Sorry to interrupt...this will only take a moment.
This site is an independent reader-supported project.
Because you have viewed at least a few articles now...
Can you give a small donation to keep us online?
We can give you e-books and audiobooks and stuff.
This site is an independent reader-supported project.
The cost of keeping it running are considerable.
If you can spare a few dollars it would help us enormously.
We can give you e-books and audiobooks and stuff.
×
×
Experimental Feature

Select 'Atmospheric Audio' from the Audio menu to add subtle background audio to certain portions of the article.

Baseball and the Physicists

Article #174 • Written by Greg Bjerg

Without a doubt baseball has had more serious study behind it than any other major sport. It's hard to say why this is, but we don’t see academic studies on the flight trajectories of footballs or the effect of “soft rims” on basketballs but we do see plenty of research on baseball. Scholarly research papers on baseball have titles like, "An Experimental and Finite Element Study of the Relationship amongst the Sweetspot, COP, and Vibration Nodes in Baseball Bats” and "Determining Baseball Bat Performance Using a Conservation Equations Model with Field Test Validation."

Very rarely do these scientists, mostly physicists, offer practical advice for players to take into the field, but they do come up with some interesting observations. And almost all of them have to do with the baseball-bat “collision sequence.”

Consider the story of Rip Sewell’s “eephus” pitch. A physicist told him that a ball that travels 400 feet in normal conditions would go an extra 3 ½ feet farther if the pitch is five miles per hour faster. So, pitcher Sewell lobbed the ball twenty-five feet in the air, with so little speed (ie: energy) that the batter had to provide all the power. Only one major leaguer ever hit a home run off Sewell’s pitch; Hall of Fame hitter Ted Williams did it in the 1946 All-Star game, and he gave his swing a running start by charging at the ball.

In 1987 Dr. Robert Adair, the Sterling Professor of Physics at Yale, was named the official “Physicist of the National League.” Former Yale President Bartlett Giamatti-- who was then the Commissioner of Major League Baseball-- gave him the title.

Among the finding of Dr. Adair are:

It takes 1/2,000th of a second for a major leaguers bat to deliver nearly 10,000 pounds of force. The ball compresses almost an inch, storing energy. Some of that energy accelerates the ball. The rest heats the ball to about 1 degree warmer. So yes, a batter really can have a hot bat.The backspin that makes a sailing fastball appear to rise actually just keeps the ball from falling as quickly as the batter expects. The difference from a normal trajectory can be 5 inches by the time the ball reaches the plate and about 2 1/2 of those 5 inches come in the last 15 feet.

University of Illinois particle physicist Alan Nathan is intrigued about revealing the secrets of a baseball bat’s "sweet spot". That spot is the impact point on the bat where hurtling ball sends no sting or resistance to the batter's hands.

Dr. Nathan has developed elaborate equations to capture that instant when the ball strikes the wood, causing the bat to vibrate in complex patterns like a violin string. Such work suggests the sweet spot most batters notice is different from the point on the bat that sends the ball sailing the farthest--a finding that could warrant subtle changes in batting strategies. The best spot appears to be 6 inches from the tip on a 34-inch bat, with efficiency dropping off quickly in either direction.

The sweet spot problem reminds Dr. Nathan of his main professional pursuit: experiments in which high-energy electrons are shot at an atomic nucleus to determine its structure. Also, it turns out that the complex calculations needed to understand the sweet spot problem resemble those used to analyze the vibration of airplane wings and bridges. The sweet spot studies have also revolutionized the introduction a new generation of farther driving golf clubs and better performing tennis rackets.

If you need more evidence that science can't get enough baseball you might want to visit the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Baseball Research Center. The center has done extensive study on many baseball-related issues including corked bats and "juiced" baseballs.

Porter Johnson, a professor of physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology says that the study of baseball is full of deep scientific mysteries, “They say that two big problems in physics have resisted solution,” Porter said. “One is the unified theory of everything that would account for all the forces in nature. The other is finding a quantitative description of the motion of a baseball through air.”

