Get Balls And Autographs at Canal Park

The Get Balls And Autographs at Canal Park
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Pre-game BP snagging is possible near canal
  • Bleachers, wide concourses are ideal for game balls
Check beneath the seats upon entering and you might be lucky to find a batting practice ball.

Snagging a ball during a visit to any ballpark can brighten your day, but getting one before the gates open is somehow even more exciting. Your odds of doing so during your visit to Canal Park are pretty good, provided batting practice is taking place. Although much of the area beyond the ballpark’s outfield fence is impossible to access, the Ohio and Erie Canal runs past the left field corner of Canal Park – hence the park’s name. More importantly, a pedestrian walkway runs along the side of the canal, and you can access the mouth of this trail from the end of the West State Street bridge at Water Street. Follow the path across the canal and you’ll be standing right behind the ballpark’s left field fence. Keep your eyes sharp and a few home runs should come your way.

If you don’t get to the park in time to snag BP homers next to the canal, your best bet to find a BP ball is to line up early and enter Canal Park as soon as the gates open an hour before first pitch. When you get inside, pick an area to scour – the right field bleachers or the baseline seats near left field are smart choices. Although the park’s ushers probably grabbed most of the balls that landed in the stands during BP, you might get lucky and find one.

Come game time, the right field bleachers are your best bet if you wish to snag a home run ball. This is the only seating at Canal Park behind the outfield fence. Down the baselines, the concourse is open and wide – standing in these areas can be the perfect spot for grabbing a foul ball.

Getting some autographs at Canal Park doesn’t require the same approach as getting a baseball. The key to success is being at the park when it opens and finding a spot around either dugout – Akron’s dugout is on the third base side. It’s common for players from both teams to sign around the dugouts from the time they take the field to shortly before first pitch. Canal Park’s bullpens aren’t down the lines, but they’re still accessible. The bullpens are found in right-center, which means finding a spot at the edge of the right field bleachers puts you in the perfect spot for some pre-game autographs. You’ll notice the bullpens are stacked – Akron’s is closest to the field.

I didn’t make time to try for a BP home run by standing near the canal during my visit to Akron in 2013. After the gates had opened, however, I was lucky enough to find baseballs in the seats in the left field corner and in the right field bleachers. This success was due to being the first fan in each of these areas.