In another thread, I mentioned that I catch a lot of foul balls at the K. I believe this to be due to the fact that my seat at the ballpark happens to be in a high-percentage location for foul balls. I defined that location as:
Upstairs, anywhere in the first ten rows or so and also within 3 or 4 sections of the new "cutaway" they made behind the plate (i.e. the media booth). These are sections 414-416 (for LHB) and 424-426 (for RHB).
I should mention that I am aware of this phenomenon only because I happened to have had season tickets in those neighborhoods (i.e. I'm not some freak who only goes to ballgames for foul balls, but it's hard not to notice when they keep coming at you). Nonetheless, I have spent some time sitting there thinking about why so many foul balls land in my vicinity, and believe the reason is something like this:
When the pitcher gets ahead of the batter, he'll start throwing marginal stuff, and most batters tend to go into "defensive swing" mode. For obvious reasons, this leads to a large number of foul balls. If you were interested in foul balls, this is the situation you would want to consider. In other words, this is the "foul ball sweet spot" in any given inning.
Also for obvious reasons, a fastball on (or just off) the outside corner of the plate is a high-percentage pitch in this situation. A batter in defensive mode will tend to swing at that questionable pitch and will also tend to make late contact if he hits it.
The three most common outcomes of the above-described sequence of events are as follows:
1 - If the pitch has significant sinking action, you can get a ball fouled down... no souvenir for anyone.
2 - If the batter manages to square up on the pitch while making late contact, he'll foul the ball somewhere down the opposite field line, giving a souvenir to someone sitting anywhere in the area stretching from right behind the dugout all the way over to the foul pole... so, you wind up with souvenirs distributed among a large number of people.
3 - If, however, the pitch is a four-seamer and the batter doesn't square it up, you get a high number of balls fouled back either into the screen (no souvenir for anyone) or just over the screen on the "opposite field" side of the batter. That outcome expains the bag full of balls I have at home, because those fouls wind up going to the same place: the front part of the upper level, but no further "out" than the dugout... so, you wind up with souvenirs that are distributed among a much smaller number of people.
I attend roughly 60-65 games per year and, sitting in the middle of the area described above, I wind up with about 6-7 foul balls in an average year. So, I'd say I'm catching one every tenth games or so.
Full disclosure sidenote: I take a glove to the park and put it on whenever the circumstances warrant.... and in addition to the ones I catch, I have one or two go off the glove every year... since I do have the glove on, I look like a complete tool every time that happens and am duly razzed and/or booed by everyone within range.
Trivia Sidenote: During the 2009 season, Jose Guillen single-handedly doubled the number of foul balls I caught. I suspect that his bat was slow all year long, and he just couldn't catch up to that outside fastball the way the thought he could. If you were sitting in that area is was painfully noticeable--he didn't have that kind of foul-back "production" in 2008 or in 2010.
Anyway, I have obviously thought about this more than is justified, but I'm now curious if anyone else thinks this makes sense. Do you think there's somewhere else in the park that gets more foul balls than those spots on either side of the media booth cutaway? If so, where, and why?