Cheap baseballs can certainly be a tempting purchase. However, without first having a good idea of what you are going to be using the baseballs for, you could be simply throwing money away. In most instances, purchasing the cheapest baseballs will not be the best use of your money.
What are Cheap Baseballs Made Of?
Cheap balls will typically be made out of synthetic or composite materials. Depending on the use of that material throughout the baseball, it may significantly change the way that the ball handles in play. For example:
It’s not uncommon to see models of inexpensive baseballs that are made of synthetic, rather than leather, coverings. This difference primarily affects throwing the ball. Pitchers cannot often get a strong grip on the ball, and pitches will leave their hands differently. The ball also may slip out of the hand, which may result in a hit batsmen.
While synthetic baseballs can certainly be used for pitching machines, it’s better in my opinion to purchase one of my recommended baseballs in order to get more versatility from your purchase.
Cheap balls will also tend to have a composite core. This is in contrast to a typical game-ball, which will almost always be made of a cork core, surrounded by a layer of rubber. This fundamentally changes the way that the ball reacts when it is struck by a bat.
Again, this certainly will not render a baseball useless, it will just limit it’s versatility for training purposes.
What Alternatives do I have?
First, purchasing baseballs in bulk will almost always bring down the price of a baseball. Most manufacturers will sell baseballs by the dozens.
Secondly, Though most balls made of composite or synthetic materials are cheap baseballs, not all cheap baseballs are made of composite or synthetic materials.
For example, one of our favorite baseballs, the Rawlings ROLB can be purchased for just about $3.00 per baseball. These are tournament grade baseballs, so their build and durability is unquestioned. Yet, the low price makes them accessible enough to use as a very versatile practice baseball.
What Do You Think?
What baseballs do you use for practice? What are the best deals that you’ve found on cheap baseballs? How did those baseballs hold up in real play? I’d love to hear all of your comments below.