This buying guide helps you to understand how a baseball is put together and how different baseballs have different roles and performances on the diamond.
To me and you, it looks like a regular baseball. But how all of the 108 stitches keep the details together means a lot to the players who catch, throw and hit it. From the exterior cover all the way to the core of the baseball, all serves a different purpose.
The characteristic white surface and red figure-eight stitching makes the baseball as recognizable as it is nowadays. Read all about how the anatomy of a baseball plays an important role in the performances on the field.
When buying a baseball, you’ll have the choice between two different exterior materials, also known as covers. These materials are leather and synthetic. The majority of the baseball players go for the leather cover. The reason behind this is that the leather has a secure-grip, proves its durability and lasts long. The last advantage is that it has consistent play.
Synthetic covers are often made of vinyl. This means that it can resist dirt and maintain the classic white color. They are also better for the wallet since these are cheaper than the full-hide leather baseballs. The synthetic covered baseballs are often used for training, the leather cover baseballs are used in games.
Stitching of the baseball
We are moving on to the stitching of the baseball. All 108 stitches are compatible with the baseball’s profile. There are three options available when it comes to the stitching, these options are:
Let’s start with the raised stitching, this is called a raised-seam baseball. This means that the stitching is located a bit higher than the surface of the baseball. This means that the air catches the seams easier which makes it a baseball which is easier to control. This type of baseball is often used for casual play or instructions during training. Beginning players also often use these raised-seams baseballs as it benefits there feel on the ball. An example of a raised seam baseball is the Benson LGB1 9 Inch, which is the Official DBV Baseball for the year 2022.
Now the rolled seam baseball. The stitching of this type is less elevated than the raised type. For this reason, the rolled seam baseball is less air resistant but still has the comfortable grip. This type of baseball is used in a lot of competition-levels. Think about the Little League, high school and professional baseball.
Last but not least we have the flat seam. The name says it all in this case as the stitching lies flat on the surface of the baseball. This makes it more difficult to have a decent grip on the ball as well as controlling it. These flat-seamed baseballs are perfect for using with pitching machines. The flat seam makes it that the ball has less interference for a clear trajectory.
The inside of a baseball
The most important thing of a baseball is the inside. Just below the cover is what gives the ball its worth and bounce. This is due to the connection between the windings and the core of the baseball.
The core of the baseball, also known as the heart, is often made out of rubber, cork or a mix of these two materials. Different baseballs have different cores, which results in a difference in density between baseballs. These densities have been applied to different leagues to make them more suitable for that specific league. To which league they have been applied can be found on the stamp on the cover of the baseball.
Around the core there are thick layers of wool yarn or a wool blend. This has a high compression function to keep it all together and it extends the lifespan of the baseball.
Next to this extra lifespan, the wool windings can also affect the circumference of the baseball. The baseballs that are recommended for competitive play are always between 9 and 9 ¼ inches in circumference. The usual weight of a baseball is between 5 and 5.25 ounces, which comes down to about 143 grams.
Reduced injury factor (R.I.F.)
With younger players who are learning the game should always go with the prime concern, safety first. These R.I.F. baseballs have been offered by manufacturers to help soften the structure of a baseball and help the young players to overcome their fear of being hit by a ball. These special ball have a polyurethane core which is softer than rubber or cork. These balls come in the official weights and reduced weights for the little ones. They also act and perform like regular baseballs.
Understanding how a baseball works and looks from the inside gives you an advantage from the start of the season.