Book update No. 18 — anatomy of the ball

Seven months ago, I sent Rawlings a bunch of questions for my book.

One question was: “How much string and yarn is there inside each major league baseball?”

Their answer was simple: “The amount is proprietary.”
So…guess what I just did? Here’s a hint:
That’s right. I took apart a major league ball, unraveled the contents, and measured it myself.
Oh please…


  1. stinkythecat

    It looks like the Beast from the Sandlot got ahold of that ball. Minus the sophistication of clippers and a tape measure though.

  2. baseballexperiences

    which ball was it? couldn’t imagine u doing that to any ball, but still pretty cool. Joe

  3. stock350

    After reading Zacks first two books I am really excited for this next one to come out. If you havent read Watching Baseball Smarter youre missing out. Enough said.




    You should have (actually, I’m sure you probably did…) taken a picture of the ball exactly as it was in this pic, but without the stuff behind it (nail clippers?)…that would’ve made a cool cover for the book…

  5. Greg

    Funny, I had to look up the definition of proprietary. After reading the definitions on, I ascertained that basically there answer to you was a “nice” way of saying NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

    Looking forward to your measurements.

    Red Sox Ramblings:

  6. padreleigh

    Was the letter you received back in Spanish with a Costa Rican postmark? Doubt it. Who is the CEO of Rawlings and where are their corporate offices?


  7. metsandmlb

    I have some questions about AT&T Park and Dodger Stadium since I will be visiting them. At AT&T, do you think it’s a good idea to stand out on the walkway between RF and the bay before the stadium opens? As for Dodger, I don’t have a field level ticket, and I’m in the main part of the stadium, so do you think that there is a chance that I can get to the field level or if there is any other place to go?

  8. bigglovebob

    I should have sent you the ball that this big Lab/Rottweiler mix got ahold of when I was dog sitting the other weekend. He tore the cover off in about 3 minutes. I had to get it away from him before he ended up swallowing all that string and ended up in a vet’s office with Ol Big Gloveski here footing the bill.

    I leave in a little more than 24 hours to go to Miller Park. I actually plan on doing some ballhawking there so that should be fun.

    I have been in touch with the elusive Happy Youngster. It is his birthday on 6-22 and he will be in attendance. I will roundly heckle him for not blogging. Although I am not one to talk since my blog is in hiatus.

    Glad you got everything squared away with Best Buy. Next time you are in town, I will drive you by the headquarters and you can go in there and do a little housecleaning.


    The other day at the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA Astros) vs. the Frisco RoughRiders (AA Rangers) game they were using Target Field commemorative balls during BP. I have no idea how they made it to the Texas League…

  10. zackhample

    Ha, good call.

    It wasn’t hard at all because…

    …it was a 2007 Futures Game Ball. I snagged a bunch that day at AT&T Park and didn’t count any of them in my official collection.

    Thanks. I had a lot of fun doing it.

    I might need to pay you to be my publicist. :-)

    March 2011.

    I took a ton of pics. I have every angle you could imagine at various stages in the deconstruction process. Very strange about the Target Field balls. Were they beat up and in really bad shape?

    Yep, that’s pretty much the meaning of that word.


    Everything has been done via email. I actually sent Rawlings more questions today. They’re located in Missouri, but of course they have a huge factory in Costa Rica where the balls actually get assembled.

    Yeah, hang out on the “Portwalk” (as it’s called) between the stadium and the water before the gates open. You might be able to get a player to toss you a ball, or a home run might fly or bounce out and land near you. As for Dodger Stadium, that place completely confuses me. It’s like an alternate universe where common sense doesn’t exist. I think you might be able to get into the pavilions (bleachers) during BP no matter where your official seat is, but don’t hold me to it. I hate that place. It’s a nightmare.

    There’s a lot more yarn than that. I won’t be at Citi Field this week. I’d love to make it out, but I’m swamped with the book and can’t take any more time off. Other than the few “Watch With Zack” games that people have booked and my trip to Puerto Rico in a week, I’m probably done going to games until the book is finished. I truly can’t believe how much work this has been.

    That’s funny/scary about the dog chewing up the ball. Good luck in Milwaukee. Let me know how it goes. I haven’t heard from the Happy Youngster in quite some time, although I’ve been in hiding myself. I suspect that if I actually took 30 seconds to email him, he’d probably write back pretty quickly. When you see him, tell him I say hey.

    Glad you like it, but as I mentioned to someone else above, it wasn’t a big deal to take apart. It wasn’t a ball that I actually count as part of my collection.

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