deck pavilion, basically the whole right-center to right field from 4:30 until 5:10, and then the season ticket holders are allowed to enter the stadium. This still gives you twenty more minutes until general ticket admission starts.
When I was ballhawking at two Reds/Dodgers games, I only bought BP tour tickets for the first game of the series. I caught a homerun ball, a foul ball once we were allowed to move from the right field pavilion, and one missed throw that was unsuccessfully caught by Manny Ramirez and bounced up behind where I was standing. I tried to get his attention to give the ball back, hoping for an autograph in return but he became uneasy and moved more into center field to do the pre-game warm up toss with one of the Dodger bat boys.
On my second game of the series I didn't make it down in time to purchase the BP tour tickets, so we waited to get in at 5:30. Once we got in (my little sister in-law, and myself), we headed out to the foul area along the left field line by the warning track. I yelled out to a relief pitcher for the Dodgers by the name of Justin Miller; he has a lot of tattoos like myself. I was able to talk with him in Arizona when I was out there for Spring Training this year. I think he remembered me and tossed a ball perfectly into my glove.
So all in all I think the batting practice tour is a must have for any ballhawk.
See you at the game,
Jason Eiler is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.