THE "MKS" BALLS
Quality has no compromise
The "MKS" (Michael Kaminskas Series) balls were made with the serious performer in mind. Up until 1986 I used the Mike Rogers baseballs exclusively in my performances. In fact, when I released my cups to the magic world in the 90's Mike sent me around 30 sets (I honestly forget the exact number) of baseballs in the mail with a note "To the king of cups... hope these inspire you." I still feel these are great balls to use if you don't have certain cup moves in your routine and the baseball look isn't an issue.
However, before Mike introduced his hand sewn baseballs, most cup workers used inferior crochet balls that had a cork or wooden center or maybe even worse...a steel wool center in some chop cup balls. The major flaw I saw in these "standard" crochet balls was the weight. They were way too light. That is why I loved the baseballs even though the baseballs made no sense for my routine. They did have the added benefit of being easily classic palmed. I liked the way they handled but quickly found that some cup moves just are NOT possible with friction of the leather surface. So... I tore a set apart and had my grandmother crochet over the core creating a ball with similar mass and size to the baseballs. It wasn't until many years later that I found out I wasn't the only professional to take such drastic measures. In fact, I was already late to the party!
From my discussions over the last two decades and giving cup workshops all over the world, the consensus is clear. Most cup workers feel the standard cork center crochet ball was too light to be consistent with sleights. That is why each "MKS" ball's covering is tightly crocheted over a solid 1 inch rubber core just like the set my grandmother made for me. There are also several advantages to using this type of ball over the "standard" crochet ball. Almost every instance where I see a professional cup worker fumble a ball it is because the ball is TOO LIGHT! Every so often, the opposite is also true and the balls are difficult to manipulate because they are just TOO HEAVY -- as is the case with a steel ball bearing core. (Yes, I tried that too!) Like the three little bears, the weight of the "MKS" ball is "just right!".
There are few makers of these type of balls on the market today simply because they are handmade and it takes time. I do think as we move forward in magic that the cork balls of the past will be replaced by some sort of solid core ball with more heft. Similar to the advancement of golf balls going from wound centers to all solid core construction. Professional and amatuers alike will appreciate the difference. As a professional entertainer, the weight is fantastic! Moves such as the "optical drop", the "striking vanish" and "Wand Spin Vanishes" become easier.
The thread itself is fine #10 mercerized cotton and in some cases a #10 tougher nylon that is needed to get the job done. The available color offerings of these balls will change with the thread that is available from or supplier, so if you see a set you like, you should grab it as it might not be available the next time you look. The cover is tightly knit so that the inside core of the ball is not seen and the crochet-covering stays put during use. A rubber core also permits these balls to be hand washed without affecting their performance.
Lastly, they are quiet when loaded into the cups! While this is usually not a problem in most performance situations because of ambient noise, at least you know if it is quiet the spectators won't hear the thud of something banging around inside the cups prematurely. When you get your "MKS" balls and put them to use, I'm sure you will understand why there is no substitute!
These balls are also featured in the MK Carolina Jester and Queen chop cups as well.
"Having owned a magic shop for 38 years, I can attest that the
MK Professional Cups and Balls are the real deal. You won't be disappointed!"