Here were each of the goals that we established in March for 2016 baseballs, followed by how we fared:
MLB: Three MLB commemorative/special balls, not necessarily all from 2016.
RESULT: We got two 2016 balls on our own: A Cubs 100th commemorative that I was able to talk Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode into throwing to me at a June Cubs @ Nats game; and a Florida Spring Training ball we found beyond the outfield wall at Dodd Stadium that must have been used by the Connecticut Tigers in BP.
Through trades, we were also able to get: a Blue Jays 40th season commemorative; a Braves Turner Field – Final Season commemorative; an Arizona Sprint Training ball; a Mets 50th season commemorative from the 2012 season; and an Angels 50th season commemorative from 2011.
MiLB: We are only missing an Arizona League ball and a Northwest League ball. 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).
We were able to get a Northwest League ball through a trade. We are still looking for an Arizona League ball.
It took until the top of the 9th inning, but Kate and I were able to get a 2016 New York-Penn League ASG ball.
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.
This is the one area where we have come up empty so far, although we are still working on getting a ball from the United Shore Professional Baseball League’s inaugural season. We would have gotten an Empire League ball except for the fact that they used generics this year.
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.
We added Patriot League, Ohio Valley Conference and Big West Conference balls
College Summer League: A couple new ones would be nice, including the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.
The only new college summer league ball we got was the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s 2016 All Star Game ball.
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 warmups. Additionally, Cuban and Japanese teams will play locally against Can-Am League teams.
We went to Brazil-Pakistan, Great Britain-Israel and a Japanese team vs. Can-Am League team games, but none of the international teams brought their own baseballs. We did get a 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifier baseball, though.