View Full Version : Article on What Pitches Do

ws05champs

04-21-2006, 10:34 AM

Found an interesting article that explains why it is extremely difficult to hit major league pitching.

http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/060420_baseball_perception.html

It also talks about why fielders have difficulty catching balls.

Madvora

04-21-2006, 10:40 AM

I can't get that link to work

soxfan13

04-21-2006, 10:40 AM

Very intersting on the rising fastball

Ol' No. 2

04-21-2006, 10:41 AM

Good article. Hawk was right.

:hawk It's all about late movement.

As legendary hitting coach Charlie Lau once said, "There are two theories on hitting a knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither of them works.":roflmao:

ILuvThatDuck

04-21-2006, 11:06 AM

Bob Uecker sid it best when asked how to catch a knuckle-baller.

"Wait until it stops rolling and pick it up":D:

SBSoxFan

04-21-2006, 11:26 AM

"In the last few feet before the plate, the ball reaches an angular velocity that exceeds the ability of the eye to track the ball," :?:

Not too sure about that; the ball should have its greatest velocity (angular or otherwise) just after it leaves the pitchers hand, not when it gets near the plate.

SBSoxFan

04-21-2006, 11:27 AM

Does this mean A-row was just really bad at geometry?

ilsox7

04-21-2006, 11:29 AM

:?:

Not too sure about that; the ball should have its greatest velocity (angular or otherwise) just after it leaves the pitchers hand, not when it gets near the plate.

Greatest velocity and angular velocity are not the same. Therefore, just b/c the ball may be at its greatest velocity at the time it leaves a pitcher's hand does not mean it will be at its angular velocity at the same time. I am not well versed i nangular velocity, but from what I do know it certainly seems possible that what was stated previously is true.

scottjanssens

04-21-2006, 11:29 AM

:?:

Not too sure about that; the ball should have its greatest velocity (angular or otherwise) just after it leaves the pitchers hand, not when it gets near the plate.

It's misworded (in a science article, I'm shocked!). They're talking about the eye's inability to rotate quick enough as the ball approaches the plate.

gobears1987

04-21-2006, 11:35 AM

that bit on the curve ball and how you don't see the final feet is exactly why BMac and Jenks are so effective. They both have amazing breaking stuff.

nedlug

04-21-2006, 11:36 AM

It's misworded (in a science article, I'm shocked!). They're talking about the eye's inability to rotate quick enough as the ball approaches the plate.

Not misworded, just talking about the angular velocity of the ball from the perspective of the eye. The ball's angular velocity from the perspective of the eye is increasing throughout the entire pitch, and thus, the eye must rotate faster and faster to keep up with the ball as the pitch approaches home plate. This doesn't mean that the speed of the ball is increasing, however.

Man, that's what 4 years of engineering school does to me, I guess.

SBSoxFan

04-21-2006, 11:37 AM

Greatest velocity and angular velocity are not the same. Therefore, just b/c the ball may be at its greatest velocity at the time it leaves a pitcher's hand does not mean it will be at its angular velocity at the same time. I am not well versed i nangular velocity, but from what I do know it certainly seems possible that what was stated previously is true.

The only velocity that can increase is the downward velocity of the ball due to gravity, which is why a faster fastball will drop less than a slower fastball. The lateral and vertical speeds of the ball are independent. The only way the angular velocity could increase is if gravity also affects the spin. I don't think it does, but I'm not sure.

I'd be more inclined to agree with the previous poster that the wording was a little "off."

I have a book titled "The Physics of Baseball", but haven't looked at it in awhile.

SBSoxFan

04-21-2006, 11:40 AM

Not misworded, just talking about the angular velocity of the ball from the perspective of the eye.

I agree, but that wasn't stated clearly in the article.

Man, that's what 4 years of engineering school does to me, I guess.

4? Hell, you should try like 14!

ilsox7

04-21-2006, 11:41 AM

I'll let the engineers take over from here... :D:

Iwritecode

04-21-2006, 11:45 AM

Any pro would tell you that the hardest ball to catch is a line drive smoked right at them. Sure, there's the fear that it might put a dent in your forehead, but it's the lack of visual information that makes the ball difficult to judge.

Somehow this doesn't make sense to me. I always thought line drives were difficult because you barely have time to react.

