How To Get A Ball At Rogers Centre
How To Get A Ball At Rogers Centre
by Malcolm MacMillan
- Corners are best during batting practice
Like other MLB stadiums, batting practice is your best chance to get a ball during a visit. The key to succeeding during batting practice is getting there early. You don't have to be lined up first at your gate, but you definitely want to be as early as possible. At Rogers Centre, the gates open 90 minutes before first pitch from Monday to Friday and two hours before first pitch on Saturday and Sunday. Batting practice isn't as common before day games, but occurs prior to most 7 p.m. starts.
As you make your way to the stadium, decide which area you'll target during batting practice. Some people move from left field to right field depending on who's hitting. If you're this energetic, all the more power to you. Otherwise, pick the left field or right field area. To get to your chosen area quickly, it's important to line up at the correct gate. Doing so can save you valuable minutes and can often be the difference between finding a ball and coming away empty handed. If you plan to hit the left field corner, enter through Gate 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14. Gates 12 and 13 will send you directly into the corner, Gate 14 puts you behind left field and gates 10 and 11 are down the third base line.
As you make your way from the gate toward the field, look for balls that have landed in the seats. Finding one of these "Easter eggs" is partly luck, but if you're among the first fans to get to the area, you'll have a legitimate shot. An effective method is running down an aisle between two sections and looking left and right as you descend. Balls are sometimes hidden beneath seats or even tucked in a seat's fold.
In left field, there are a few ideal spots to stand to snag balls. Sections 135, 136 and 137 look very appealing, but balls don't land in these sections as often as you might think. The bullpen directly behind the left field fence swallows most home runs, but standing in the afore-mentioned sections and asking for an usher, player or coach to toss you up a ball can be effective. (Depending on your age and level of cuteness, of course.)
Typically, the real action is in sections 130c and 130d, which are directly at the end of the seating along the third base line. Several balls hook into these sections during each batting practice. With a spot along the fence, you'll have a shot at rolling foul balls, but anywhere in either of these sections gives you a good chance at catching a ball on the fly or on a carom off a seat or another fan's glove.
The same scenarios hold true for the right field area. If you want to hit this area, make sure to enter Rogers Centre through gates 1, 2, 3 or 4. Gates 1 and 2 are in right field, Gate 3 is directly in the corner and Gate 4 is deep along the first base line. Just as sections 135, 136 and 137 in left field look appealing but can be challenging, sections 106, 107 and 108 behind the fence in right are the same. Still, you might have luck getting a toss-up in any of these sections. The sections in the corner, 113c and 113d, are perfect for catching balls that fly or roll foul.
Another approach to take is trying the second deck (above left field, try sections 237, 238 and 239; above right field, try sections 209, 210 and 211). During most BP sessions, a handful of balls are hit to these sections. Since most fans gather as closely to the field as possible, you'll have less competition in the 200 Level. Getting to the 200s can be difficult, however, if your ticket is for a different level. While everyone can get down to field level before the game regardless of what ticket you have, ushers are strict about keeping people out of the 200 Level.
If you hope to snag a foul ball, try to buy a ticket in the front row along the baselines; 128 to 130d on the third base side and 115 to 113d on the first base side. It's also possible to get a third-out ball tossed to you if you have a seat directly above either dugout. If you're a fan of the visiting team and have the appropriate hat or clothing, you'll stand out and increase your chances of getting a ball. If you're determined to catch a home run on the fly, sections 135, 136, 137 and 138 in left field and sections 105, 106, 107 and 108 in right field are your best bets.