There are two types of statuses a ball can have in baseball. They can either be live balls or dead balls. The difference between the two lies in whether or not they’re in play. Live balls are balls which are currently in play, and are allowed to be handled by pitchers, batters and fielders as normal. All actions taken when a ball is live are recognized as part of the game at hand. Play often ceases when the ball becomes a dead ball. Dead balls can be called when the ball becomes damaged or is thrown into the crowd or out of bounds. Balls can be called dead very quickly in baseball games, which is why so many balls are used each game. A pitcher can even request a new ball if they don’t like the handling of the one they’re currently using. As soon as a ball is out of commission, it is considered dead.
Live balls are considered live once the umpire has resumed play. This can be announced by shouting “play ball” or “ready”. Up until that point, any actions taken with the ball will be dismissed.