All of this study of the physics of baseball date back to the 1950’s when wind tunnel experiments proved that curve balls really do curve. It turns out that it's due to an imbalance of air pressure created by the spinning ball moving the ball to the outside part of the plate. The exact details are still a mystery and are exceedingly complicated to model.

Physicists aren’t the only ones who have been attracted to baseball. Harvard evolutionary biologist and author Stephen Jay Gould said that baseball studies might shed important light on poorly understood aspects of the natural world. Gould argued that the disappearance of the .400 hitter in baseball stems from decreasing variation in talent, not diminishing player quality-- a distinction he also applies to evolution, where apparent trends of improvement or decline often prove unfounded.

But why is baseball the subject of these studies and reports and not other sports? It might be because baseball motions are easier to reproduce in the laboratory and the sport is less dependent on other nebulous influences like play calling. It might also be a demographic function as most studies are done in the Northeast United States where the sport is more popular. Baseball is also a statistic-dominated endeavor with over a century's worth of numbers.

Somehow baseball has a mystical hold on scientists who would normally insist on empirical evidence. Harvard's Gould, who was a fanatical New York Yankee fan, would maintain that at least one baseball moment defies any rational explanation: Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk's seeming success in waving a home run into fair territory to win game six of the 1975 World Series.

Gould insisted, "He stood up there and by sheer body English he transcended the laws of physics and made that ball curve inside the left-field foul pole."

Even science, it seems, has its limits.

Article written by Greg Bjerg, published on 29 April 2006. Greg was born and raised in Iowa and graduated with a degree in Journalism from Drake University. Sadly, he passed away on 20 March 2011.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
SHARE

More Information
Related Articles


45 Comments
Mandolin
Posted 29 April 2006 at 10:01 pm

The bit about Rip Sewell's "eephus" pitch was really interesting. It never occured to me that a pitcher would do anything but throw the ball ridiculously fast. It does make sense to just lob it gently, providing very little energy to begin with. Do more pitchers attempt to do this or was it just a Sewell thing?

Other than that, I love physics. It can be found in everything, and baseball is a prime subject to look at. But other sports, such as hockey (the friction would be interesting) and soccer (use of force and trajectory) would also be interesting to research, I think.


myname
Posted 29 April 2006 at 10:43 pm

that is interesting....I suppose that even if you couldnt get Sewells pitch over the wall it would be child's play for a professional to get consistent base hits off of it tho....


tonnes
Posted 30 April 2006 at 12:47 am

Look at the photo: does the bat really bend that much? Or is this an illusion from the camera's shutter speed?


Jeremy
Posted 30 April 2006 at 01:09 am

myname said: "that is interesting….I suppose that even if you couldnt get Sewells pitch over the wall it would be child's play for a professional to get consistent base hits off of it tho…."

I've observed that people used to playing baseball often have a hard time making decent contact when swinging at a slow pitched softball, at least at first. And when a pitcher's been throwing you heat, and you're expecting the same, a sudden high arcing eephus can catch you by surprise.

It should however be noted that virtually no one on the major leagues still uses the eephus pitch.


NuTT98
Posted 30 April 2006 at 01:24 am

"but we don’t see academic studies on the effect of “soft rims” on basketballs"

That's because Bush doesn't like black people.


Navillus
Posted 30 April 2006 at 04:17 am

Harvard's Gould, who was a fanatical New York Yankee fan...

Why does this make me think of Stargate?


white_matter
Posted 30 April 2006 at 05:43 am

Funny. Baseball always reminded me of quantum physics too.

I find quantum physics more interesting though.

The physics of a pitch are also complicated. When we were studying acceleration, anylizing a pitchers pitch was one of the first problems. I still don't really understand it.


another viewpoint
Posted 30 April 2006 at 06:46 am

...and some say we're wasting too much on space, the space station and space travel. There's no doubt in my mind that physicists look for a problem and then work to find an equation that describes it. Why not spend the time looking for a problem in need of a solution and then FIX IT! Geez...get out of the ball park and get a life.


