Have you ever wondered Why Do Catchers Change Balls? It’s an interesting question. Some rules govern the game of baseball and some are just traditions.
Catchers are frequently changing baseballs because it is a rule established by the MLB and enforced by umpires. The umpire will immediately send a new baseball into play if they notice any scuffing or dirt on the ball. This rule ensures that the batter can see every pitch clearly and that no team has an unfair advantage.
Why Do Catchers Change Balls in Baseball?
There are other reasons why catchers might change baseballs as well. If a catcher is having trouble gripping the ball, they may request a new one from the umpire. Additionally, if a ball becomes wet or dirty during play, the catcher may elect to replace it to maintain the game’s fairness.
Most used baseballs from MLB games are thrown in the barrel for batting practice. A few balls are sold as game-used for fun collectors, and some players can save their milestone hit for remembrance.
The MLB, long ago in 1920 introduced a rule requiring umpires to replace dirty or scuffed balls after unfortunate events have occurred.
The balls were prepared by rubbing mud on the baseballs before, each game so that they have the optimum surface for grip. This was before all the major- and minor-league games.
What Happened that Led to These Rule Changes?
The Cleveland Indians’ Ray Chapman was struck in the head by a Carl Mays pitch. This event happened on August 16, 1920, and Chapman became the only player to die as a direct result of injuries sustained during an MLB game.
The aftermath of Chapman’s death led to many changes in baseball, including the introduction of new balls into games. Now, there is a designated ball boy or girl who will keep track of each baseball used during play and can quickly replace it if necessary.
Even with some minor changes to the rules over time, this tradition has continued through today’s MLB regular season schedule. There are no more mud-rubbed baseballs, but the catcher’s changing of balls is still an important part of the game.
When Are Baseballs Taken Out of Play?
Baseballs can be taken out of play in a few different ways.
- If the pitcher is requesting a new ball.
- The ball is hit out of play.
- Discolored ball.
1. If the pitcher is requesting a new ball.
In this case, the umpire will acknowledge the request and corral a ball boy to bring out a new baseball. The pitcher has up to twenty seconds to throw his pitch, but they are encouraged to do so as soon as possible after receiving the replacement ball.
2. The ball is hit out of play.
When a batted ball is hit out of play, it is simply replaced with another one. The ball is not in play when it goes out of bounds, so the batting team retains their current count.
There are some specific places where a batted ball is considered out of play:
- Foul territory.
- Home plate.
- The first base or third baseline (depending on which side of the field the ball was hit).
Where Do Balls Go When Taken Out of Play?
The balls taken out of play go directly into a ball bag. This is usually the job of the ball boy or girl, who is responsible for supplying baseballs to both teams during the game. They will also collect any balls that go out of play and return them to the ball bag.
This process ensures that each team always has an equal number of playable baseballs, which keeps the game fair. It also prevents anyone team from having an advantage due to a scuffed or dirty ball.
3. Discolored Bat.
If a ball becomes discolored during the game, the catcher can request that it be replaced. This usually happens if a ball gets wet or is stained with tobacco juice. The umpire will replace the ball with another one from the bag.
Do All Teams Change Balls?
Not all teams change baseballs, but it is a common practice. Some teams may only do it if they feel that the current ball is too difficult to grip or has become wet or dirty. Other teams will change out baseballs as a matter of routine.
The best thing to do is check with your team’s coaching staff before the game or season to find out what they recommend you should do during play.
Types of Bats Used in Baseball
Types of balls used in baseball: safety balls, practice baseballs, professional-grade baseballs, high school and college baseballs, reduced injury factor baseballs, and youth tournament baseballs.
Safety Balls – used in Little League to reduce injuries.
Practice Balls – are usually softer and lower grade than high school/college balls but harder than reduced injury factor balls. The seams are flatter which makes them easier to grip for pitchers and batters.
Professional-Grade Baseballs – Major League baseballs are made with a wool yarn blend and cowhide leather. They have been used in games since 1876.
High School/College Baseballs – These balls are also made with a wool yarn blend, but the cover
Reduced Injury Factor Baseballs – are made with a synthetic leather cover, are slightly smaller than professional-grade balls, have raised seams and are very low-grade.
Youth Tournament Baseballs – used in local tournaments for young players under 12 years of age. They are the same size as high school/college baseballs but usually harder to grip.
How Many Balls Are Used During a Baseball Game?
There are 120 balls used in an MLB game. Many people are curious about what happens to the baseballs after catchers return them to the umpire and the umpire throws away that baseball. At all in the MLB, baseballs that have been discarded are not reused.
How Do You Keep Track of All These Balls?
The umpire is responsible for keeping track of all the balls. They will mark each one as it comes out of play and place them into a bag with an identifying number written on it. This ensures that no ball is used twice during a game, which would be unfair to players from both teams.
How Long Do These Balls Last?
The average life of a baseball is about three to five innings. After that point, the ball becomes too scuffed and is difficult to grip. It’s also more likely to get wet or dirty, which could create a safety hazard. That’s why catchers need to return any balls that have gone out of play back to the umpire as quickly as possible.
Do All Baseballs Look the Same?
Although most baseballs are virtually identical, there are several distinctions between them that merit further examination. The most important of these is the type of ball used in a particular league or game.
For instance, high school and college baseballs are made with a wool yarn blend and cowhide leather, while reduced injury factor baseballs have a synthetic leather cover. There are also different sizes and seams among various types of balls.
There are a few different ways to grip a baseball, but the most popular method is the four-seam fastball grip. This grip allows pitchers to throw pitches with more speed and accuracy.
To throw a baseball, you need to grip it with your fingers and thumb. You should hold the ball at the seams so that you can control its movement as you release it. Then, use your arm and shoulder to generate power as you throw the ball towards the plate.
Balls used in MLB games are changed after every three to five innings, and they are always marked by the umpire. The reason for this is to ensure fairness and safety for both teams.