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Major League Baseball has ushered in a new era with the recent transition of power from old to new. We turn the page on the Bud Selig years, as consequential as they were, and look ahead to what the future will bring with Rob Manfred?s hands on the tiller. But first we must bid adieu to Selig?s signature on the ball. Sorry Selig fans, but, along with the outgoing Selig himself, game-used baseballs will no longer bear his signature. Instead, they will be freshly restamped with the signature of the new commish, Rob Manfred ? or Robert D. Manfred Jr. to be precise. In fact, they already have.

From Selig to Manfred, the torch has now been passed

As a new commissioner steps in to take the helm with his own set of priorities and his own unique approach to doing things, the dimpled cowhide that wraps the layers of cork, rubber, and yarn will get a minor makeover with a new John Hancock replacing the old one. The new ball is pretty much identical to the old ball, except in 2015 batters will now be laying wood on a ball that bears the sig of the new captain of the ship, the man who will hopefully reinstate Pete Rose.

And, by the way, is it really necessary to have the commissioner?s signature gracing the ball at all ? It seems like a bit of an unsightly ego trip. It could all go straight to the commissioner?s head and give him an inflated impression of himself. Besides, few CEOs start off having a low opinion of themselves as it is. So the game could really be played with just a plain white baseball without paying any undue offense to the boss.

Even the NBA commissioner?s signature has made its way onto the bouncy basketball

And as long we?re on the topic of the ball itself, it?s an opportune time to sing beauty?s praises. The delicate sheen along the ball?s pale surface and its subtle sphericity exhibit grace. Along its rounded face flow the rough seams with all their contrasting redness. Bumpy yet even, the coarseness of the stitches swirl organically along the contours of the ball forming a finely quilted whole from its two cowhide covers giving the ball a decorative sizzle. All proportionate and fully symmetrical of course, it?s one of the most perfectly shaped instruments in all of sport. To those for whom aesthetics are top of mind, the sheer existence of such a perfect object is a testament to man?s affinity for the creation of pure art.

While the jury may be out on how successful Manfred?s reign as commissioner will be, one thing that has never been in doubt is the flawlessness of the ball. If you have an appreciation for beauty and refined craftsmanship, you?ll want to stick around and behold these dreamy visuals as I present to you the beauty of . . . the baseball. No runways needed here. So without further ado, ta-da :

Whether worn or mint, beat up or brand new, scuffed or pristine, the baseball is always a thing of beauty
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