10 to 12.
That’s how many dozens of baseballs are used in an average 9-inning MLB game. Once a baseball is taken out of play, it simply will not return. It may, however, be demoted to a practice ball or be sent down to the minor league system, where it will have a similar life-expectancy. Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame curve-ball pitcher, Bert Blyleven said, “We used to be fined if we threw a ball in the stands; [baseballs] were like a piece of jewelry. The game has changed.” Nowadays, it is rare for a baseball to be used for an entire at-bat, disqualified by the slightest imperfection. This is a far cry from my Little League baseball experience where snow-cone tickets incentivized the immediate return of a foul ball, without a second thought about the scuffs it received from the concrete walkways or rough red-brick walls of the concession stand.