As some teams around the Minor League Baseball landscape are showing, batting practice is not just for the players, as it can also be open to the fans. In many cases, teams have allowed fans to take on-field batting practice as part of a pre-season event—something that was very prevalent prior to this season—or through exclusive ticket packages and sponsorships. Within the next few weeks, however, three teams are opening up batting practice to all fans, with some highlighting broader promotional offerings and another being offered as a perk on father’s day.
This coming weekend, the Charleston RiverDogs (Low A; Sally League) will host a fan’s batting practice. For the upcoming entry in Saturdays Live at the Joe, fans can pay $5 and take part in an on-field batting practice session.
The promotion will be divided into age groups, with those 12 and older hitting from home plate, while children 11 and younger will bat from the outfield. Fans will get to swing at one pitch, and any participants who clear the fences will receive two free tickets to a future game. Proceeds from the event will benefit the RiverDogs Youth Baseball Initiatives.
On May 23, the Iowa Cubs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will undertake a similar promotion. At no cost, fans can take five swings per turn as they face Nate Teut, the I-Cubs assistant general manager and vice president. Before becoming a minor league executive, Tuet pitched professionally and was a member of the Florida Marlins in 2002.
The session is scheduled to run from 5:08 to 5:48. Fans are welcome to reenter and take multiple turns. This has been a longstanding tradition at Principal Park, as the Cubs have done it for the last several seasons.
Father’s Day will be all the more memorable at Pohlman Field this season, as the Beloit Snappers (Low A; Midwest League) will host a post-game batting practice session on June 19. To take part in the promotion, fans can pay $10 to see 10 pitches. This will be part of a busy afternoon for on-field events, with the Snappers also planning a post-game kids run the bases and the opportunity to play catch on the field will be open for fans of all ages.
The Snappers have also scheduled a giveaway, with a select number of fans receiving a Brian Dozier bobblehead.
These nights will make for memorable occasions as the ballpark, as the batting practice sessions will allow fans to swing for the fences.
Photo by Justin Walters, courtesy of the Iowa Cubs.
This article first appeared in the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? It’s free, and you’ll see features like this before they appear on the Web. Go here to subscribe to the Ballpark Digest newsletter.