How To Get A Ball At Jerry Uht Park
How To Get A Ball At Jerry Uht Park
by Malcolm MacMillan
- Snagging during BP is all but impossible
- Several spots in ball park are ideal for foul balls
Jerry Uht Park has several pros and cons when it comes to trying to get a ball one way or another. If you’ve had success with standing behind the outfield fence and running down batting practice home runs before the game, that plan won’t work here. Just behind the left field fence stands a 20-foot high fence, meaning no balls are going to escape and roll onto the street. Balls hit to straightaway center will run into another fence long before you can grab them, and the location of the Erie County Convention Center Complex behind the left field fence means that pre-game snagging is out of the question here, too.
At some parks, you can stand outside and see enough of the field during batting practice that you’ll be able to see if any balls land in the stands, and then try to find the balls once the park’s gates open. That won’t fly here. Although you can see parts of the field from a few vantage points, you won’t see enough for it to do any good.
Still, you’re not completely skunked just yet. Batting practice takes place before most games (before day games and doubleheaders are the usual exception), and if you get to the park before the gates open, you’ll be able to hear the cracks of the bats if BP is on. If this is the case, several balls will end up in the stands. Ushers are required to collect these balls before the gates open, but given that this is just one of their duties, some balls are bound to be missed.
Get to the park early and get in line so that you’ll be among the first fans to enter the park. As you’re waiting for the gates to open, decide if you’ll look for balls on the first base side or the third base side. One side is no better than the other, although if you see fans already in one area, try to find another one to search. As soon as you’re allowed in, get to that part of the park as quickly as possible and keep your eyes peeled for balls. If you’re lucky, you might find one in the fold of a seat, partially hidden under a seat support or in any other inconspicuous area. If you can find one – and reach it – you’ve got yourself a cool souvenir before the first pitch is thrown. Important areas to check out include the home run deck in left field and the picnic area in the right field corner.
Getting a home run or foul ball during the game requires a considerable amount of luck, but the proper preparation definitely improves your chances. If it’s a home run ball you want, the only spot to stand is on the home run deck in left field, which runs between Jerry Uht Stadium and the Erie County Convention Center Complex. You won’t be the only fan in this area, but it’s worth a shot. Most fans will congregate against the fence, but balls can easily sail over their heads. Stand back and if you can’t catch the ball on the fly, be ready to react quickly to the crazy carom the ball will take off the concrete.
It’s often possible to catch a rolling foul ball if you’re in the right spot along field level. At Jerry Uht Park, this means a front-row seat in section 101, 102, 103 or 104 on the first base side and 114, 115, 116 or 117 on the third base side. Because of the angle of these seats, several rolling fouls head to these areas each game. The cross-aisle that runs throughout the park is a prime spot for catching pop-up fouls, and bigger pop-ups can often make their way back to the 200 Level. Pretty much every section in this level is fair game.
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