ANSWER GUY: WHY CAN BASEBALL FANS KEEP BALLS THAT GO IN THE STANDS, BUT FOOTBALL FANS CAN'T?
Rousing the rabble of assumption to join the melee of incredulity.
Bob Carroll, co-editor, Total Football II: It's simply a matter of size. A captured baseball is easily concealed. Try hiding a football under your T-shirt. Don't tempt me. Dave Kaplan, director, Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center: It's simply a matter of economics. A football costs like $100. A baseball's around $5. But what about the math? What math? This math. Frank Labombarda, statistician, Elias Sports Bureau: According to my estimations, home runs average 2.1 per game and foul balls average 48.8 per game. Of course, all of those don't necessarily go into the seats. Hmmm. Tom Lepperd, director of umpire administration, MLB: Every major league game starts with six dozen brand-new baseballs. I'd estimate that about three dozen end up in the stands. Fair enough. Kevin Mench, outfielder, Texas Rangers: Plus, every time there's a third out at first base, Mark Teixeira gives the ball away. And if we make the last out in the outfield, we give that away, too. So lets see: 42 balls per game (fouls, plus homers, plus giveaways) Mench: I'll go along with that times 2,430 games in a season Mench: Okay equals 102,060 souvenirs, which at about $5 per comes to $510,300 in lost horsehide. Kaplan: So? So how many footballs do they lose a year? Chad Millman, NFL editor, ESPN The Magazine: How should I know? Guess. Twenty-five? Greg Aiello, vice president, public relations, NFL: Sounds about right. And thats roughly $2,500 in lost balls a season. So much for economics. Kaplan: I gotta go. Speaking of money, who's the genius responsible for all those lost baseballs? Claudette Burke, reference librarian, National Baseball Hall of Fame: Reuben Berman. Who's Reuben Berman? He was a fan at a 1921 Giants game at the Polo Grounds who defied convention and refused to return a ball he'd caught. When the ushers came to get it, he tossed it farther into the crowd and was thrown out. He sued MLB for $20,000, but was awarded only $100. But with few exceptions like during World War II, when a rubber shortage forced conservation fans have been allowed to keep balls hit into the seats ever since. Way to go Reuben! Now, about those footballs. Aiello: Our players are allowed to give footballs to fans. If they want to pay a fine. Not necessarily. If they hand the ball to someone in the first few rows, we don't fine them. But unnecessarily throwing or kicking a ball into the stands isn't allowed because it creates the potential for crowd-control problems. Kinda like selling beer? I wouldn't know. How much are the fines, anyway? Its $2,500 for the first offense, $5,000 for the second. And don't the ushers go and get the balls back? We don't ask them to, no. So there's really no point to all this? Is there ever? Ya got me, pal.
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