We started collecting different baseball two or three years before lineup cards. We are up to about 120 different professional and amateur baseballs, which is great, it just makes it more difficult to find games where balls are used that we don’t already have.
That said, there should be some opportunities to add a few new baseballs to our collection this season:
MLB: Three MLB commemorative/special balls, not necessarily all from 2016 (pic below is one of a bunch of 2011 MLB ASG balls that Brown University was using as practice balls in 2015!).
MiLB: We are only missing an Arizona League ball and a Northwest League ball. Our best chance of getting one or both this year would be via a trade. Also, we hope to get at least one special/commemorative MiLB ball. The New York-Penn League All Star Game will likely be the best opportunity (pic below of a couple of 2014 MiLB ASG balls).
Independent League: We already have a Frontier League ball, but the Frontier League also started using a special ball with red-blue laces last year, so it’d be nice to get one of those. There are a few new start-up leagues planned for this season, including the relatively local Empire League.
NCAA: We already added one new Division I conference baseball, the Mountain West Conference, earlier this year, and hope to add at least one other.
College Summer League: A couple new ones would be nice, including the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.
International: One of the four World Baseball Classic 2016 Qualifiers will take place in NY (a pic of the 2012 WBC Qualifier ball is below). Hopefully, one or more of the four teams – Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan – will use their own baseballs during warm-ups. Additionally, Cuban and Japanese teams will play locally against Can-Am League teams.
Part 2 will look at our lineup card goals for the 2016 season!