Have you ever noticed while watching an MLB game, any pitch that hits the ground, the catcher will automatically hold the ball up for the umpire, who takes the scraped ball while giving the catcher a new baseball, then throws the ball scraped to the home team bench. . Did you ever wonder why?
Pitchers at the Major League level are so talented that any scratch on the ball, no matter how small, through wind resistance, could create more movement on the ball when pitched, giving the pitcher a unfair advantage over the batter.
This seems like a reasonable explanation for throwing hundreds of baseballs, per team, out of the game over the course of a season. Since scraped balls are always thrown into the home team’s dugout, it is safe to assume that the balls are then used by the team in batting practice, as well as infield / outfield drills.
Every now and then, especially after a player hits a home run or other significant hit, television cameras will pan inside the dugout showing the players’ celebratory activities. During these scans of the dugout, it is not unusual to see a police officer or security guard sitting inside the dugout with the players.
Unfortunately, with the state of violence in the world today, it makes perfect sense to have an officer stationed within the dugout to protect players from a rogue fan who may attempt to enter the dugout from the field.
Until yesterday I firmly believed that these self-inferred explanations for the two events were totally true. I mean my explanations are rational and make perfect logical sense, but embarrassingly to me, only partially correct. In fact, if pressed for precision, I’d have to admit, very slightly correct.
So what is the precise explanation for these two issues? Ironically, both are part of the answer. This is wild, let me explain.
He was right about the worn part. Baseballs are considered unusable after hitting the ground, although that raises the question of why not all baseballs are discarded after they are put into play.
Anyway, the baseballs are thrown into the home team’s dugout, but they are not to be used for batting practice or field / field drills, but instead are handed over to the official at the dugout to record, tag, and officially identify the ball. Ironically, the official is on the bench for safety reasons, but he must protect the worn baseballs, not the players.
The officer files a report on each baseball that includes, but is not limited to, the date of the game, the pitch count when the ball was discarded, and who the batter was at that time.
These baseballs are then placed under strict security by MLB and transferred to New York City where they are auctioned. This identical scenario occurs in every major league baseball park, in every game, throughout the season.
They told me that there is a huge demand for these baseballs from fans who attended the game for some important reason, as they proposed in the game, it was announced that the wife was pregnant and whatever, whatever.
It is not every day that I announce to the world that I am wrong, I was actually terribly wrong, about something, but this intrigued me so much that I had to let everyone know.
The only thing worse now is that everyone but me knew this.