Tex
Posted 30 April 2006 at 07:48 am

NuTT98 said: ""but we don’t see academic studies on the effect of “soft rims” on basketballs"


That's because Bush doesn't like black people."

lol - or because aside from the physics involving speed and arc of the ball in various positions... there isn’t much to the actual shot... We label the perfect shot as sliding through with only hitting the net right? There’s no perfect vibration arc for when the ball hits the rim, no low velocity wonder shot, nothing...

Besides bush like black people, it’s those damn no pie-eating Canadians...


Pascal Leduc
Posted 30 April 2006 at 11:15 am

Besides bush like black people, it’s those damn no pie-eating Canadians…"

I find this comment laughable from a people that didnt even invent sugar-pie
http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/9705/recipes/sugarpie.html


TopDollar
Posted 30 April 2006 at 12:08 pm

tonnes said: "Look at the photo: does the bat really bend that much? Or is this an illusion from the camera's shutter speed?"

"It takes 1/2,000th of a second for a major leaguers bat to deliver nearly 10,000 pounds of force. The ball compresses almost an inch..."

I think the bat is bending that much.


Berkana
Posted 30 April 2006 at 01:09 pm

NuTT98 said: ""but we don’t see academic studies on the effect of “soft rims” on basketballs"

That's because Bush doesn't like black people."

Why then does he have such a diverse cabinet? You seem to overlook Conoleezza Rice, Bush even nominated a black woman judge. Bush put women and minorities in charge of eight of 14 statutory Cabinet departments. He has tapped three women, two blacks, two Hispanics, one of whom is female, an Asian-American and an Arab-American.

This is not to say that I like Bush; I actually rather dislike him but your remark was too childish and uninformed to go unchallenged.


Berkana
Posted 30 April 2006 at 01:10 pm

My impression is that tennis and golf seem to get a good deal of research. Do these not count as major sports?


Stuart
Posted 30 April 2006 at 01:52 pm

Congratulations on a truly interesting website but this story really isn't. I don't think its possible to make any aspect of baseball interesting. The possible exception being the finale of The Naked Gun, but thats more for Ricardo Montalbán. Nice try though.


schawny mac
Posted 30 April 2006 at 02:07 pm

Swimming also has a lot of research dedicated to it, but its not a major sport (I guess). Great article.


Armani
Posted 30 April 2006 at 02:07 pm

Berkana said: "Why then does he have such a diverse cabinet? You seem to overlook Conoleezza Rice, Bush even nominated a black woman judge. Bush put women and minorities in charge of eight of 14 statutory Cabinet departments. He has tapped three women, two blacks, two Hispanics, one of whom is female, an Asian-American and an Arab-American.


This is not to say that I like Bush; I actually rather dislike him but your remark was too childish and uninformed to go unchallenged."

just because he has colored people under his control, does not mean he likes them.


Anthony Kendall
Posted 30 April 2006 at 02:40 pm

A physicist investigating the science of baseball is very likely doing so in his spare time. Academic scientists really are usually "under contract" to produce research related to the grants and other sources of funding they receive. I doubt that there are many grants to physicists related to baseball research.

I think a physicist ought to have time to his or her diversions, just like everyone else. After all, perhaps those physicists are not fond of gardening or cooking, and need something to do in the evenings. During the day they cannot because they are far too busy trying to find that Theory of Everything.


white_matter
Posted 30 April 2006 at 03:52 pm

The real reason that I keep posting on this site is that I hope to one day post the message that hopelessly side-tracks the rest of the other posts into oblivion as I see happening above with Bush and Race Politics. Oh, what joy of joys that would be!

A man can dream, can't he? A man can dream.....


another viewpoint
Posted 30 April 2006 at 04:37 pm

TopDollar said: ""It takes 1/2,000th of a second for a major leaguers bat to deliver nearly 10,000 pounds of force. The ball compresses almost an inch…"


I think the bat is bending that much."

