How To Get A Ball At Arm & Hammer Park

The How To Get A Ball At Arm & Hammer Park
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Stand behind outfield fence during BP
  • Wide concourses are good for foul balls
During batting practice, hang out behind the outfield fence for a shot at getting a ball.

The ability to stand behind the outfield fence and shag batting practice home runs before the park opens is common at smaller parks, but not as prevalent in the Double-A ranks. Fortunately, Trenton’s Arm & Hammer Park is a great place to visit if you hope to get a ball in this fashion during BP. The stadium’s parking lot is open all day, so you can get to Waterfront Park as early as you’d like. Batting practice usually begins between 4 and 4:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game, so getting to the park a few hours early is a good idea.

Once you park, grab your glove and head toward the outfield fence. Depending on when you arrive, batting practice may or may not be underway. (Remember that on rainy days, BP is usually cancelled.) Often, you’ll be able to tell whether BP is underway by the sound of bats cracking, but if you’re not sure, walk along the path adjacent to the Delaware River until you see a spot in the fence that you can peek through to see the field.

After batting practice begins, position yourself well back from the fence and keep your eyes moving to detect any balls that leave the park. The area beyond the left field fence is usually more popular among ball collectors, simply because there’s more space for balls to land and be retrieved. The right field area is all right, but given the river’s close proximity, many balls will soar over your head and land in the drink. (Plus, there’s a ton of goose droppings in this area, making it more than a little unpleasant underfoot.)

You should be able to get a ball in this manner, but if you’re shut out, or if BP isn’t happening, you might still be able to get one once the gates open. To give yourself the best chance of getting a ball inside Waterfront Park, get to the gates as early as possible. They open an hour before first pitch, so lineup early to be at the front of the line. As soon as you can get in the park, head to the seating bowl and look for any errant balls that landed in the seats during BP. Ushers will pick most of these balls up, but it’s possible to find one on occasion.

Minor Leaguers aren’t supposed to give balls away to fans, and while some guys will occasionally break this rule, don’t count on getting one in this manner. Instead, position yourself correctly during the game to improve your chances. Standing anywhere along the cross-aisle allows you to get to many pop-up fouls quickly, and you can also try the open portions at each end of the concourse to try for a foul ball. As always, if you see a relatively empty seating section, moving there means you’ll have a good shot of getting a foul if it’s hit to that section.