Konerko doesn't seem to have a problem catching the line drives that Crede and Uribe throw at him all day long. Of course he knows the ball is going to be coming at him...

peeonwrigley

04-21-2006, 11:46 AM

http://www.luminomagazine.com/2004.10/spotlight/nerds/images/ogre/ogre2.jpg

NERRRRRRRRRRRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

batmanZoSo

04-21-2006, 11:49 AM

I'm no major leaguer and definitely not a physicist, but hitting a baseball is really an amazing feat when you think about it. It's pretty much guess work because you can't follow that little ball moving so fast at you. You're really just hacking at it. If you look at pictures during or right before point of contact, you can usually see the player isn't even looking at the ball.

peeonwrigley

04-21-2006, 11:52 AM

I'm no major leaguer and definitely not a physicist, but hitting a baseball is really an amazing feat when you think about it. It's pretty much guess work because you can't follow that little ball moving so fast at you. You're really just hacking at it. If you look at pictures during or right before point of contact, you can usually see the player isn't even looking at the ball.

In physics class (either HS or freshman year of college, can't remember) our teacher showed us an article that "proved" with the laws of physics that it is impossible to hit a 90 mph fastball. It was pretty cool.

SBSoxFan

04-21-2006, 11:57 AM

I'm no major leaguer and definitely not a physicist, but hitting a baseball is really an amazing feat when you think about it. It's pretty much guess work because you can't follow that little ball moving so fast at you. You're really just hacking at it.

It sure is, and it's one of the reasons I love this game!

A 90 mph fastball travels 60'6" in 0.46 seconds. So you have even less time than that to even decide to swing. :o: In addition, you have to hit a round ball with a round object. Compare that to a tennis racket --- not a lot of surface area there.

If you look at pictures during or right before point of contact, you can usually see the player isn't even looking at the ball.

Then why is everyone always told to have "the head down on contact."?

batmanZoSo

04-21-2006, 12:06 PM

It sure is, and it's one of the reasons I love this game!

A 90 mph fastball travels 60'6" in 0.46 seconds. So you have even less time than that to even decide to swing. :o: In addition, you have to hit a round ball with a round object. Compare that to a tennis racket --- not a lot of surface area there.

Then why is everyone always told to have "the head down on contact."?

Head down, yeah, but that doesn't mean the eyes are on the ball. Like the article said, the best hitters can track a fastball to within 5 or 6 feet of the plate. And still frames of point of contact prove that. You can see the ball on the bat, but the eyes haven't "caught up" to the ball.

batmanZoSo

04-21-2006, 12:08 PM

In physics class (either HS or freshman year of college, can't remember) our teacher showed us an article that "proved" with the laws of physics that it is impossible to hit a 90 mph fastball. It was pretty cool.

Impossible for a physicist, I'm certain of it. :cool:

daveeym

04-21-2006, 12:09 PM

Just like with everything else though, the human brain cheats. The more repetition you have the better it gets at cheating. The eyes may not be able to keep up but your brain is basically doing a trajectory analysis ala the alien in Predator.

Jaffar

04-21-2006, 12:39 PM

So the next time you see a player for taking a lazy, jogging approach to catch a fly ball, you should praise him for his math skills rather than blasting him for not hustling.

I wish I had this article in high school........apparently I'm a better outfielder than what I've been told......lol I still take those lazy jogging approaches in softball so it's good to know I've been doing it right all these years. That was an interesting read although I was hoping it was going to be longer.

batmanZoSo

04-21-2006, 12:43 PM

I wish I had this article in high school........apparently I'm a better outfielder than what I've been told......lol I still take those lazy jogging approaches in softball so it's good to know I've been doing it right all these years. That was an interesting read although I was hoping it was going to be longer.

There's nothing lazy about it. You have to move gradually and do the calculations as you follow the ball. That's the only way to catch a fly. Any coach who tells you to run, stop and wait is a moron. You don't have a yellow X where the balls going to land like you do in a video game...

Ol' No. 2

04-21-2006, 01:10 PM

Not misworded, just talking about the angular velocity of the ball from the perspective of the eye. The ball's angular velocity from the perspective of the eye is increasing throughout the entire pitch, and thus, the eye must rotate faster and faster to keep up with the ball as the pitch approaches home plate. This doesn't mean that the speed of the ball is increasing, however.

