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May 12, 2017
Q. If the game of baseball is “all in the ball,” what in the heck are we really saying? Think materials and construction here.
A. The literal tale begins with 450 feet of fine poly/cotton yarn covered in adhesive to hold the inside together; then continues with 159 feet of three-ply white yarn; 135 feet of three-ply gray yarn; and 363 feet of four-ply gray yarn, says Kevin Sylvester in his book “Baseballogy.” That's about 1,107 feet of yarn in one baseball, enough if unraveled to reach almost to the roof of the Empire State Building. For the cover, only number one grade cowhide will do, dyed white. When cut into two figure-8 sections, the cover is hand-stitched with 88 inches of waxed red thread, 108 stitches in all. Interestingly, “before each game, the ball is rubbed down with a particular mud… from some secret location near the Delaware River to make it less shiny and less slick.”
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