Where to Sit to Catch a $100,000 Baseball

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    When Alex Rodriguez hit his 500th home run, the ball sold for just over $100,000 at auction. The guy who caught it, Walter Kowalczyk, just happened to be in the right seat at the right time. With stakes that high, it's no wonder that a couple of websites a trying to predict where that seat will be for future home run milestones.

    HitTracker

    analyzes the trajectory of every home run hit in the major leagues. Taking that data, the site can predict with a decent amount of accuracy which section and seat of the stadium you should be sitting in if you want a shot at catching a home run by a star player.

    Once you know where to be, SeatGeek predicts how much your ticket will cost. The site crawls "secondary" market sites for tickets (like StubHub and others) to forecast the best times to buy. With that data, it can figure out your potential ROI (return on investment) if you catch the hallowed ball.

    For A-Rod's 600th home run, which he hit last week, ground zero was supposedly Section 135, Row 18, Seat 6 of Yankee Stadium. If the ball had actually landed there, and it had sold for the expected $100,000, the ROI would have been 227%, according to SeatGeek (that sounds low to me, but the site explains its methodology here).

    It's an awesome idea — except that it didn't actually work. A-Rod's 600th went into the netting and was retrieved by a security guard (check it out in the video below). No auction this time.

    But when Jim Thome of the Minnesota Twins closes in on the 600 mark next season, you can count on a whole new set of predictions. Better start saving for that ticket now.

    Via SeatGeek Blog