While watching the Major League baseball games you must have seen that the bowlers keep on changing the balls at regular intervals. It is not that the person is not a fan of the ball but it is because of the rule that has been set by the umpire. But have you ever wondered what happens to those used baseballs after they leave the field?
First, let us know why they have to be discarded.
Why does a catcher change baseballs?
Catchers continually change balls due to the guidelines set by the Major League and upheld by the umpires. Once the umpire notices that a ball has dirt on it or has been scuffed, a new ball is brought into the game. This is done to ensure that all hitters are clearly able to see each pitch. This was done after many injury incidents took place.
The fate of used baseballs
It feels like such a waste changing so many baseballs in a single match. So what happens to those used baseballs? Those balls that are once rejected by the umpires can never be reused as they pose a danger to the hitter.
The baseballs that are discarded during a game are transformed into merchandise. Once the baseball comes from the field it goes for authentication. An authenticator sticks a Major League Baseball hologram that is tamper-proof on every ball and the serial number of the ball is registered into a software program. Every serial number is linked to the Gameday app of Major league baseball that keeps track of each and every pitch.
Process of becoming a Merchandise
The home team is the one who is responsible for collecting all the balls that have been discarded and then authenticating them. The batboy has to collect all the rejected or used baseballs and then hand them over to the authenticator. The authenticator is responsible for the baseballs. He is the one who keeps track of all the used baseballs and then documents the events that happened while the ball was on the ground.
Once the authentication process of the used baseballs are done, they are sent forward for packaging and then are labeled with the details related to the used baseball while they were part of the game. Once all of this is done the used baseballs are sent to the shops or are sold online at the MLB shops or sites.
Each used baseball has the date that the ball participated in a game, the pitcher of the ball and the hitter of the ball and also the reason why the ball had to be replaced. These balls are sold at quite good prices. The baseballs that were just thrown away sell the cheapest, then the baseballs that have been fouled off are a little higher than that, next comes the balls that are hit for a single then the ones hit for a double and finally the balls hit for a triple.
The balls that are in good shape and can be used a little more can be used as practice balls. They serve as good pieces to practice with. The players will then not have to use new balls during practice and can save them later for the main game. This way they save money as well as the balls. As it is during the main game the ball has to be changed regularly. So it is better to utilize them than to declare them useless.
Given away to fans
If a player really wants to then he can pass those balls to the fans that have come to cheer them up for a match. This way the fans cherish that baseball and make a memory out of it. This is another way of showing the fans that their support is appreciated and acknowledged. As it is the baseball has been deemed to be useless thus giving it away to a fan is a good idea.
Now you know what fate a used baseball has to suffer. Once it has been declared as not fit for use anymore it is either sent for becoming merchandise, a practice ball, or just given away to a fan.