The Art of the Foul Ball

The Art of the Foul Ball

Here's the story behind the 32 baseball fans who caught a foul ball in the stands during one Tigers vs. Blue Jays game. (Detroit Free Press)

The Detroit Free Press decided to locate and interview each fan who caught a foul ball in the stands during a Tigers game at Comerica Park. On July 22 — a Thursday afternoon game against the Toronto Blue Jays — a crew of 22 dispersed throughout the stadium and charted every foul ball to find out where it went, who ended up with it and the story behind it.

The newspaper staff used two spotters in the outfield seats and two spotters in the press box. Nine student journalism apprentices were dispersed throughout the stadium with four editors. After a foul ball reached the stands, an apprentice tracked down the fan who acquired the ball and recorded the pertinent information, including the section, row and seat. A staff photographer and videographer also were in the stadium interviewing fans. The Tigers were aware of the project and cooperated by informing security and the ushers before the game.

The results: 32 of the game’s 46 foul balls ended up with fans in the stands. Nine were tossed in by players or ball boys, and 23 went straight from the bat. Lucky fan’s ages ranged from 2 to 65. Their residences varied from 24 Michigan cities to as far as New Orleans and Virginia. (Only foul balls were charted. Balls that reached the seats via home run, ground-rule double, end-of-inning toss or any other way were not included in the project.)

All the pre-game preparation and strategizing pays off. Accompanied by a long text story and photo gallery, this colorful video lets us see and hear each triumphant fan’s ball-snagging circumstance. With a spirited voiceover by videojournalist Eric Seals, it captures the fun and spark of a popular slice of major league baseball folklore. A home run!

CHANNEL: Detroit Free Press (freep.com)

Length: 2:50

Videographer and narrator: Eric Seals
Photographers: Julian H. Gonzalez, Kirthmon F. Dozier, Rashaun Rucker
Foul ball spotters: Kyle Taylor, Michael Smith
Student journalist apprentices: Katelyn Abdilla, Ashleigh Artist, Kaitlyn Bimberg, She-Xiang Hall, TaTeona Hughes, Joshua Ja merson, Rokeyta Roberson, Aaron Snyder, Taylor Trammell, LaTasha Wright.

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