Get Balls And Autographs at Huntington Park

The Get Balls And Autographs at Huntington Park
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Early gate time improves your chances of a BP ball
  • Numerous spots for snagging a home run
It's easy to get players of either team to sign around the dugouts before the game. Columbus' dugout is found on the first base side.

Walking away from a minor league game with a souvenir baseball is a thrill, and with the right approach, you can experience this thrill at Huntington Park. Batting practice begins long before the gates open, but you can watch it through the windows along West Nationwide Boulevard. Keep an eye out for home runs and foul balls – note where they land and check to see if an usher goes to retrieve them. Ushers will retrieve most balls before the gates open, but they often overlook a select few. When the gates open (90 minutes before 7:05 p.m. games and 60 minutes before 6:35 p.m. games, Sunday games and matinee games), race to the area in question and grab the ball. If batting practice is still on when you enter, grab a spot down either foul line or head to the left field bleachers or center field grass seating area in the hopes of snagging a ball. Players in the minors aren’t technically allowed to throw balls to fans – it does occasionally happen, however – so your best bet is to find a ball or grab one during the final minutes of BP.

The seat you choose and the spots you hang out during the game affect your chance of getting a foul ball or home run. A front-row seat down either foul line gives you the ability to lean forward to grab a foul ball or have a bullpen player toss you one during the game. If you’re determined to snag a homer, spend the bulk of your time in the bleachers or grass area in center field.

Your chance of getting a couple of autographs at Huntington Park is about on par with other parks in the International League. Triple-A players don’t sign as prolifically as those in the lower levels of the minors, but you shouldn’t have much difficulty getting something signed. The first priority is deciding which team you want to pursue. Columbus calls the first base dugout home, while the visitors are located on the third base side. Make your decision while you’re waiting for the gates to open, and then race to the area of either dugout and find a spot close in the front row on either side. When the players appear, politely call out to the guy you’re after and see if he’ll sign. A handful of players often sign between the dugouts and bullpens before the game, but some prefer signing only after they’ve warmed up.