By Heidi Glaus
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Tune into a Cardinals game for even an inning and chances are you'll see a ball fouled off, handed to a fan or tossed out of play by the home plate umpire. That's why the Cardinals start with between six and ten dozen baseballs every game.
But when a ball is tossed out by the ump, it more times than not ends up at the Cardinals Authentics Store.
It's a place most fans have probably never even seen. Something else you don't see is the umpire tossing the ball to a Major League Authenticator next to the dugout because before it gets to this store an authenticator marks it with an official hologram sticker and a unique tracking code, that's how you know it's the real deal.
By the way, balls get tossed when they become discolored or unfit for further use. Other balls might be snagged because it was a particular milestone for a player, like his first career hit or a pitcher's 500th strikeout and those are given back to the player after the game.
It's not just baseballs that are authenticated; practically anything a player touches is fair game. The bases, the bats, the jerseys off their backs, even the champagne bottles emptied after a big win. It is something they take very seriously, but obviously have a little fun with it considering they even sell cuff links and earrings made from game used balls.