On average, a new baseball is used every six pitches. Anytime a ball is contacted by the bat or the ground, a new baseball is used. Baseballs can be discarded at the umpire’s discretion, and pitchers are able to request a new baseball anytime they want.
Frequent ball replacements are important for safety reasons. If a ball gets dirty, it’s much harder for players to see than a fresh, bright white ball.
When they aren’t taken home by fans, discarded baseballs are usually saved to be used later in batting practice. Select balls are set aside to be sold to collectors. Some used MLB baseballs are sent to minor league teams to use in their games.
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