Growing up, many of us kept the baseball for years and used it until it was totally spent. But many baseballs live a much shorter life than the ones we used for years on end.
During the course of a baseball game, the number of balls they actually go through may be a lot more than you initially expected. We all know that every once in a while, someone hits a home run into the stands to a lucky fan, or even out of the park if they really slugged it. In reality, this isn't the only reason for a baseball to be switched out and replaced.
How Many Baseballs Are Made From One Cowhide
An MLB game uses about 96-120 baseballs during the course of a game. About one cowhide is used per 144 balls. So pretty much one cow is killed for every baseball game. This seems like a ridiculous number, but here's how they go through that many baseballs. Before the game even starts, a decent amount of baseballs have already been retired.
162 Games 32 Teams...
4,860 Games Per Season
Over 4,000 cows (sometimes sheep, lamb, dogs, or cats) are killed for baseballs balls alone. We haven't even got into gloves or cleats yet.
On average, a baseball only lasts for 1.5 pitches. The MLB requires balls to be switched out periodically in order to ensure they keep their form and structural integrity, but many pitchers take this to the extreme, requesting a new ball every couple of pitches.
How Many Baseballs Are Used in An Entire Season
The number of baseballs used in an MLB game may seem like a lot, but when you think about the number used by a team over the course of a year, the statistics can be quite staggering. Then thinking about the number of teams in the league and the fact that they are practicing for the majority of the year makes it really set in how many baseballs really get used each year.
It is estimated that Major League Baseball teams use more than 900,000 baseballs each season. This number is even larger if you include balls used in practice, spring training, and the postseason. Rawlings estimates it makes more than 2.4 million baseballs for the MLB each year.
What To Do If You Catch A Foul Ball in Baseball
Every kid (and many adults), when attending a baseball game as a fan, has it in the back of their mind that it would be cool to catch a foul ball or home run. It's a tradition as old as baseball.
The problem comes when a fan catching the ball actually interferes with the game. Because of the way many stadiums are built, fans along the foul line stands are right next to the field, with a usually short wall being all that separates them from the field and the players. This has led to fans repeatedly going after balls that otherwise could have been caught by the player going after the foul ball.
It's rare that a fan interaction would pretty consistently affect the game being played in any sport, but baseball's rules and design make this a recurring problem that has led to the fury of many players, coaches, and fans.
So if you are lucky enough to be at a baseball game and have a ball coming your way, first of all, watch out! Always keep your head on a swivel and be careful when trying to catch a ball flying towards you in the stands. There are a lot of things that can go wrong and cause you or other people harm, so just be careful.
And please, please, please, if there is any doubt that the ball is playable and there is a player anywhere near the vicinity, please do yourself and everyone else a favor and let the ball fall.