I buckled and hypocritically shelved my anger at professional sports recently. I wanted to go to the ball park for a change of scenery. So I hopped online and looked high and low for the ever elusive smoking deal on a pair of Giants tickets. The nosebleed seats were 50 bucks a pop. Imagine that? No, retrieve said anger box from the shelf and screw that. I’ll stay home and work in my garden on Sundays, thankyouverymuch…….
I like the game of baseball, however, no matter the bloated circus of pomposity the National Pastime has become. The green of the outfield, the crack of the bat, and all that crap. A sunny day at the park is one of life’s finer pleasures. I did catch a game on the tube this evening. Detroit at Tampa Bay. Miguel Cabrera, the Tiger’s first baseman, has a legitimate shot a a batting triple crown this year. So I sunk into the couch with the idea of checking his progress. And as usual, the overworked minutia of the game stuck a carpet tack in my relaxation. For some reason, the never ending stream of new baseballs being chuffed back to the mound by the umpire like so many dead quail alarmed me.
I read somewhere that official MLB Rawlings baseballs cost three bucks apiece. Some stat somewhere indicated that the baseball in play will only stay that way for 6 pitches on average. I stumbled upon yet another useless stat that indicated the average number of pitches per team for the 2010 season was hovering slightly above 146 per game. Cypher 146 times the two teams playing the game. That’s 292 pitches. Divide that by the alleged six pitch lifespan of your average official MLB Rawlings baseball and you should come up with 48.6 baseballs in play per game.
Long story short and according to MLB.com, 60 to 70 baseballs are on hand for use at a typical regular season game.
How many go home with fans? Count a homer or two during the game, a dozen fouls into the seats, the habit of outfielders tossing third out flys and gloved fouls into the stands, and the careening squibs, loops, fluttering ducks, peeled taters, bloops, ropes, and worm burners fed over the rail by batboys, base coaches, and the gloves protecting exposed bullpens. That might be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 balls a game that leave the park other than in an equipment manager’s possession. So cypher 25 balls at three dollars a piece times 162 games. That’s a potential $12,000.00 worth of baseballs that go home with a lucky fan per season. It’s difficult to wrap my head around 12 grand worth of baseballs. I could fathom 12 grand worth of cattle or perhaps toilet paper, but who needs $12,000.00 in baseballs?
Just more wretched excess on the road to ruin, methinks. It exactly the type of thing that keeps me up late at night.