Scientific analysis by Meredith Wills
Kyle is not his real name. He asked that Sports Illustrated not reveal which team employs him, or even in which league that team plays. He is willing to speak on the phone rather than in a parking garage but still says he feels “very Deep Throat.”
This cloak-and-dagger routine is ridiculous—yet completely rational. Kyle rightly fears losing his job and being barred from the industry for an act regularly committed by kindergartners: taking a ball home from the stadium.
Kyle is one of a handful of people in and around baseball who smuggle official balls out of parks—he stows his in a backpack—not as souvenirs, but to send off for scientific analysis.