Posts tagged ‘kaye nemec’

Pro Baseball Teams Use 900,000 Balls Each Year

By Kaye Nemec

It’s the top of the 6th inning in the Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals baseball game and the TV announcers just provided me, and the rest of the at-home audience, with an interesting fact. According to the Brewer’s equipment manager, 6 dozen brand new baseballs are prepared before each home game. Some games an additional 2 or 3 dozen balls will be used before the final out.

And that got me researching…

On average, Major League Baseball teams go through 900,000 baseballs each season. Any time a ball is thrown in the dirt, dinged by a bat or scuffed up, it is taken out of the game and of course, all homerun and foul balls go home with a lucky fan. Thousands of additional balls are tossed into the stands by generous players.

In order to prevent teams from having to travel with dozens of balls, equipment managers have agreed that the home team will provide the away team with 6 dozen balls before each game. Individual teams are still responsible for providing their own batting practice balls – which is usually 14 or 15 dozen balls, some of which are brand new and some that have been used in a game.

Some used balls are also sent to minor league teams to use for practice. Thankfully 900,000 balls are not simply thrown out each year. However, some would argue they are still a complete waste given the price tag. If you calculate in tax and shipping, the average cost of a dozen baseballs is $72.00. That means the MLB is spending around $5.5 million dollars each season on baseballs alone.

Sources: Post-Gazette

Photo: Paul Hadsall

May 25, 2011 at 2:00 am 13 comments

Bakery Twist Tie Colors Indicate Freshness

By Kaye Nemec

You may not have noticed before, but if you look closely at the loaves of bread on your grocery store shelves you’ll see that they are sealed with twist ties in a variety of colors. The colors vary not only by brand, but also within the same brand of bread.

Most bread companies use varying colors of twist ties to track the freshness of bread. For example, bread that was baked on Monday may be sealed with a blue tie; Tuesday may be green, Wednesday orange… etc. The color coding makes it much easier for employees to remove stale loaves and replace them with fresh ones. It is faster to look at the color of the twist tie than it is to read the date code on each bag.

As a consumer you can use this information to get the freshest loaf. However, the color coding system is not consistent between brands, but some people claim the most common system is the following:

  • Monday: Blue twisty
  • Tuesday: Green twisty
  • Wednesday: (No bread delivered)
  • Thursday: Red twisty
  • Friday: White twisty
  • Saturday: Yellow twisty
  • Sunday: (No bread delivered)

Without positively knowing which colors represent which days, you’ll have no way of knowing which loaf to pick. You’ll have to pay attention to the color system used by your bread maker. Try calling the customer service number and asking them what their color coding system is. Chances are good they’ll share this info.

Most bread companies deliver fresh loaves to grocery stores several times per week. If you happen to be in the store, pay attention when the deliveries are made and even ask the delivery man.

With each delivery old loaves should be replaced with fresh, new loaves. Because of the frequent deliveries, odds are that you wouldn’t see more than two to three colors for any one brand on the shelf at one time. If you do happen upon a plethora of colors you’ll know the inside scoop and may want to steer clear of that brand unless you know their specific codes.

Some brands also use tab clips that have the date on them, these should help you learn the system fairly quickly.

This secret was also suggested by Heather, thanks for the tip. I should also mention that Shannon suggested hanging on to bread tabs for scraping food off dirty plates.

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Sources: Snopes, Thriftyfun.com

August 25, 2010 at 5:00 am 12 comments

August is the Most Popular Month for Births

By Kaye Nemec

Worldwide, there are around 140 million births each year (down from 173 million in the late 1990s). That’s about 4 births every second.

The United States accounts for more than 4 million of those annual births.

Around the world, more babies are born during the month of August than any other month.  India and China have the most August newborns at 19.5% and 11.6% of babies born during August respectively. That’s 6 and 4 times more than we have in the United States during August; however, it still remains our highest birth month. In general, more babies arrive in late summer and early fall than any other time of year, but the most recent data puts August at the top of the list.

If you do the math and count nine months back from August, you’ll land at November. It is starting to get colder and the holiday season is in full swing. One school of thought believes these factors explain why August is such a popular birth month. Others believe it comes down to planning. There are people who try to plan their childbirth to coincide with summer vacations and lighter summer work schedules.

In contrast, the month of February has the lowest birth rate.

If you ask Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, he outlines in another best selling book, Outliers, why January and February may be the most beneficial month for your baby to be born.

Apparently, if you look at professional Hockey and Soccer players, 67% of them are born in January or February. He believes this is not a coincidence, because of age/date cutoffs, players born in these months get an extra 6 months experience compared to the other kids in the same age group, giving them a huge advantage. This advantage is most beneficial at an earlier age when the kids are streamed into more and less advanced leagues.

At a young age, 6 months development makes a big difference, giving the slightly older kids more coaching and more opportunity to develop higher level skills. This cycle repeats itself each year, raising the slightly older kids with years of better opportunities to improve.

More interesting facts:

  1. Wednesday has more births than any other day of the week.
  2. Sunday has the fewest births.
  3. With 21 babies born for every 1,000 people, Utah continues to have the highest birth rate in the United States.
  4. The State of Virginia has the lowest birth rate with 10 babies born for every 1,000 people.
  5. Congo has the highest birth rate of any country at 49.6 births per 1,000 people.
  6. Hong Kong and Macau are tied for the lowest birth rate at 7.6 / 1,000 people.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: DidYouKnow.org, BabyCenter.com, Business Week, Wikipedia (Birth Rates, World Population)

Photo: treyevan (cc)

August 19, 2010 at 5:00 am 6 comments


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