What Are The Odds?

MLB Foul Ball Catch – What Are The Odds?

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It’s every baseball fan’s dream to go along to a Major League Baseball game in the States and an even bigger one to catch that elusive foul ball that finds the seats.

The game is steeped in history – it’s the oldest pro sport league in all of America – and there is also a sense of wonder surrounding the coveted crowd catch.

With 30 teams contesting 162 games each in the regular season alone, there are literally thousands of home run and foul balls that get over the backstop into the reach of spectators.

So if you do travel to ‘The Land of Opportunity’ and get yourself along to a MLB game, what are the odds of catching a ball up in the stands?

Games Played

Each year there are 162 games in a Major League Baseball season for each of the 30 teams so 2,430 games (plus a postseason) in total.

Foul Balls Hit

On average there are 30 foul balls hit per MLB game and 1 home run.

That number times the games played per season equals 72,900 foul balls each season and 2,430 home runs.

In total that’s 75,330 home and foul balls combined.

Of course not all of those will reach the seats.

On Average there are 72,900 foul balls each MLB season

Crowd Attendance

How many spectators attend a MLB game also affects the odds of catching a ball. The more people there are in the crowd the longer the odds are you’ll be the lucky one!

During a season there is an average of 30,000 fans at each game.

So 30,000 fans and 30 foul balls (on average) gives you a 1 in 1,000 chance of a catch right?

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Hot Zones

Where you sit in a stadium influences the odds of you catching a foul or home run ball.

There are certain “hot zones” that are considered the best foul ball catching seats.

Sit in these seats and you increase your odds of catching a ball and enjoying the treasured souvenir.

Hot zones vary stadium to stadium and there are even apps available to show you where to park your behind to increase your chances of snagging a foul ball.

Avoid the upper decks and hit the front row or lower level to boost your foul ball odds.

On average 17,000 of the 30,000 seats filled are in this lower level section.

So if you are one of those 17,000 attempting to catch one of the 30 foul balls your odds become 1 in 566

If you sit in the lower level seats (17,000 on average) you have a 1 in 566 chance of catching a foul ball (should you sit still!)

Movement Matters

Of course you don’t just sit still in your allocated seat when you see that elusive ball flying towards you! Any fan would move, reach, stretch over and cover at least 5 seats in an attempt to catch.

So 17,000 lower level seats divided by 5 equals 3,400.

That divided by the average 30 foul balls per game gives you odds of 1 in 113!

Cover 5 seats in the lower section and your foul ball odds are down to 1 in 113!

Trust us, not everyone is capable of an effortless foul ball catch like the guy below.

Wrap Up

  • If you sit in a random seat at an average 30,000 game attendance with an average 30 foul balls hit your odds are 1:100
  • If you sit in the lower seats at an average 17,000 attendance in this section and remain still your odds are 1:566
  • If you sit in the lower section and cover 5 seats with your reach your odds are 1:113

Not bad, not bad at all!