Physics of Baseball
Physics of Baseball
The sport of baseball has been around for over two hundred years, roughly since the 1800s. Invented by a man named Alexander Cartwright. It is known as “Americas past time. ” Baseball is the national sport of the USA. The first baseball game played was in New York on June 19, 1845. And is played by thousands of people throughout the years. Much like any sport, it has changed with time. The first rulebook of baseball was issued in 1877. And it has been changing every year since then. It has molded with society.
It is said that each baseball game has 12,386,344 possible plays. Thus making it almost unpredictable as to what will happen during those nine innings. To begin with, it has been said that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do out of all known sports. The two main factors of hitting a ball in baseball is the angle you swing the bat and the speed at which the ball is hit. When the ball makes contact with the bat it has a force up to eight thousand pounds. As for the ball, it becomes ? of it’s original size due to the force impacted on it.
This process happens so quickly that the ball only makes contact with the bat for approximately 1/1000th of a second! A few key factors that also affect the equation to nailing the perfect swing are: wind speed, the air temperature, the weathers humidity level, and the altitude of where the ball game is being held. When using aluminum baseball bats there is a “sweet spot” which causes the trampoline effect. The trampoline effect is when the ball quickly bounces off the bat and the ball speed is accelerated. The NCAA has invented a new type of bat that essentially eliminates the trampoline effect.
Batting is not only a learned skill, but for those who excel at it, it becomes an art form. “I don’t like to sound egotistical, but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the pitcher” Said by Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby. Batting is no doubt the most important aspect of the game, being the only way to score runs. It’s the only way there can be a winner! Secondly, there is pitching the second most important aspect of the game. To throw the perfect pitch you have to practice having an excellent windup.
This is called the sequential summation of movement. Shifting his weight in his legs and hips, then thrusting his upper body forward are the beginning steps. This can generate roughly three-horsepower, this power moves through the pitchers shoulders, arms, wrist and fingers. When the pitch is released it has about one and a half horsepower. But as soon as the ball is released air friction starts slowing it down at about one mile per hour per every seven feet. And the ball has to travel sixty feet and six inches to the pitcher to the plate.
The actual speed of a pitch at release point is known as the muzzle velocity. It is said that taller pitchers have more of an advantage because, they can release a ball with less force but it would have the same velocity as a shorter pitcher. “Mental attitude and concentration are the keys to pitching,” stated by Ferguson Jenkins. Next, there is fielding a fly ball. One of the key components to good fielding is being able to calculate the vertical and lateral velocity very quickly. Also known as being able to tell where it is going to fall so they can be there to catch it.
After the ball is struck, it takes an outfielder on average a half second to judge if the ball is going to fall to the left or the right. But if the ball is hit straight at him, the trajectory will not be clear for about two seconds. This is because speed and height changes are imperceptible within the first second. An experienced outfielder watches the pitch closely, examines the swing of the batter, and listens to the crack of the ball hitting the bat to determine where he needs to be to catch the ball. Physics can help calculate where the ball may fly too, but practice and experience are the only things that will help a player catch it.
In conclusion, hitting, pitching and fielding are the most important aspects of the game. Hitting takes a trained eye, and lots of mental toughness. Pitching takes certain finesse, as well as trained coronation. And as for fielding, skilled calculation and experience will get you far. “It’s pitching, hitting, and defense that wins. Any two can win. But all three make you unbeatable” said by Joe Garagiola. Baseball is full of complexities, but practice and determination will push you to the top. Baseball is more than just a game is it an equation. And every player is a mathematician.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 25 November 2016
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