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  • That's The Ticket: Catching A Baseball


    Parker Hageman

    Let’s say you have been to hundreds of baseball games in your life and you’ve never gotten a baseball. Or better yet, you are looking to give your kids that magical experience of landing a ball. Where would you sit? It goes without saying that getting a ball at the ballpark has very low odds but here are some seating tips to increase your chances during the upcoming Boston Red Sox series at Target Field.

    NABBING A HOME RUN BALL

    Since Target Field has opened, outside of Toronto’s Jose Bautista (11), no visiting player has hit more long balls downtown Minneapolis than than David Ortiz (9). Actually, both Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Santana have equaled that number but have done so over 47 and 43 games compared to Ortiz’s 14 games. In fact, Ortiz managed to blast four home runs a year ago spread out in back-to-back games.

    There is something also unique about Ortiz’s Target Field home runs: They almost all landed in the same spot each time.

    export (1).png

    Two of Ortiz’s home runs from 2014 were hit off of Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco and both landed just a mere row or two away from each other.

    http://i.imgur.com/TEiGiNP.gif

    http://i.imgur.com/dJ4EPJ7.gif

    As odds would have it, Nolasco is scheduled to start Monday’s 1:10 PM game. If you want to come home with a Big Papi home run ball (in addition to your Twins BBQ Branding Iron -- play safe kids!), you are going to want to seek out tickets in the Pavillon, Section 134 for that game where Ticket King has several seats left. That section can provide quick access to share or a few steps away from the Twins Pub which sells local Surly and Fulton beers.

    TicketKing_Ortiz.png

    Word to the wise: If a Ortiz home run ball manages to come your way but lands a row or two short, don’t wrestle a kid for the ball. Also, don’t try to convince the kid to throw the ball back onto the field, like this guy did.

    http://i.imgur.com/IVZvPS4.gif

    NABBING A TWINS HOME RUN

    So having a Boston Red Sox home run ball doesn’t do anything for you. Your best bet for a Twins home run ball is getting tickets in the Left Field Bleachers for Tuesday night’s 7:10 game. If all goes according to plan, you should wind up with a Brian Dozier home run ball.

    Brian Dozier Dingers.png

    Dozier is a notorious high ball hitter -- 34 of his 54 home runs have come on pitches in the upper third of the strike zone. Additionally, almost all of the them with the exception of some lone wolf home runs, were pull shots.

    http://i.imgur.com/BhMRRtU.gif

    Tuesday’s scheduled starter for the Red Sox is Rick Porcello who absolutely loves pumping high fastballs this year. He has thrown almost half of his fastballs in the upper third (49%) which is well above the league norm. If he insists on doing the same to Dozier, there is an excellent chance fireworks will ensue.

    TicketKing_Dozier.png

    Failing that, Trevor Plouffe is the current active player with the most home runs at Target Field (40). Plouffe also enjoys the Left Field Bleachers and Home Run Porch as his favorite landing spots.

    Any Kind Of Ball Will Do

    If you want to be closer to the action and possibly pampered, the Dugout Boxes, Legends Club or Home Plate Box is your best bet in corralling a foul ball during Thursday’s getaway day game.

    http://i.imgur.com/BTqCfTd.gif

    The Legends Club seats that hug the home plate area seemingly receive the majority of the lofted foul balls, those that are gentle to catch with bare hands. If you are in the Home Plate Box area, sometimes those fouls ricochet back down from the exclusive seating area into the gen pop. Finally, if you want to catch the white whale of foul balls -- the screaming liner -- the Dugout Box is your spot. This is the section where hitters will rocket pitches they are fighting off to stay alive, so make sure you pay attention so you also stay alive.

    Good luck.

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    Would love to see one of those frequency maps for all of the over the fence the balls hit in Target field, not just the couple players you featured. It would be interesting to see the overall pattern of where balls land. Any particular seat being more lucky overall?

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    I am sitting on the first base line for three games this week (counting Memorial Day) about ten rows behind the Twins' dugout. (Just happened to win tickets to three different games, and they're all in the same general area.) Had one foul ball land about four rows in front of me yesterday, but that was it. Really hoping for one Friday or Saturday...

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     Finally, if you want to catch the white whale of foul balls -- the screaming liner -- the Dugout Box is your spot. This is the section where hitters will rocket pitches they are fighting off to stay alive, so make sure you pay attention so you also stay alive.

    Good luck.

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    Also a good spot to take a bat to the head! In two games I attended last year a guy's bat ended up over the Twins dugout and nearly decapitated someone. I think it was against the Astros where it was a broken one, the damn thing helicoptered it's way over the entire first section before ending up on the walkway. The guy in the last row who's head it flew over was busy talking to his buddy while everyone else stared in horror waiting for it to impale him!

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