Contrary to old immigrant legend, America's streets aren't paved with actual gold.
Nope, we apparently save the old Au for our sporting goods here in the ol' US of A:
Behold! These baseballs will be used during portions of next Monday's Home Run Derby, part of the All-Star festivities at Phoenix's Chase Field. According to Major League Baseball, these are standard-sized Rawlings that feature one leather panel that has been infused with 24-karat gold. They carry a MSRP of $149.99 and will be trotted out when each slugger is down to his final out in each round.
So, yes, some lucky fans in the outfield stands — or swimmers in Chase Field's outfield pool — will be on the receiving end of some very valuable blasts. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America will benefit, too, as MLB and State Farm will donate a combined $18,000 to the charity for each gold ball that goes for a homer. (State Farm donates $3K apiece for all other home runs.)
Prince Fielder(notes), Rickie Weeks(notes), Matt Holliday(notes) and Matt Kemp(notes) will be doing the mining for the National League while David Ortiz(notes), Jose Bautista(notes), Adrian Gonzalez(notes) and Robinson Cano(notes) will take their home run hacks for the American League.
It may not be in the same neighborhood as introducing metal bats to the competition — a great idea referenced by Jeff Passan earlier this week — but I think it's a fun little gimmick. Personally, I like to think of Bud Selig conceiving the idea by saying "I loooooove gold" and then talking about an unfortunate smelting accident.
Speaking of Bud, you think he would have sprung for the ostentatious display of gold baseballs if the upcoming collective bargaining talks weren't going to be an easy slam dunk? Yeah, me neither.
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