Foul Ball Odds in Each Park: A Look Back and Forward

The numbers are in and it’s looking like 2014 season will be more conducive to foul ball grabbing that the 2012 and 2013 seasons were. The reason, as the below graph shows, is because so many parks saw a decrease in attendance.

Team 2013 Rank 2013 2012 Data
RK TEAM

 

 

AVG

 

RANK

ATTENDANCE

 

1 LA Dodgers

46,216

5

41040

5176 (#2+)

2 St. Louis

41,602

6

40272

1330

3 San Francisco

41,584

4

41695

111

4 NY Yankees

40,488

2

43733

(3245)

5 Texas    38,759

3

48114

   (9355) (#1-)
6 Detroit

38,066

9

37387

679

7 LA Angels

37,277

7

37799

-522

8 Philadelphia

37,190

1

44021

(6831) (#3-)

9 Boston

34,979

8

37567

(2588)

10 Colorado

34,491

13

32474

2017

11 Washington

32,745

14

30010

2735 (#3+)

12 Chicago Cubs

32,625

10

35589

(2964)

13 Atlanta

31,465

15

29878

1587

14 Toronto

31,315

23

25921

5394 (#1+)

15 Cincinnati

31,288

16

28978

2310

16 Milwaukee

31,248

11

34955

(3707)

17 Minnesota

30,588

12

34275

(3687)

18 Baltimore

29,105

20

26610

2495

19 Pittsburgh

28,210

22

26148

2062

20 San Diego

26,749

21

26218

531

21 NY Mets

26,695

17

28035

(1340)

22 Arizona

26,355

19

26884

(529)

23 Oakland

22,337

27

20728

1609

24 Chicago White Sox

22,105

24

24271

(2166)

25 Seattle

21,747

26

21258

(489)

26 Kansas City

21,614

25

21748

(134)

27 Houston

20,393

28

19848

545

28 Cleveland

19,661

29

19797

(136)

29 Miami

19,584

18

27400

(7876) (#2-)

30 Tampa Bay

18,645

30

19255

(610)

 

The three parks with the worst odds for snagged a foul ball during a game are: Dodger Stadium (Odds weren’t bad last season, but the Dodgers’ success helped them increase average attendance by 5176 seats/game to beat out the Phillies, 2012s top attendance team, and the odds aren’t good), Busch Stadium (The Cardinals had a modest increase of 1330 seats), AT&T Park (The Giants’ 111 extra seats per game somehow bumped them up form 4th in 2012 to 3rd highest attendance in 2103).My table agrees with the one baseball-reference.com put up a while back, but I’ve focused on the “per game” attendance, since that’s what helps us figure out the odds of catching one during an average game.

Want to snag a foul ball during a game? Despite their success and having the first fan of the season to snag four fouls in one game (a Twins fan did the same thing later in the season, but he didn’t get all the publicity the Cleveland fan did), the Indians’ Progressive Field moved up from 29th last season to 28th. Want to improve your chances in this old park? Sit in the lower levels. Miami’s Marlin’s Park saw a slight dip of nearly 8000 fewer fans per game. They dropped from having the 18th highest attendance to 29th and now offer their fans the second best opportunity to snag a ball. The perennial champion for best park in which to snag a foul ball during a game remains Tropicana Field. The Rays remained the team with the worst attendance in MLB. But there’s “good” news for Rays fans, the odds of catching a foul became even better because the average game attendance dropped 610 seats.

Some things to note about both the above table and the one found at baseball-reference.com is that there was a modest drop in overall attendance per game—though the nearly 809,000 drop in overall attendance is a bit worrisome. My guess is that the economy, increasingly ridiculously high ticket and concession prices (in many venues) and the continued increase (real or perceived) in the length of games is slowly killing off attendance. Regardless, the drop in attendance is good news for fans trying to snag a ball.