Hold a pencil by the tip lightly between your finger tips and shake it up and down. Does it look like the pencil is made of rubber? It most likely does...but that does not mean the pencil is bending. Now look at the baseball bat again...it's longer (some 32")and it's wider in diameter (larger at the end as opposite the hand grip). If the bat were really that flexible, it would bend back even farther when contact with the ball was made. It would therefore absorb much of the energy needed to transfer to the ball and send the ball over the right field bleachers. Bedning? I don't think so. I'd chalk it up to photography...but not necessarily a trick photo.


xircso
Posted 30 April 2006 at 04:44 pm

A man can dream, can't he? A man can dream….."

yes, and then maybe you can invent the fing-longer :P

wow, I hope someone got that.


white_matter
Posted 30 April 2006 at 05:28 pm

xircso said: "yes, and then maybe you can invent the fing-longer :P


wow, I hope someone got that."

"This What-if machine isn't worth the gold it's made of! But at least I have the fing-longer. Pretty long, eh?"

Where do think I got it from?


Bolens
Posted 30 April 2006 at 07:24 pm

Wernstrom!!!!!


white_matter
Posted 30 April 2006 at 09:03 pm

How did you remove your own brain?

The easy part was getting the brain out, the hard part was getting the brain out. (manical laughter)


Gilles
Posted 01 May 2006 at 12:08 am

Greg Bjerg wrote : « Without a doubt baseball has had more serious study behind it than any other major sport. »

In my opinion, sailing is studied just as seriously and scientifically as baseball.


alipardiwala
Posted 01 May 2006 at 11:35 am

Americans seem to think the world revolves around them. This article says baseball is the most scientifically studied, how the hell do you know? Football ('Soccer' as americans call it because football in america means american football which uses more 'hands' and 'throwing' than 'foot') is the worlds most popular sport, all of Europe, South America and Africa play the game as their primary sport, with the rest of the world playing it secondarily. even the players study every aspect of how to make the ball swing in the air. Cricket, which is played predominantly in the South Asian subcontinent and Oceana, is watched and studied by at least a billion people, which in case you didnt know, is 3 times as many people as there are in the USA. Even a taxi driver in India will know all the physics of cricket.
This reminds me of how the first world war was called a 'world' war even though there were only 6 countries fighting, Europe in those days considered themselves to be the entire world. It looks like its happening to america now. Whatever they think and do seems to be what goes. Get your facts and statistics right, consider the rest of the world before you come up with more stuff like this.


Carcer
Posted 01 May 2006 at 11:43 am

Right, but you see, as much as I love the sea, sailing is not a major sport.


Carcer
Posted 01 May 2006 at 11:51 am

The article was an illustration of that. The article states that physicists study baseball more than ANY other major sport. This includes international sports such as Football (or Futbol for our Spanish speaking friends). This is because the physics of baseball lend themselves easier to such study. It's a more controlled environment.

That being said, the world does revolve around America today, as it did Europe in earlier times. Just as it will revolve around the next super-power. History bees that way sometimes.


bryon
Posted 01 May 2006 at 01:39 pm

alipardiwala said: "Americans seem to think the world revolves around them. This article says baseball is the most scientifically studied, how the hell do you know? Football ('Soccer' as americans call it because football in america means american football which uses more 'hands' and 'throwing' than 'foot') is the worlds most popular sport

@alipardiwala: um.. do you think the fact that football or cricket is played in many countries makes it the most scientifically studied sport? Popular, sure. Most scientifically studied? No.


bryon
Posted 01 May 2006 at 01:45 pm

Great article Greg!


Spike
Posted 01 May 2006 at 04:20 pm

According to a wise man I know, the meaning of life is physics...that or comfortable shoes. Everything involves physics.


white_matter
Posted 01 May 2006 at 04:37 pm

alipardiwala said: "Americans seem to think the world revolves around them. This article says baseball is the most scientifically studied, how the hell do you know? Football ('Soccer' as americans call it because football in america means american football which uses more 'hands' and 'throwing' than 'foot') is the worlds most popular sport, all of Europe, South America and Africa play the game as their primary sport, with the rest of the world playing it secondarily. even the players study every aspect of how to make the ball swing in the air. Cricket, which is played predominantly in the South Asian subcontinent and Oceana, is watched and studied by at least a billion people, which in case you didnt know, is 3 times as many people as there are in the USA. Even a taxi driver in India will know all the physics of cricket.

