Get Balls And Autographs at Metro Bank Park

The Get Balls And Autographs at Metro Bank Park
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Autographs easy around visitors bullpen
  • Snagging a ball before gates open provides a fun challenge
With the right strategy, you'll be able to snag a batting practice home run before the gates open.

You shouldn’t have any problems getting a handful of autographs during your visit to Metro Bank Park. The Senators, whose dugout is on the first base side, sign around the dugout before the game, and if you’re lucky, you’ll also get a guy or two to sign in this area after the game. The home side is typically more crowded than the visitors’ side, so if you aren’t specifically cheering for the Senators, consider seeking autographs around the visitors’ dugout, as you may have more success.

Unlike some parks that have the bullpens down the lines, the home bullpen is in an enclosed area directly below the right field Bar Stools section. You might get a guy to sign on his way to or from the bullpen before the game, but once he’s in, you’re out of luck.

The visitors’ bullpen, on the other hand, is very accessible to fans. It’s located in the left field corner. Instead of standing along the edge of the seats while you try to get guys to sign, head under the concourse and stand along the edge of the railing next to the bullpen. Players tend to hang out along the fence next to the field, but if you ask politely, you should be able to get a couple guys to come over and sign for you.

In the lower levels of the minor leagues, it’s often possible to get a ball during batting practice without entering the park. Because these parks are small, you can stand behind the outfield fence and track down home runs. Doing so isn’t typically possible as you move up through the minors, but Metro Bank Park gives you a good chance to grab a ball before the gates open.

When you arrive at the ballpark, take a few minutes to wander around the area beyond the outfield fence, particularly in straightaway center and in right. True, it would take a monster shot to not only clear the outfield fence but then carry over the boardwalk, but here’s the secret: If a home run ball hits the boardwalk at just the right angle, it’ll take a huge bounce and fly out of the park.

One such spot where you might have some luck is close to the main gate. Walk through the blocked-off parking lot, heading toward center field, but stop in the gap between the building that houses the ticket office/team shop and the maintenance garage. There’s only a small opening here, but stand back toward the train tracks and keep your eyes and ears open. You won’t necessarily see every ball that leaves the park, but you’ll likely hear them clang off nearby structures.

As always, take a quick run through the outfield seats after you enter the park. Although the ushers try to pick up every BP home run that finds its way into the seats, it’s possible to find a ball tucked in the fold of a seat or hidden against a post. Get to the outfield quickly, though, as other fans might be thinking the same thing as you.

During my customary pre-game tour, I could hear balls hitting the concourse during BP and knew that with the right bounce, it wouldn’t be much for a ball to completely leave the park. I set up in the area between the ticket office/team shop and maintenance garage, and in less than five minutes, a ball bounced almost straight toward me for an easy pick-up.