How To Get A Ball At Daniel S. Frawley Stadium
How To Get A Ball At Daniel S. Frawley Stadium
by Malcolm MacMillan
- Hang out behind OF fence during BP
- Large bleacher section and cross aisle are best bets for fouls
Show up early for a Wilmington Blue Rocks game at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium, and you’ve got a pretty decent shot at getting a ball during batting practice and before the park’s gates even open. Of course, your odds of success go up depending on different circumstances. Batting practice takes place before almost every evening game, except in the case of inclement weather. Teams rarely take BP before afternoon games. But if you plan to visit Frawley Stadium for an evening game with clear skies, go as early as possible.
Once you park, grab your glove and backpack and head to the area beyond the outfield fence. If you parked in the main lot in front of the stadium, you’ll need to follow the path around the facility until you reach the rear. There’s another parking lot back here, and if you don’t already see a few BP balls laying around, some will almost certainly be heading your way soon. (It’s always good to peek through to the field through a gap in the fence to ensure batting practice is on. And remember to listen for the sound of bats hitting balls.) As the teams hit (BP usually starts around three hours before first pitch), home run balls will leave the yard and find their way to the parking lot. It’s best to stand a fair distance back from the fence and watch for balls coming your way. If there are other fans trying the same tactics, move to a sparsely populated area so you'll face less competition.
A word to the wise – when balls land on the asphalt, they can take crazy skips and bounces, so always keep your glove on and your eyes toward the fence. And because of the asphalt, balls will also carry much farther than you might expect. If you get to the park after players have begun hitting, your search for balls should include virtually the entire parking lot, as a ball can easily roll another 100 or more feet away from the fence. Provided batting practice is taking place, and the competition isn’t too fierce, you should be able to easily come away with a few balls. If you’re fortunate, always consider giving one or more away to a kid once you enter the ballpark.
The gates at Frawley Stadium open an hour before first pitch, and by then, BP will have wrapped up. And even though players won’t be hitting, you might still be able to get a ball. Fouls hit during BP are often picked up by stadium ushers, but some balls can get overlooked. Get into the park as soon as the gates open and run up and down the aisles in the seating bowl, as it’s common to find balls below seats or even nestled in the fold of a seat. In addition to the seats, check other areas that a ball might nestle in, such as up against a garbage can or under a set of stairs.
When the game begins, you’ve got a good shot at getting a game ball if you stay on your toes. Because there are no outfield seats, you won’t be able to catch a home run. But you aren’t exactly sunk just yet. Find a seat as close to either foul pole and in the event that a hard-hit home run bounces off the billboards above the fence and lands back on the field, you can yell and wave for the outfielder to toss it to you.
Frawley Stadium is built so that the front-row seats at field level are positioned high enough above the field that you won’t be able to lean over to snag a rolling foul ball. This shouldn’t discourage you, as there are other ways to get your hands on a game ball. Spend some time during the game in the cross-aisle that runs between the park’s seating levels. Here, you’ll be able to cover the ground quickly and chase down foul pop-ups that head to the stands. Some will likely even land in the cross-aisle, so if you’re quick, you might be able to catch one.
Otherwise, it’s always useful to find a relatively empty section and hope a foul ball comes toward you. The fewer fans seated around you, the more time you’ll have to get out of your seat and chase the ball down. Try the bleachers high above the third base side, as it’s common for foul balls to get hit into this area.
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