Reds to host 'Swing For Your Seats' event

Fans will have chance to hit HR at Great American Ball Park for free season tickets

CINCINNATI -- The second half has provided some optimism for the rebuilding Reds -- their record since the All-Star break is third-best in the Majors, and second to the Cubs in the National League.

For those fans confident that the trend might carry into next season and are looking to buy a season ticket package, the Reds are providing a rare opportunity.

On Oct. 8, the Reds will host their inaugural "Swing For Your Seats" event. Anyone who renews their season tickets or purchases new season tickets will have the opportunity to take three swings at Great American Ball Park -- if they hit a home run, they'll get their season tickets for free up to $10,000 worth.

"We benchmarked some other teams that have done it, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers have all done it successfully," said Reds senior director of ticket sales and service Mark Schueler. "We're really hoping, I think for the fun of it, that someone does come here and, you know, we're 'Great American Small Park' is the nickname, so hopefully someone can come."

The idea to do it came about as Schueler and his staff researched ways they could expand their incentives to season ticket holders. When they came across the story about Byron Anderson, a Rangers fan who won four season tickets before this season, the Reds' front office reached out to the Rangers and started formulating their own plan.

Like the Rangers' program, participants have to place a 25-percent down payment on their season ticket plan. Eligible plans include 20-game, half-season, and full-season packages.

"It's a big commitment to throw a deposit down. If it is someone with a $10,000 package and they hit one out, they deserve it," Schueler said. "It's an experience coming down and we're ready for that. We're actually anticipating that it will happen. We're excited about it."

The deadline to put a deposit down is Sept. 30. The idea was to give current season ticket holders an opportunity by waiting to set a deadline a few weeks after renewals were sent out. Although the renewals have only been out for about a week, Schueler said that he's gotten a lot of interest.

"A lot of people are just kind of excited and asking a lot of questions," Schueler said. "A lot of buzz around, people are starting to say, 'Hey, I think I'm going to take the hits' or 'I'm going to have my son come out and do it,' or a lot of buzz that way. So, so far, really good, and the local media has picked it up and they're all about it, too, and they're really excited about it."

The pitches will be delivered by a pitching machine and will range somewhere between 45 and 65 mph, Schueler envisions, with the main goal being to set the machine up to deliver consistent strikes over the heart of the plate. For more information, fans can visit reds.com/swing.

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.