Baseball is Back! (but how many baseballs?)
Happy baseball season!
I cannot make clear just how much I’ve missed baseball, and, as disappointing as it is for me, I’m a New York Mets fan.
I missed the boys of summer all winter, and as a 49er fan, the end of football season was a… disappointment.
As I sat on my couch, watching the Mets play the San Diego Padres, I started thinking about something I’ve never thought about before: How much leather is used to make the baseballs for MLB?
The official baseball of MLB, and, one would assume, every other baseball made in the world, is built of five products: cork, rubber, wool, cotton, and leather.
See, baseballs have been made pretty much the same way or almost 100 years, with a cork center, covered in rubber, called the “pill.” The pill is then wound with almost a quarter-mile of yarn, most of it wool. The whole shebang is then covered in cowhide, hand stitched with cotton thread.
Notice how two of the five parts, maybe the most used and most important parts, are animal products?
I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why?”
After doing a little bit of research, I found that each home team must have 90 balls on hand for the game. That number doesn’t include batting practice, spring training, the playoffs, or minor league baseball.
If you assume 90 baseballs per game, and there are 162 games, with 16 home teams each game, that means there are 233,280 baseballs produced exclusively for playing regular season Major League Baseball.
Holy Crap!! 233 thousand baseballs!?!
I know that there is demand for professional sports, but wow. . . I mean, just wow. . .
Those 233 thousand baseballs doesn’t even include a single ball for Spring Training, batting and/or fielding practice, Minor League Baseball, college and high school athletics, or club, travel, and Little League teams.
How many cows are killed and sheep are abused because of baseball each year?
And while baseball is by far my favorite sport, there’s a reason that a football is called “the ol’ pigskin.” It was originally a pig’s bladder that was inflated, but now it’s cow’s leather over a rubber interior. Even still. . .
So, because of this, I’ve written to MLB and asked them to start looking at non-animal materials for baseballs. By visiting MLBs Contact Us page, I left the following message:
I am an avid baseball fan and have been for most of my life. I am also a vegan, so I eat no animal products and do not buy items, like clothing or shoes, that contain animal products. I am writing today to discuss the current design of baseballs. I am asking MLB to begin looking at other types of materials for ball assembly. I ask that non-animal products, like cotton yarn and man-made leather, be studied as alternates to the current wool and cow-hide used in making baseballs. Thank you.
So here;s my request, click on over, copy and paste my comments (my category was “Fan Feedback), unless you want to leave your own, and let Major League baseball know that we want them to stop harming animals. Let them know that we love the sport (or if not, act that way) and next comes changing other sports.
I hope you’ll help me by asking MLB to change their habits, or at bare minimum, to start trying to change their habits, even if it takes a long time, and thanks!