Increasing your odds... coming away with a baseball from a Seattle Mariners game
Three balls for dad and son.
Attending a Mariners game at Safeco Field in Seattle is a magical event. Especially if you, or the party you are with, is/are a baseball fan. The field is surreal. The food is terrific. It’s baseball at its finest.
There is also nothing better than coming away with the most spectacular souvenir one can imagine… a baseball.
This is no easy feat. There could be 30,000+ fans at any given game, all wanting the same memento. You need to be 1 in 30,000!!
But, if you are lucky… and in the right place at the right time… and awfully patient and polite… it IS possible.
Batting Practice; plan to arrive at the ballpark at least a couple of hours before the game starts. Doors open two hours prior to first pitch. The lines of people at each entrance will be vast, especially if there is a giveaway (bobble head, poster, beard/hat, bat, etc). I would suggest getting in line at 3pm for a 7pm game. Once the gates open head straight to the field. Run! Once at the field, you’ll have plenty of options.
- Sit in the outfield and wait for a homerun ball. It will most likely hit and land in the seats, so if you are close, you’ll have to run and grab it from the many hands that saw it land. Hint: Many batters in the M’s lineup are Southpaws (left-handed), which means they will most likely hit it into right field. If you sit in the right field seats, many players will hit the balls out of the field and you can grab it then.
- Another good place to go is along the first & third base line. Make sure you get in the 1st row. A) The players will often shank a ball over to your area during batting practice. If you reach over the padded fence really far with your glove, you just might get lucky. B) The players will be pretty close to you while warming up. They will be throwing baseballs to each other. Along the 3rd baseline will be the visiting team. Try to make eye contact with one or more of the players. If you are wearing a neutral shirt (non-Mariners), shout their name or team in a rooting manner “Go Astros!”, “Big fan #45!” It certainly helps your chances if you know the player’s name (Big fan of yours, Jeter!). After the players are finished warming up in the outfield, there is a good probability that that player will throw you a ball.
- The Pen; The Pen area overlooks the outfield. Get there early since it gets very crowded. But, if a player hits a ball out of the field and towards Center Field, it will likely end up in The Pen. If no one catches it, it will bounce a bit. Head towards it! Be aggressive but not rude.
After the game…
Stay for the entire game. Even if the M’s are losing and the traffic will be horrible… muster up and stay till the end. In the 9th inning, head over to the M’s dugout. Sit as close to the dugout as you can. Once the game is over and the players have made their way into the dugout, again, shout out the names of the players. They will often throw items from the dugout into the stands. Be warned, they may not throw ‘to’ someone, but rather to the crowd surrounding the dugout.
As stated above, getting a baseball that was used in a game or batting practice is difficult but not impossible. My son and I once walked away with five balls after a game. Five!