America’s pastime is back, and we’ve got the sweetest (nonsuite) spots from which to catch a game.Nobody’s asking you to give up the peanuts and Cracker Jack. But the bleacher seat you always choose? That’s a tradition worth bucking.
AT& T Park
Home field for: San Francisco Giants
Spot: McCovey Cove
Price: $0; just supply your own kayak or boat and arrive early to get a spot
A home run ball is rare enough. But if you want the rarest of busted seams, steer a boat or kayak to the China Basin Channel just behind AT&T Park’s right-field wall. You won’t see the game, and your chances of touching leather are pretty slim — just 78 homers have “splashed” there in 11 seasons — but if luck bears out, you could say that you caught a major-league ball with a fishing net.
Spot: Front row
Price: $975–$1,600 per seat
The highest single-seat price in Major League Baseball comes with perks, including unlimited gourmet food service, a private entrance and an entirely unobstructed view of Yankees star Derek Jeter. Just be glad you waited for the price to come down from its 2009 value of $2,650 a pop. For that kind of cash, you’d almost expect Jeter to be the guy delivering your beers.
Spot: RideNow Powersports Pool
Price: $3,500 to $4,000 for up to 35 guests (lifeguard included)
Nobody in his right mind would stray from a pool during the hot Phoenix summers, and fans at Chase Field are no exception. This outdoor area in right-center field is set relatively low, which means swimmers can watch the game — with a heckuva view — without toweling off. Consequently, you might want to wear a helmet while you wade: A few dozen fly balls have cannonballed there.
Spot: The Red Seat
You can’t miss Seat 21 in section 42, row 37: It’s the only red seat in the outfield, painted to commemorate the longest home run ever hit in the park — a 502-footer by Ted Williams in 1946. To commemorate Williams’ passing 56 years later, the Red Sox stopped selling tickets for the seat for the rest of the 2002 season. Now fans flock to have their photo snapped in the historic spot.
Spot: Centerfield Office Building
Price: Normal office space rental, extra fees for watching from the balcony during playoff games
We imagine the executives lucky enough to snag outfield office space at the Rangers’ park often have some explaining to do at home. “Sorry, honey, I have to work late tonight. What’s that? No, you didn’t hear my co-workers cheering in the conference room — the one complete with televisions, comfortable seating, catering and a perfect view of tonight’s game. That was the, uh, fax machine.”
Spot: The “Uecker Seats”
Talk about getting what you pay for. A full section at Miller Park is obstructed by massive support beams, yet the $1 seats sell out every year. The namesake explains why: Brewers announcer Bob Uecker got laughs in an ’80s TV ad for sitting in a much better seat than his ticket indicated, and Uecker Seat ticket holders tend to follow suit.