This reminds me of how the first world war was called a 'world' war even though there were only 6 countries fighting, Europe in those days considered themselves to be the entire world. It looks like its happening to america now. Whatever they think and do seems to be what goes. Get your facts and statistics right, consider the rest of the world before you come up with more stuff like this."

Please spare us your self-righteous, anti-american boo-hooing. In your post you have accomplished in saying absolutely nothing (aside from the fact that you think that an American could never come to terms with the fact that Soccer is called Football in the rest of the world). Get over yourself!

Carcer is right, the world does revolve around us and yes, that is not a permanent thing. I'm sure wherever it is you come from will be the world power someday and you will have the chance to travel to any foreign country in the world and automatically be hated but until that time that's my and my countrymen’s' job. One day, your opinions will automatically discredited because where you come from. One day, even the most modest and obvious claim about your home country will be viewed as arrogence and ultra-patriotism. But right now that's our job and as bitter as you (and I'm sure others) are about that, it's the way it is. Get over it!

What happened to originality? What happened to forming your own opinions? What happened to not believing everything you hear? Instead of judging a person by the content of their character (MLK), we are judged by the color and wording on the front their passport. Yes, America is filled to the brim with arrogant, pompous, ignorant jerks (like every other country) but there are alot of us, like me, who are just arrogant and pompous jerks.

You can post what ever response you want to this. More than likely you will be wrong. And besides, I'm an American and my ears are only filled with the sound of my own voice [sarcasm].

...gimme a break!


Gilles
Posted 02 May 2006 at 12:28 am

White matter wrote : « […] the world does revolve around us [the United States] and yes, that is not a permanent thing. »

You are absolutely right, and I much prefer the world revolving around the United States than around Iran ! Besides, we don't have much choice, that's the way history goes in this century. This doesn't mean everything is perfect ; the United States contributed and still contribute much in science and technology, the arts, and democratic ideals, but often they are… let's say tragically naïve. For example, when the present administration in Washington thinks that Democracy will flourish in the blink of an eye (so to speak) in Irak or in Afghanistan.


alipardiwala
Posted 02 May 2006 at 09:10 am

@Carcer: I guess you have a point there but, sticking to the topic, I still don't completely agree with the fact that baseball is the most studied in the world. There are definitely other sports that are equally studied, if not more.

@white_matter: Do you really have to be that harsh, I thought we were having an intelligent conversation here, and you aren't really sticking to the topic your just continuing on Carcers last line and bringing out your views on another matter, I'd be glad to have this conversation with you but this isn't the place.

@byron: Read the entire article next time, you don't seem to be doing that. And your just proving my point.

@Gilles: The world will not revolve around Iran, 'Irak' or Afghanistan, the only reason it seems to revolve around America is because the internet, television and music all have the biggest takers in USA, and George W. Bush loves to gain attention.


ricevillage
Posted 02 May 2006 at 11:25 am

It may be considered the most studied sport because there are so many aspects of it that may charm an observer. Furthermore, there always seems to have been an undercurrent of suspicion on the part of observers that that there are elements still to be understood. I wrote a how-to book on the knuckleball and stated early on that it might prompt people to reveal aspects of it that are barely known, never mind understood. I've jokingly referred to it as an applied-physics textbook, but it indeed has prompted cool things about the pitch to reveal themselves, such as the ideal rotation apparently being less than one-half revolution AND straight forward, and one aficianado's discovery of how to throw it to cause it to CORKSCREW ( which makes it easy to throw for strikes but impossible to hit except for sheer blind chance).

Wouldn't it be the coolest if this results in Everyman having a real shot at making the Show?


