This is a seemingly simple question with a seemingly simple answer. The answer is that around eight to ten dozen balls are used in each Major League Baseball game. But here we will dissect the answer a little more.
Why would a new ball need to come into play in a baseball game?
There are a lot of reasons that a new ball would need to be put into play in a baseball game. Here is a list of some of the most obvious reasons:
- The current ball has been damaged in a way that makes it uncomfortable for the pitcher or any other player.
- The current ball has been hit out of the park or into the crowd as a home run and cannot be retrieved.
- A foul ball will result in a new ball sometimes.
- The simpler option is that a player will just want a new ball.
All of these reasons for a new ball will result in the old ball being thrown away and never used again. This means there are a lot of baseball balls on backlog at aver Major League game so that they are prepared for any eventuality when it comes to needing a new ball.
Surely that is really expensive?
Well, each baseball will cost around $6. So, yes, it is quite expensive to keep that many balls on backlog. Obviously Major League Baseball officials will factor this cost into every game and will have worked out if this is an affordable expense.
To put this price per ball into perspective, if around nine dozen balls are used each game, that is around $648 spent each game just on baseballs. And that’s not even including the shipping price!
How do they afford that every game?
Since baseball is such a popular sport, and Major League Baseball is so well funded, they can afford these throwaway luxuries. They make money in ticket sales, food sales at the stadiums, and even in advertisement.
So, Major League Baseball will never need to worry about blowing all of their budget on throwaway baseballs, not even nine dozen of them. $648, although a lot of money, is nothing to a large organization like MLB.
That’s a lot of baseballs, they must take up a lot of space?
The dimensions of a baseball are around 9 to 9 ¼ inches for circumference. They weigh around 5 to 5 ¼ ounces each. The typical baseball that is used for both American and National League baseball will have 108 double stitches.
A baseball will fit into the palm of your hand, but because they are round, they will take up a lot of space and also create a lot of negative space in storage.
So, not only are they expensive, but the amount needed for backlog ready for each game means that a lot of balls will need to be at the ready.
Where do these balls go?
If you look at the fans of baseball, specifically Major League Baseball, you will probably more than likely come across one that has a signed ball. In fact, most Major League Baseball fans will have a signed baseball, and it will probably be one of their prized possessions.
These balls will have been the discarded balls from the game. They either came from a home run, when the ball was hit into the crowd, or it was thrown into the crowd as soon as it came out of play for the reasons we listed before.
Some of the discarded balls may simply be thrown into the garbage, but at least some of them go to the homes of the fans of baseball.
However, since the nature of Major League Baseball allows for such a throwaway mentality when it comes to the baseballs, there will always be an influx of disposed of baseballs. Not all of them will go to fans in the crowd.
The average number of baseballs used in an MLB game is anywhere between eight and ten dozen, so between 96 and 120. That is a lot of baseballs! Because of this, there has to be a huge backlog of balls in storage waiting to be played. A ball can come out of play for a number of reasons: a foul, a homerun, or even that it is damaged.
The cost of each ball is $6, meaning that the cost of a single Major League Baseball game in terms of the number of balls used is around $650, not including shipping.
This is expensive without context, but when you factor in the amount of money that Major League Baseball brings in through ticket sales and advertisement, this is basically small change.