Because of their size, color and abundance, baseballs lend themselves better to writing than, say, footballs or basketballs. And over the course of a season, baseball players use balls for a variety of purposes: autographs, messages, and as Alex Rodriguez demonstrated this week, even tools of flirtation.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that the Yankees third baseman did indeed scribble a note on a baseball and pass it along to a few female fans during Game 1 of the ALCS.
Rodriguez's sly move has gained a tremendous amount of attention, but it turns out the slumping slugger isn't the first big leaguer to use a baseball to flirt with a female fan this year.
In late August, Baltimore Orioles reliever Luis Ayala wrote his phone number on a baseball and had it delivered to a woman during batting practice before a game against the Texas Rangers. Deadspin obtained a photo of the ball as well as a transcript of the text conversation that ensued.
The difference between Ayala and Rodriguez? Ayala is married and Rodriguez is not (although A-Rod is dating professional wrestling Torrie Wilson).
And apparently, the phone-number-on-a-baseball trick works both ways. In a July profile of Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper in USA Today, author Bob Nightengale notes that Harper was carrying around a baseball with a female fan's digits written on it.