Stuart
Posted 02 May 2006 at 11:46 am

alipardiwala said: "This reminds me of how the first world war was called a 'world' war even though there were only 6 countries fighting, Europe in those days considered themselves to be the entire world. It looks like its happening to america now. Whatever they think and do seems to be what goes. Get your facts and statistics right, consider the rest of the world before you come up with more stuff like this."

The First World War was considered a world-war because it involved soldiers from all over the world. The British Empire alone involved troops from Australia, Canada, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan,Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participants_in_World_War_I

That looks to me like a global involvement. The fighting wasn't just in Europe either. Northern Africa and the Middle East had battles fought in them (the Gallipoli campaign being an example) and there were battles fought in the colonies of the European countries. At least do some research before you make comments like this. It only makes you a hypocrite for accusing Americans of being ignorant to world events.


Carcer
Posted 02 May 2006 at 12:23 pm

Look, can we, as intelligent people, not place ALL of the blame for America's LONG standing ills on just the current President. G.W.Bush is not the first, nor will he be last, to muck up the image of the presidency. He's NOT the cause of our world standing. It's a combination of our weak foriegn policy, and our relieance (sp?) on countries who, for lack of a better term, suck.


white_matter
Posted 02 May 2006 at 04:11 pm

alipardiwala said: "@white_matter: Do you really have to be that harsh, I thought we were having an intelligent conversation here, and you aren't really sticking to the topic your just continuing on Carcers last line and bringing out your views on another matter, I'd be glad to have this conversation with you but this isn't the place."

To be quite honest, there is very little in your original post that can be considered intelligent and definately nothing original. Your whole post was nothing but anti-ameriacn sentiment peppered with the occasional ignorant statement. Your post was practically begging an American to say something. I wasn't being harsh I was simply answering.

Stick to the topic? Intelligent conversation? Your post was nothing but self righteous ramblings about how dumb Americans are. I thought that I WAS sticking to the topic. Carcer made a good point but I would have responded reguardless. Just reading over your first post makes my blood boil with how blindly ignorant everything you said was. There was not a single sentence in that paragraph of dejecta you call a post that isn't some how condesending. Get YOUR facts and get YOUR statistics right before you're made to look as foolish as you seem again.

There, my rant is complete and I am past your stupidity. Now we can move on...

Oh and for the record, you would not want to have this conversation with me. If your opinions are even as half concocted as your post, I'd tear you to shreds.


Drakvil
Posted 03 May 2006 at 11:27 am

I have heard that many pit crews in auto racing are made up mostly of physics grad students and the like (don't recall the exact category - NASCAR, Indy, formula-1, etc.)

As for the point the world revolves around, that would generally be the point where the speaker is standing. To each person (in a broad, general sense) the world revolves around where they live. The exceptions are the people who are trying to accomplish things in parts of the world where they are not present. In India, I imagine the world halfway revolves around India, and halfway around the U.S., considering how many phone tech and customer support centers have been outsourced there... they are on the phone with the U.S. for a huge part of their waking hours (the people working those jobs there, not all people in India).

Likewise, there are parts of China where the world revolves around Japan.


del_b_vista
Posted 08 May 2006 at 03:41 pm

Anthony Kendall said: "A physicist investigating the science of baseball is very likely doing so in his spare time. Academic scientists really are usually "under contract" to produce research related to the grants and other sources of funding they receive. I doubt that there are many grants to physicists related to baseball research.

I think a physicist ought to have time to his or her diversions, just like everyone else. After all, perhaps those physicists are not fond of gardening or cooking, and need something to do in the evenings. During the day they cannot because they are far too busy trying to find that Theory of Everything."

Actually, there is funding for studying things like this from the sporting goods industry. My college's aerospace engineering department had a contract to study aluminum baseball and softball bats. They built a gun to fire balls at bats and developed ways to study the impacts.


WolfManDragon
Posted 22 June 2006 at 12:20 pm

I love the section of the article that says "All of this study of the physics of baseball date back to the 1950’s when wind tunnel experiments proved that curve balls really do curve." I'm a science major and it still amazes me how many scientists have to see the simplest thing proved in the lab to believe it.

