To find out, we asked Zack Hample, author of Watching Baseball Smarter, who’s snagged 8,000-plus balls—like Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th career hit—at 51 different Major League stadiums. His tips:
Do Your Research
Check out ESPN’s Home Run Tracker for info like stadium diagrams showing where long balls land, and “scatter plots” for every MLB player.
Bring a Glove
Reaching for a line drive barehanded isn’t macho, it’s stupid—especially if Giancarlo Stanton is batting. A glove will also boost your fielding percentage.
Watch the Other Guy
Don’t sit behind any 6’8″ guys also wearing gloves. At most games there are empty seats, so move to one nearby.
Don’t Get Trapped
Never, ever sit in the middle of a row. Mobility is key, so park yourself near a staircase or aisle—or, better yet, in a standing room section.
Anticipate Home Runs
Most homers are hit on the first pitch of an at-bat or when the batter’s ahead in the count, so in those cases pay close attention. Also, line drives tend to hook toward the foul line, while higher fly balls often go extra far due to backspin.
Play the Percentages
Right-handed batters hit most of their foul balls to the first base side and their homers into the leftfield seats; lefties hit most fouls to the third base side and homers to rightfield. Choose your spot accordingly.
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