The philosopher Thomas Hobbes said life outside society would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. He was not, I repeat, not speaking about the life of a major league baseball, although an argument could be made he was thinking outside the box, so to speak.
Research indicates the average life span of a major league baseball is seven, count ’em, seven pitches.
Ninety baseballs are required at the beginning of each game. Between 60 to 70 are utilized. These defenseless balls do indeed get hit, swatted into the ground, banged into the grass, punched against a wall, smashed over a fence, into concrete, wood, metal, you-name-it. They have no shields. They are defenseless, for all intents and purposes.
Odd then that when a fan is fortunate enough to wind up with a ball during a major league game, he or she suddenly is beaming, young or old, quite excited, child like, even ecstatic. The fan might hold the ball high above his or her head, and even accept a warm round of applause for grabbing that pellet, that mashed rawhide round wrapped-up whatever… To later gently secure it in a trophy case at home. Behold… a baseball from a major league game. Even a foul ball takes on larger-than-life meaning.
For the record: There are 108 stitches on a baseball. The first and last are completely hidden. They are sewn by hand, using 88 inches of waxed red thread, per baseball.
Rawlings has had an exclusive contract to supply the major leagues since 1977. The balls evidently are made in Costa Rica, about 2.2 million a year, of which 1.8 million are sold to the majors.
But… just seven pitches?
The ball could change during any given batter… 3 and 2, couple fouls…
There is a rubber or cork center, wrapped in yarn, and covered, “with two strips of white horsehide or cowhide, tightly stitched together” (per the Official Baseball Rules). The circumference is 9.00 to 9.25 inches, and 2.86 to 2.94 in diameter, with a mass from 5.00 to 5.25 ounces. Astonishingly, the yarn or string utilized to wrap the ball can be as much as one mile in length.
But, all that for maybe just seven pitches.
“Don’t blink, you might miss the whole town,” she chuckled, as we sped along the freeway.
Seven pitches on average, and done.
Perhaps the balls retire or ate utilized in some other manner, but not in a major league baseball game.
Takes longer to eat a bag of potato chips.
“Son, you gotta make the most of it, that’s all i can tell you!”, the father-baseball said to his kid who was just about to be thrown into the game.
“Dad, I love you!”, the young ball shouted, as the pitcher rolled him in his right hand, before peering into the catcher, and letting the young ball travel to an unknown destination.