For the record, there is such a thing as a rising fast ball. It only takes getting hit by one to make a beleiver out of one.


Eliot
Posted 27 July 2007 at 04:40 am

alipardiwala said: "Americans seem to think the world revolves around them. This article says baseball is the most scientifically studied, how the hell do you know? Football ('Soccer' as americans call it because football in america means american football which uses more 'hands' and 'throwing' than 'foot') is the worlds most popular sport, all of Europe, South America and Africa play the game as their primary sport, with the rest of the world playing it secondarily. even the players study every aspect of how to make the ball swing in the air. Cricket, which is played predominantly in the South Asian subcontinent and Oceana, is watched and studied by at least a billion people, which in case you didnt know, is 3 times as many people as there are in the USA. Even a taxi driver in India will know all the physics of cricket.

This reminds me of how the first world war was called a 'world' war even though there were only 6 countries fighting, Europe in those days considered themselves to be the entire world. It looks like its happening to america now. Whatever they think and do seems to be what goes. Get your facts and statistics right, consider the rest of the world before you come up with more stuff like this."

Why do I come across so many raving diatribes on this subject? Nobody is disputing that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. After seeing all these pointless debates on whether soccer or football is the “correct” word, I am convinced that people will argue just about anything along nationalist boundaries. Believe or not, they're both correct, so there's no reason to get bent out of shape because somebody uses a different word than you.

I cannot verify the article's claim that baseball is the world's most studied sport, but I certainly wouldn't count it out. There has been pretty massive research done not only on the physics of the game, but also involving statistical analysis. The last several years, baseball has really innovated the use of extensive advanced statistics, and that has started to spread to other sports including soccer as seen below.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/story/0,,2002909,00.html

It is also in baseball where fantasy sports originated and various medical procedures have been pioneered.


ShowerRockGod
Posted 11 February 2009 at 01:12 pm

Honestly, soccer has been kinda ruined for me by all the damn violence you see at every game. I'm not talking just about the riots that end up on clip shows. Even at a 'normal' game you gotta look out for goons who support the other team attacking you in the street! People in other contries just take it too damn seriously for my tastes. I even saw a newspaper from some South American country (Brazil I think) claiming that the 'foot of Jesus' came down and helped thier team during a game. That is some hardcore fandom my friends.


RioGrandeValley
Posted 23 October 2009 at 10:17 pm

Is it better to be right handed than left handed? And would it make a difference if you were left brained or right brained. Or wet brained when it is really from dehydration? and does it even apply


Marian
Posted 30 August 2012 at 12:38 pm

What is "baseball"? Is it some barbaric kind of cricket enjoyed by peasants in the colonies?


Shell
Posted 16 August 2014 at 01:25 am

A rising fastball doesn't actually rise, it just doesn't drop as quickly as the batter expects/wind tunnel tests prove a curveball really does curve.

Hmmm...which is it?

My father played fast pitch softball in the 1950s and '60s when it was a popular sport for adults. He was a pitcher. After he left the game and I was in my teens we would play catch in the backyard and sometimes he would feel loose enough to "air it out" like he once had. He could make the ball curve up, down, left, or right (riser, drop, curve, screwball), and his knuckleball corkscrewed (as WolfManDragon mentioned) its way to the plate, then dropped and broke either left or right (never knew which) as it crossed the plate.

I remember reading a story, I think from the 1930s or '40s, about a scientist who stated that a curveball doesn't really curve, its appearing to is just an optical illusion. A major league pitcher of the era was asked what he thought of the assertion and replied, "If he'll stand behind a tree sixty feet and six inches from me I'll whomp him to death with an optical illusion."

Great article and comments.


END OF COMMENTS
Add Your Comment

Note: Your email address will not be published. Anonymous comments are more likely to be held for moderation. You can optionally register or login.

You may use basic formatting HTML such as <i>, <b>, and <blockquote>.