Have you ever watched baseball and thought about how many baseballs are used in an MLB game?
To answer your question, the average number of baseballs used per MLB game ranges from 100 to 144.
It sure sounds like a lot, but when you consider all the balls used in warm-ups, innings, home runs, and foul balls, you would indeed see more than a hundred balls used per game.
The Baseballs Used Per MLB Game
A huge number of premium-quality baseballs are put in a major league game. To elaborate, in a 9-inning game, players will go through an average of 120 baseballs. If we stick with this count, we can compute that around 291,600 baseballs are used in a season.
Not all games are the same, and some may use more or less than the usual amount of balls. The average amount of baseballs in a single MLB game may skyrocket up to 144 if there is a need for extra innings.
In a world series game, the balls used for practice and warm-ups are included in their stash of prepared balls. This makes the average 120 balls more realistic. Remember that players are only playing with the fresh and unused ball every time!
The average balls used in MLB game is obviously a lot more than those from other types of tournaments. For example, expect that only 60 to 65 balls are used in a college game. This is roughly half how much they use in a regular MLB game.
Reason for Using So Many Baseballs
1. Foul balls and home runs don’t re-enter the field
You may have observed some lucky fans in MLB games who manage to catch foul balls and home runs. Having these baseballs as souvenirs for watching big games is quite common, and game officials have nothing against it.
A foul ball and home run leave the field of play. And these are not thrown back into the game for use in the next inning. So the only way to keep the game going is to throw in a new baseball.
2. Worn out balls may impact the players’ performance
However, this is not the only reason why so many baseballs are used per game. Some factors depend on the ball’s condition and the decision of umpires and players.
Umpires can ask for a baseball to be replaced if they find that a ball is too scuffed or ragged. Whenever they deem that a ball is not fit for play anymore, they would discard it and throw in a new one—this usually happens when the ball hits the ground and attracts too much dirt.
Furthermore, players can also do the same thing. Pitchers and catchers can toss aside a worn-out ball and ask for a new one. Usually, umpires do not go against the players’ call for a new ball and simply get a new one into play.
With professional players, it is very easy to scuff the baseball’s surface. The massive force from a hitter’s swing can deform the ball, making it hard to grab for pitchers and catchers.
Even if game officials and players often change the baseballs used throughout the game, we cannot say that they are using low-quality balls. In fact, the only supplier of baseball to the Major League is the Rawlings—an American brand known for their top-tier products.
How Baseballs Are Prepared
The new baseballs purchased from the MLB’s supplier Rawlings come in shiny and smooth. As pretty as they look, this poses trouble for players, especially the pitchers, as glossy surfaces are very difficult to grip effectively.
In the past, players would rub baseballs with various substances to resolve this issue. Some notable examples include pine tar, shoe polish, spit, tobacco juice, and a combination of water and dirt.
Unfortunately, these can cause further ball degradation as they are more susceptible to scuff marks. Now, the standard procedure is rubbing the balls with mud before the game begins. These provide a better grip by stripping away the sheen without damaging the balls.
Can you imagine how many baseballs do they go through in a game? The MLB employees have to prepare up to 144 balls per game! After prepping them, the employees place them in bags or buckets for the big games.
Frequently Asked Question
How much does the MLB pay for the baseballs they use?
The MLB used baseballs made by Rawlings. These are high-quality leather used in each ball. However, they are not as expensive as you expect—each ball is $7 to $10.
The average MLB game means that the budget for balls is around $840 to $1,440. Per season, the cost can be an accumulated $10,000,000.
Do the MLB reuse baseballs that hit the dirt?
When baseballs hit the dirt, they do not make their way back into the game. These would be replaced by a new and fresh baseball.
How often does the MLB replace a baseball per game?
Umpires and players can throw out a ball for replacement. On average, the baseballs need to be changed after three to seven pitches. This can depend on what happened to the ball in play, and how scuffed it is from all the pitching and hitting.
What happens to the used baseballs?
Usually, discarded balls will be used for batting practices or in the minor leagues.
Moreover, some discarded balls will be authenticated and will be up for sale as memorabilia for fans. Auctions are also common for collected used baseballs.
How much does a baseball cost?
A baseball can cost you around $6 – $10. Of course, this can vary depending on your region, the brand purchased, and shipping charges.
How many balls do they use in a MLB game? Experts say that around 100 to 144 balls are used.
It is indeed interesting to know how many baseballs are used in an MLB game and the reasoning behind such an astonishing number. Given how these balls are all manually prepared, you can only imagine how much effort goes into organizing a baseball game.
The next time you watch a game, you can try to keep an eye out for how many baseballs they toss in!
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.