We all know what happens to fans when free t-shirts are thrown into the crowd. We've all been at baseball games and seen guys climb all over each other to get a foul ball worth a couple of bucks. To add to the excitement of the 2011 MLB All-Star Game the league announced that this year's Home Run Derby will use gold balls.
These are actual baseballs that contain actual gold. According to the official MLB press release, the gold balls "are put into play once a batter is down to his final out in each round will feature one leather panel infused with actual 24-karat gold leather."
The retail value of these gold balls is $149.99. That's certainly not a lot of gold but when Jose Bautista or Prince Fielder hits one of these gold balls into the outfield bleachers at Chase Field, the crowd is going to go nuts. In fact, if the ball doesn't make it over the wall we could envision hundreds of fans rushing the outfield to try and retrieve the "priceless" souvenir.
It's admirable that MLB is looking for ways to make baseball more exciting and fan friendly. Creating a riot in the stands over a gold baseball might be one of those ideas that go too far. We'll see.