Q&A: Nine innings equals a lot of baseballs

Wow, that's a lot of baseballs

In a nine-inning baseball game, about how many baseballs do the teams go through? And who pays for them?

Baseball teams can go through more than 100 baseballs in a 9-inning game, according to the guys in charge of equipment for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The average lifespan of a ball isn't much — usually no more than about 6 pitches. If it hasn't been fouled off and become a souvenir by then, it has usually gotten scuffed or dirtied and is discarded by the umpires.

Baseballs aren't cheap, either. The home team supplies the balls for each game. The Rays pay about $74 for a dozen balls, so if they use nine dozen per game that's $666. Each team plays 81 home games, so that's $53,946 for just the regular season.

Tradition rules Yanks' backs

I have observed that the New York Yankees do not have the names of the players on the backs of their uniforms. Why?

In a word, tradition. The Yankees, since 1915, have worn pinstripes with the NY logo. Since 1929 they have worn numbers regularly on uniforms. They have never had players' names on the back of the jerseys. And they have no intention of changing.

Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra, in his book with Dave Kaplan, You Can Observe A Lot By Watching: What I've Learned About Teamwork From the Yankees and Life, had this to say about that team tradition:

"Uniforms are more than a fashion statement. They're a team's identity. It's like what Jerry Seinfeld said about fans: They don't really root for players, they root for a team's laundry. I still like that the Yankees still don't put players' names on their backs. The team's identity is more important."

We've been four-stormed before

Last week we had four named storms at the same time. Has that ever happened before?

Dr. Jeff Masters, a renowned hurricane expert for the Web site www.weatherunderground.com, says yes, a couple of times. According to a recent item in his blog, he says:

"With four named storms going at once — Gustav, Hanna, Ike and Josephine — the tropics are exceptionally active . . . The last time there were four named systems present on the same day was on Aug. 24, 1999, when Bret, Cindy, Dennis and Emily were all active in the Atlantic. Four hurricanes have occurred simultaneously on two occasions. The first occasion was Aug. 22, 1893. The second time was on Sept. 25-27, 1998, when Georges, Ivan, Jeanne and Karl were all hurricanes.

"There have been five named storms at once — this occurred in 1971, from Sept. 10 to 12." Those storms were Edith, Fern, Ginger, Heidi and Irene.

Q&A: Nine innings equals a lot of baseballs 09/07/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 3:59pm]

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