Three Things You Never Knew About Baseball

By on July 1, 2019
photo Unsplash / Tim Gouw

Major League Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the USA – for many, it’s the national pastime. The top MLB stars command incredibly high salaries, and the money involved in each and every game is as astronomical as the interest from spectators all around the world. Every baseball fan knows the common facts about the sport, but there are some fascinating things that are not so well known. Here are three things you never knew about baseball:

1. A baseball’s lifespan is not a long one

EDDIE MICHELS PHOTO

In the MLB, in fact, a baseball only lasts for between five to seven pitches. On average, there are eight to ten dozen balls used in a single baseball game, and once a baseball is removed from the game it never comes back. They usually get recycled into batting practice balls, or they may make their way down to the minor league system. There are several reasons a baseball may be taken out of play – the most common of which being that the ball has landed in the dirt and failed to pass a basic inspection by the home plate umpire. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, pitchers would continue using a ball that has been in the dirt, so it’s clear that times have changed.

2. Most baseball games last around 3 hours, but the fastest major league game lasted just 51 minutes

photo Unsplash / Age Barros

It happened on September 28, 1919, when the Giants from New York defeated Philadelphia’s Phillies 6-1 in New York. Pitcher Jesse Barnes was the orchestrator of the comprehensive unravelling of his opponents, throwing a complete game in which he struck out two and walked none. On the other side, Phillies pitcher Lee Meadows threw a complete game as well, and went away with the defeat. The popular figure George Kelly made three hits for the New York side and was able to score once. There was actually an even shorter game three years earlier between the Asheville Tourists and the Winston-Salem Twins, but it is not usually considered to be a genuine game. The Twins had a 15:00 train to catch, and the game was scheduled to start at 14:00. The teams agreed to start early, and to play as quickly as possible the batters always swung at the first pitch. The game lasted just 31 minutes, with the Twins winning 2-1.

3. A player’s chances of scoring a home run increase if he connects with the bat’s ‘sweet spot’

Starling Marte Two Run Homer to Left on a 2-1 Pitch (EDDIE MICHELS PHOTO)

A batter hitting a home run can be one of the most thrilling moments of any baseball game. It’s been calculated that there is a point on the bat, between five and seven inches from the barrel end, that increases a player’s chances of scoring a home run. When this point of the bat connects with the ball, there is less vibration in the contact. This is when you hear that satisfying ‘crack’ sound, and you know the contact with the ball is a good one.

Heading out to watch a Major League Baseball game is an exciting experience, and for many non-Americans it can be a unique one. Whether you’re a die-hard fan who never misses your team’s game, or an enthusiastic spectator who is yet to have an opportunity to see a game in person, it’s always good to learn some of the lesser-known facts about the sport. As one of the most popular pastimes in the USA, baseball has a long and proud history – and now you know just a little bit more about it.

NY Yankees Giancarlo Stanton connects during a rehab assignment in Tampa (EDDIE MICHELS PHOTO)
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