How Many Balls are Used in an Average MLB Baseball Game?

If you have ever been to a baseball game, you already know that there is not going to be many other things that will be able to be more memorable.  With the average price of a baseball game ticket being around $30 for decent seats (which does not include the cost of any food or drinks that you may decide to get), the price that you paid to get into the actual game can easily double, or even triple if you allow it too.  With that being said, what you more than likely do not know is that there are going to be many hidden costs mixed in with how everything is priced out for the game that you are attending.  One of these biggest costs is going to be all of the equipment that the teams playing are going to need, as well as the players and the management.  On top of that, you also have all of the security that the stadium requires to keep everybody safe, as well as the grounds keepers and the most important part of the game, the baseballs.

How Much Does a Baseball Actually Cost?

When it comes to the actual baseballs that are used in a major league game, they are going to cost roughly $9.60 each.  That being said, it is estimated that the total cost of all the baseballs that are used in one single game is going to run the league around $1,000.  To make that money back, the league is going to recoup all of these expenses in the form of food, ticket sales, beverages, and all of the merchandise that is sold through all of the concession stands.

When it comes to the main expense for any baseball team, it is actually going to be the cost of all the baseballs that each team is going to use during a regular game.  What makes this even more crazy is that this does not include any playoff games or even the World Series if the team is lucky enough to make it to that level.  Now that you know how many baseballs are used per game and how much each one costs, multiply that by the fact that each team is going to play at least 162 games every season, meaning that there will be a total number of games (before the playoffs and World Series) 2,430 games in a single season.

Why so Many Baseballs are Needed

According to the average pitches thrown in a baseball game today, there is going to be an average of 150 pitches thrown every single game.  While that sounds like it is a lot, it is predicted that this number is going to be increase every single year for the next several years.  

It was the year of 1988 when pitch count was originally started to be recorded, and in that year the average amount of pitches thrown for a baseball game was 135 balls per game.  Now fast forward 30 years and the pitch count has increased to about 145 pitches for a team through a complete 9-inning game.

At the same time however, a complete 9-inning game is going to take much longer to play than back then, as most players have gotten better at hitting the ball, meaning that an average at bat is going to last a little bit longer than back then.   On top of that, the number of bats that each player is going to get has also increased, meaning that the slugging percentage has also increased.  Which just so you know, an individual’s slugging percentage is going to be calculated by two constants:

  • The total number of bases that they earned from their singles, doubles, triples and amount of home runs
  • Dividing that number by how many times that particular player has been up to bat

In today’s baseball game, it is estimated that there is about 8% more pitches that are thrown, which means that the actual game is going to last roughly 8% longer than it would have back in 1988.

With a typical 9 inning game every single baseball is only going to stay in play for an average of about 6 pitches.  This is because every time a batter ends up hitting a foul ball, that baseball is going to immediately replaced, On top of that, if a batter hits a foul tip or the ball is hit but comes into contact with the infield dirt, that ball is no longer good and will be replaced with a new one.  As if that weren’t enough, every single pitcher that plays in the game is able to requires a brand-new baseball if they decide that the current ball is no good to them.  Now factor that in with the fact that the baseballs used in the game can also be replaced by the umpire if they feel that the ball needs to be replaced and you have the perfect storm of needing a lot of baseballs to get through an actual game.

When it comes to baseball, you are going to need to keep in mind that the actual baseballs are going to be in a constant motion.  They are constantly thrown by the pitcher and the caught by the catcher.  If they are not, that means that the baseball has been put into play from a hit, meaning that it is either going to end up in the infield or the outfield.  Not only does this add to the tally of baseballs that are used in a regular baseball game, but you still haven’t factored in the amount of baseballs that the bullpen is going to use in order to get warmed up to relive the starting pitcher of the game.  

When it comes to an entire baseball game, the amount of baseballs that are actually used is going to vary on a game by game basis.  With that being said, there will be many different baseballs that will be used, simply reinforcing the fact that baseball is always going to require even more baseballs.