Mar 24, 2014, 1:54 PM EST
When you think of going to baseball games, baseball caps and Cracker Jacks are a couple of things that come to mind. Another thing that comes to mind that all baseball fans dream of happening to them is catching a foul ball. The pure excitement of getting a piece of “America’s Pastime” would be enough for most fans. However, Notre Dame baseball kicks it up a notch when it comes to foul balls.
The baseball team knows they do not get the fan following like other Fighting Irish athletic squads such as Football and Hockey. In order to not only increase ticket sales, but also the number of students in attendance as well, Notre Dame has a unique promotion that you would be hard pressed to find at any other baseball stadium.
The promotion requires all fans to just follow these two simple steps:
1) Get a foul ball
2) Return it to the usher located on the third base side
After you do that, the usher, who like a magician, pulls out an enormous stack of McDonald’s five dollar gift cards bound together by a rubber band and gives you one.
I know what you are thinking: “Five dollars?” “That is the big promotion?”
Yet think of how many foul balls there are in any particular baseball game. On average there are about 35-40 foul balls in one baseball game. If all returned, that means Notre Dame Baseball is doling out $175 to $200 each home game in McDonald’s gift cards.
Last season, students, including myself, took advantage of that. As a student, with little to no money in your bank account, you are trying to find any way to get a free meal here and there. Notre Dame baseball is the way to get a free FEAST. It sometimes gets competitive trying to flag down those foul balls, especially if you are in a large group of students. Needless to say, wear your running shoes if you are coming out to the ballpark and are looking to making some cash … McDonald’s cash that is.
Any tricksters out there who are just trying to bring a bunch of regular baseballs to the game in exchange for a gift card better think again. The usher in possession of the “sacred” gift cards needs to see that the ball has the conference logo on it (last year: Big East; this year: ACC). Trust me, I tried that last season and was turned away unfortunately.
This season Notre Dame baseball will have to play some, if not all, of their home games at locations other than Frank Eck Stadium; like the Cove in downtown South Bend because of the new turf that still needs to be put in. Hopefully, the tradition of exchanging foul balls for McDonald’s gift cards will continue no matter what stadium the Irish are playing in.
If you are still skeptical about this, look at how many gift cards my roommate got last season in the 19-inning loss against South Florida on May 3rd (see left).
Students need a break from their studies late at night and are in dire need of some energy food. Notre Dame Baseball is helping them out one foul ball at a time.
A baseball: $9
McDonald’s gift cards at Frank Eck Stadium: $5
Forty dollars to spend at a fast food joint as a college student: PRICELESS!!!
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