The first review of The Ball is in from Kirkus Reviews:
An anthropologist and freelance journalist debuts with a peripatetic analysis of our ball games—where they came from, how they evolved and why we love them. Fox darts around the globe to show us the origins of our games. He dismisses legends (Abner Doubleday), confirms truths (James Naismith and basketball), participates as well as observes and teaches us how all sorts of balls were and are made….crackerjack reporting crackles throughout.
When I first read it I thought it said “pathetic analysis” so was relieved after reading it more closely!