Batting Practice Balls
Since the Braves moved to Turner Field, my brother and I have made a habit of getting to games early enough to catch 60-90 minutes of batting practice from the left field seats. We have caught many practice home runs, and occasionally got to play catch with a friendly outfielder until some jerk of a fan ruined the game by keeping the ball. We also almost started a fight with an usher who slammed his shoulder into my brother to steal a ball from him. An usher.
My brother was 13 or 14 at the time.
Between the two of us, we have caught about 20-30 batting practice balls, mostly more than 10 years ago when we went to the games more frequently. But none of those compare to catching a live game ball. That's why these next two dates stick out for me:The Home Run Ball
Date: July 6, 2002
Hitter: Moises Alou, Cubs
Pitcher: Kerry Ligtenberg, Braves
Inning: Top of the 6thhttp://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL200207060.shtml
After the Braves batted in the bottom of the 5th, my brother volunteered to miss the Cubs' turn at bat and go get some snacks. With 1 out in the top of the 6th, Fred Mcriff singled to right-center on a 1-2 pitch from Kerry Ligtenberg. The next batter, Moises Alou, hit the first pitch to section 138 in the left field seats, where I made a juggling catch (thanks to interference from a fan who ran from 20 seats over). I was sitting in my brother's aisle seat while he was gone.The Foul Ball
Date: May 2, 2010
Hitter: Nate McLouth, Braves
Pitcher: Bud Norris, Astros
Inning: Bottom of the 3rdhttp://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL201005020.shtml
After watching the first two innings from the Chophouse, we moved to our seats behind home plate in Section 204. We were supposed to sit in row 15, but the rows in front of us were empty, so I moved us down to row 8. We missed the Astros' turn at bat, and Nate McLouth was just stepping in to lead off the bottom of the 3rd when we got settled. Within seconds, he fouled a ball straight back, about three seats to our right and one row behind us. A fan missed it, and the ball rolled straight to me.