FanPost

How to Get a Ball During Batting Practice

I wrote about my full background in this post from the Angels' SB Nation page, but here's a short summary:

I am a game theorist by trade--I study how to optimally play games when the competition is trying to maximize their performance as well. Catching baseballs during batting practice is such a game. Everyone wants to get a ball, but the way I try to get a ball affects your ability to get a ball and vice versa. I used to struggle to get a ball until I realized batting practice was merely a spacial optimization game. So I sat down one day and tried to mathematically solve that game. Since then, I have managed to at least three balls per event.

I'm posting here because I am moving across country on my way to grad school, making stops at a bunch of baseball parks along the way. Phoenix was last night, and I caught three. Here's the basic idea of my strategy:

In the context of Chase Field, I think the "upper deck" is the right field bleachers. I started out in the left field bleachers, but there were waaaay too many people there. I know the right field bleachers aren't right up against the field like they are in left, but there is so much less competition--for a while, only three people were there actively trying to get a ball. Your odds are a LOT better in right, even if fewer balls go to right field on the whole. (Until everyone reads this and shifts to right field...at which point we might reach that equilibrium I talked about in the video.)

Other than that, can someone tell me why the Diamondbacks are so stingy with batting practice balls? I didn't see a Diamondbacks player throw a ball into the crowd a single time. Given that balls are cheap to produce, encourage fan loyalty for years to come, and incentive people arriving early (and thus buying more overpriced food), why don't they toss more into the stands? I think a grand total of three made it into the stands during the Diamondbacks' part of batting practice, which is extremely low.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join AZ Snake Pit

You must be a member of AZ Snake Pit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at AZ Snake Pit. You should read them.

Join AZ Snake Pit

You must be a member of AZ Snake Pit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at AZ Snake Pit. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker