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  #1  
Old Yesterday, 06:18 PM
Gary Dunaier's Avatar
Gary Dunaier Gary Dunaier is offline
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Default MLB Authentication

Question about MLB authentication of game-used baseballs.

We all know MLB will only authenticate balls that stay on the field.

We also know about Cub fans' tradition of throwing home run balls hit by opposing players back onto the field. This weekend, the Mets have been playing the Cubs at Wrigley, and rookie sensation Pete Alonso has hit a few in the bleachers - all of which, as per tradition, were thrown back.

Today (6/23/19) Alonso hit his 27th home run of the year, which broke the Mets' record for home runs by a rookie (Darryl Strawberry, 1983). This ball, like the others, was thrown back - and as also seems to be a custom, the throwback was shown live on TV.


(Circle and arrow were added by me and are not part of the original video.)

If you remember the recent story of the Tigers' heavy-handed negotiations with the fan who caught Albert Pujols' 2000th RBI ball, the fan was told that "per MLB policy, because the ball was hit into the seats and because of chain-of-custody concerns, it could not be officially authenticated," implying that if he didn't turn over the ball then and there the ball would be worthless (Detroit News, 5/9/19).

In this case, since the ball was immediately thrown back onto the field, and there's video documentation, with supporting graphics (as seen in the screenshot), would it be eligible for official MLB authentication, or did that ship sail regardless?

What's your opinion?
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  #2  
Old Yesterday, 06:26 PM
whitehse whitehse is offline
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As someone who used to work Security in those same bleachers it was not unusual for bleacher fans to bring baseballs with them that they could use to throw back if they were lucky enough to catch a home run ball. Many times they would have funny or vulgar writings on their decoy baseballs which caused many a chuckle by the players who retrieved the balls after they were thrown back.

Frequently the Bums would also use batting practice balls for the bait and switch so honestly, I would think they would not authenticate a thrown back ball even with video evidence as they could not guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt the ball that was thrown back was the one that was hit.
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  #3  
Old Yesterday, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by whitehse View Post
As someone who used to work Security in those same bleachers it was not unusual for bleacher fans to bring baseballs with them that they could use to throw back if they were lucky enough to catch a home run ball. Many times they would have funny or vulgar writings on their decoy baseballs which caused many a chuckle by the players who retrieved the balls after they were thrown back.

Frequently the Bums would also use batting practice balls for the bait and switch so honestly, I would think they would not authenticate a thrown back ball even with video evidence as they could not guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt the ball that was thrown back was the one that was hit.
Not sure what MLB's practice is with respect to authenticating HR balls thrown back, but I have always wondered if some folks throw "decoys", as you called them, onto the field.
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Old Yesterday, 08:02 PM
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OK, just to play Devil's Advocate here:

An opposing player hits a home run into the stands. Video shows the ball being caught by a fan, say, in a baseball glove. The video also clearly shows the fan taking the ball out of the glove, and immediately throwing it back onto the field. It vividly shows that there was no switch of balls.

Does MLB authenticate the ball?

Steve
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  #5  
Old Yesterday, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve D View Post
OK, just to play Devil's Advocate here:

An opposing player hits a home run into the stands. Video shows the ball being caught by a fan, say, in a baseball glove. The video also clearly shows the fan taking the ball out of the glove, and immediately throwing it back onto the field. It vividly shows that there was no switch of balls.

Does MLB authenticate the ball?

Steve
No, they are only supposed to authenticate what they actually witness.
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  #6  
Old Yesterday, 08:18 PM
cubman1941 cubman1941 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve D View Post
OK, just to play Devil's Advocate here:

An opposing player hits a home run into the stands. Video shows the ball being caught by a fan, say, in a baseball glove. The video also clearly shows the fan taking the ball out of the glove, and immediately throwing it back onto the field. It vividly shows that there was no switch of balls.

Does MLB authenticate the ball?

Steve
For whom - the outfielder who picked the ball up?

Jim
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  #7  
Old Yesterday, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim65 View Post
No, they are only supposed to authenticate what they actually witness.

So,does that mean MLB won't authenticate a home run ball that goes into one of the bullpens and is caught/retrieved by a player?

Steve
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  #8  
Old Yesterday, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubman1941 View Post
For whom - the outfielder who picked the ball up?

Jim
Maybe the player who hit it in the first place. Say it's his first major league home run, and he wants it back, and authenticated.

Steve
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T205 Adkins, Donohue, Fisher, Graham (Cubs), A. Leifield, Wilhelm
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  #9  
Old Yesterday, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve D View Post
So,does that mean MLB won't authenticate a home run ball that goes into one of the bullpens and is caught/retrieved by a player?

Steve
Not sure what the exact rules are but there are authenticated HR balls out there, although they are much rarer than other authenticated balls. I think balls that bounce back off facades and foulpoles back onto the field get authenticated.
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  #10  
Old Today, 06:32 AM
cubman1941 cubman1941 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve D View Post
Maybe the player who hit it in the first place. Say it's his first major league home run, and he wants it back, and authenticated.

Steve
Good thinking. I hadn't thought of that.
Thanks.
Jim
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