Seven Tips for Catching Baseballs at MLB Spring Training Camps from Fan and Guidebook Author Who's Visited All 30 and Has the Balls to Prove It

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Ardent Baseball Fan Charles Piper has visited all 30 Major League Baseball spring training camps in Florida and Arizona, catching foul and fly balls and celebrating the awesome 24 he captured in one day. He shares his how-to’s in a new tour and collector’s guide ‘Fields of Spring: Spring Training's Ultimate Guide to Stadiums, Games, Autographs, Memorabilia and Catching Baseballs,’ which chronicles the full, fun, family experience with 170 new, historic, and nostalgic color photos and gives hundreds of insider tips for getting the most out of a spring training road trip.

When it comes to catching these collectibles, homerun balls and foul balls have the same value.

Charles Piper, author of new tour and collector’s guidebook ‘Fields of Spring: Spring Training's Ultimate Guide to Stadiums, Games, Autographs, Memorabilia and Catching Baseballs,’ knows a thing or two about chasing down and picking up buckets of those collectible orbs. He, often with his family, has visited all 30 training camps in Florida and Arizona, capturing so many fly and foul balls that wall space is short to showcase them all.

His best day was walking away with 24 baseballs! He advises fans to use their catches to get player autographs and even shows how to make display cases for their prized collections.

Each spring training complex has its own rules about access to stadium areas and nearby practice fields where balls are in play. Piper coaches fans to remember that when it comes to catching these collectibles, homerun balls and foul balls have the same value.

Fans of any age can use these seven tips for the best chances to snag baseballs during spring training:

1.    Batting Practice at Practice Fields in February: Just before exhibition game season starts in March, most Major League players can be found at the practice fields, not inside the stadiums. Fans can gather outside the outfield fences for chances to catch balls.

2.    Batting Practice at Practice Fields in March: After exhibition game season starts, Major Leaguers do most of their practice in stadiums, but they still use practice fields for BP. Also, Minor Leaguers use practice fields almost exclusively, and fans will find them at BP before all games.

3.    Outside Stadiums on Game Days: Some training camps allow fans to stand outside the stadium homerun walls where they can wait for balls to fly over. However, trajectories of towering fly balls are hard to judge because the walls prevent sight of batters as they swing.

4.    Inside Stadiums Before Games Start, Tip 1: On game days, fans are often allowed to enter stadiums long before the official start. Usually, there’s time to watch the visiting team do BP since the home team, which always goes first, probably finished earlier. Fans standing outside the homerun fences on the lawn or in their seats get lots of chances to snag one of the many balls hit their way.

5.    Inside Stadiums Before Games Start, Tip 2: During pre-game BP, a cage surrounds the home plate area to prevent foul balls from landing in nearby seats. Savvy fans standing in the first rows far down the left and right field lines can often scoop up rolling balls by leaning over the wall. However, they must remember to never put feet on the playing field or over the wall -- and to watch out for foul balls hit hard down the lines.

6.    During the Games: Of course, fans are allowed to collect any balls hit into the stands during games. However, they should use caution since some are hit wickedly hard. Ball seekers can improve their chances by going down by the first and third baselines, where fewer fans are seated, if their ticket grants access to these areas.

7.    Wearing a Baseball Glove: Fans – even those who can’t catch very well – can increase their chances of snagging a collectible by wearing a baseball glove. Besides, the glove will reduce the likelihood of hurting a hand.

Piper’s final coaching about trying to catch baseballs at spring training camp is to keep safety in mind. “As much as I love them, none are worth getting hurt over,” he cautions.

"Fields of Spring' (ISBN 978-1590951927) is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million and other bookstores.

Visit the Fields of Spring website for a video and more information.

During the last 20 years Charles Piper has visited, often multiple times, each of the 30 Major League Baseball Spring Training stadiums and complexes in both Florida and Arizona. He proudly shares his photos, insights and tips for fans to get the most of Spring Training baseball. He served 30+ years in law enforcement, including 20 as a Federal Agent, and currently owns his own company providing investigative, consulting, and training services. He is also an Army veteran.

TotalRecall Publications Inc. was founded in 1998 by Bruce Moran, a former NASA IT professional who transitioned into computer instruction and educational materials. The company began with the introduction of study guides and Q&A testing software for various computer and financial certification exams and expanded into library and information science textbooks in 2007. Since 2008, the publisher has been developing a fiction product line by debut authors that focuses on mysteries, thrillers, and military action. Additionally, TotalRecall has expanded into general nonfiction and now publishes more than 200 non-fiction and fiction titles, all distributed worldwide through book retailers and wholesalers and via eBook databases such as ebrary, EBSCO, and

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