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Baseball has long been a sport enjoyed by thousands of fans worldwide. This is made even more exciting for fans like me that would often attend games at a stadium as you may have the chance to catch a homerun baseball or a foul ball.
But have you ever wondered how long does a baseball ball last? Well, the answer is that every baseball regularly lasts between 7 to 8 pitches. That boils down to a week of play, including pitching and batting practices.
Made of leather, cork, and rubber, baseballs are at the risk of breaking at its seams when it is faced with hard hits from the hitter. According to the Major League Baseball rule book, however, the ball will still be considered in play until the play is completed even if this happens.
As such, it’s not rare to see pitchers demanding a new baseball after several pitches to avoid playing with a broken ball. This results in the use of 7 to 10 dozen baseballs in Major League Baseball games – a phenomenon that isn’t unheard of in the baseball community.
Once a baseball has been used on the field, it’s hardly reused for the next game. Instead, baseball teams may choose to give these used baseballs away to collectors or keep them for practice rounds. In some cases, baseballs may also be kept by teams if a momentous occasion has been recorded.
Subsequently, the lifespan of a baseball ball is also based off how it is made. Today, most baseballs are made following the Major League Baseball’s rule book and have been unchanged since 1955.
Understanding the lifespan of a baseball ball
To better understand the lifespan of a baseball ball, let’s look at its construct from the inside. Traditionally, baseballs have a core made of cork and rubber or materials of the same structure. This is also known as the pill and must meet certain weight and diameter measurements.
The core is then protected by two layers of rubber before being covered by a wool yarn. This ball is then further covered by a single layer of polyester-cotton blend by special machines to ensure that the ball stays round, and the construct is taut.
Finally, each baseball will go through a process of hand stitching to attach an aniline-tanned leather on them. On overage, every baseball must weigh between 142 and 149 g and have a circumference of 23 cm to adhere to the Major League Baseball rule book.
In other words, ensuring the proper construction of a baseball can significantly affect the lifespan of a baseball and the results of a game. This is due to the hard hits the baseball must endure during a game, as well as during pitch practices.
How to clean and care for a baseball ball?
So, what if you wanted to keep your baseball in tip-top shape? To help make your baseball last longer, you’ll want to ensure proper cleaning steps for your ball. Here are some simple steps you can take to care of your baseball.
Clean your baseball with a regular eraser
Erasers made of rubber, vinyl, or art gum are ideally used if you want to remove simple stains such as scuffs or grass stains. Be sure never to use a colored eraser to avoid further staining your baseball and only rub away stains when your baseball has fully dried.
Rub away scuffs with a bleach solution
To rub away scuffs with a bleach solution, you’ll first have to dilute your bleach with some warm water and dish soap. Using a cotton swab dipped in the solution, wipe over the stains you want to remove. This also removes ink, so be careful if you’re cleaning an autographed baseball.
Use a baseball cleaning machine
If you have a large number of baseballs to clean frequently, you may consider buying a baseball cleaning machine such as the Oyster M30 Baseball Cleaning Machine (See Amazon). This will help save you time in the long run and keep your baseball clean for every pitch.
Do baseballs get reused after a Major League Baseball game?
This is a common question that many fans have after watching an MLB game. Unfortunately, the baseballs you see on the field are never reused in a game. Often, teams will choose to give the baseballs away or place them in a collection bin for pitch practice instead.
How many baseballs are used for each game?
On average, every game utilizes between 8 to 10 dozen balls. This is according to an MLB equipment manager as baseballs are never reused for different games. Of course, this number will vary according to the gameplay, but each baseball regularly only lasts for about 2 pitches in every game.
Why are baseballs that hit the dirt thrown out?
Baseballs that hit the dirt often provide an advantage to the pitcher. As a result, umpires would usually replace these baseballs to keep the gameplay fair for all. Keep in mind that this marks the end of that baseball’s lifespan as baseballs are never reused for major games.