Man, that's what 4 years of engineering school does to me, I guess.Like this? :nuts:

The angular velocity is in the plane. Maybe the best way to think about this is if you consider facing directly at the plate to be zero degrees and the pitcher is 90 degrees left (halfway to -pi in the figure below). The angular velocity is the change in degrees of angle (theta) per second. For a constant linear velocity, the angular velocity apparent to the batter is proportional to the square of the cosine of the angle from zero. It's lowest when the pitcher releases the ball and reaches its maximum when the ball crosses the plate (zero degrees).

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/images/eps-gif/Cos_500.gif

Let:

D=distance from batter to center of plate

x=distance of ball from plate

x = D tan(theta)

linear velocity = V = dx/dt = D sec^2(theta) d(theta)/dt

Solving for angular velocity, d(theta)/dt:

d(theta)dt = V cos^2(theta) / D

FedEx227

04-21-2006, 02:25 PM

I better get college credit for reading this thread.

VivaOzzie

04-21-2006, 05:52 PM

Like this? :nuts:

The angular velocity is in the plane. Maybe the best way to think about this is if you consider facing directly at the plate to be zero degrees and the pitcher is 90 degrees left (halfway to -pi in the figure below). The angular velocity is the change in degrees of angle (theta) per second. For a constant linear velocity, the angular velocity apparent to the batter is proportional to the square of the cosine of the angle from zero. It's lowest when the pitcher releases the ball and reaches its maximum when the ball crosses the plate (zero degrees).

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/images/eps-gif/Cos_500.gif

Let:

D=distance from batter to center of plate

x=distance of ball from plate

x = D tan(theta)

linear velocity = V = dx/dt = D sec^2(theta) d(theta)/dt

Solving for angular velocity, d(theta)/dt:

d(theta)dt = V cos^2(theta) / D

So the angular velocity they are talking about is the ball's angular velocity in relation the the batter, right? The angular velocity of the ball itself would be how fast a point on the ball is spinning in relation to the ball's center (which could not increase unless acted upon by another force).

JohnBasedowYoda

04-21-2006, 06:19 PM

:?:

Not too sure about that; the ball should have its greatest velocity (angular or otherwise) just after it leaves the pitchers hand, not when it gets near the plate.

I think the author is referring to as the ball gets closer to the eye, the faster the eye has to move in order to track the ball. When it gets a few feet away it's moving too fast for your eye to track at such a short distance. Kind of like when you see a jet in the distance, it looks like it's moving slow. But if it were 5 feet in front of you, well that's another story.

I was watching a show on the BBC a few weeks ago and they were talking about the same thing. But instead of using the baseball analogy they used soccer. Apparently if you're trying to score you should try and put some "english" on the ball so the goalie has a hard time seeing the ball. Much like a curveball and Juan Uribe.

Ol' No. 2

04-21-2006, 11:12 PM

So the angular velocity they are talking about is the ball's angular velocity in relation the the batter, right? The angular velocity of the ball itself would be how fast a point on the ball is spinning in relation to the ball's center (which could not increase unless acted upon by another force).Correct. And strictly speaking, he was using the wrong terminology. Angular velocity and momentum normally refers to a spinning object, as you described.

SBSoxFan

04-22-2006, 10:00 AM

The angular velocity of the ball itself would be how fast a point on the ball is spinning in relation to the ball's center (which could not increase unless acted upon by another force).

The angular velocity of the ball is the speed at which a reference frame at the ball's center is rotating, measured in radians or degrees per second or revolutions per minute (rpm). Other points on the ball have two components of velocity, normal which is directed towards the center of the ball, and tangential which is perpendicular to the normal direction (tangent to the direction of the curved surface of travel) as shown in the figure.

If you think about a rotating wheel (or a vinyl record for you old timers which played at 33-1/3, 45, and 78 rpm), its angular velocity is the speed (and direction) at which it is rotating. Points away from the center of the wheel have to move at speeds which always keep them the same distance apart. If you think about some points along one spoke of the wheel, this means that a point on the rim has to have a greater tangential velocity than a point closer to the center. Tangential velocity is given by v_t = r * w, where r is the distance from the wheel's center to the point in question and w is the angular velocity of the wheel. Since a point nearer the rim has more distance to travel in the same amount of time to "keep up" with the other points on the same spoke closer to the wheel's center, it has to have a greater velocity as shown by r * w, where r increases as you move away from the wheel's center.

If you've ever placed a penny on a vinyl record and turned it on to 78 rpm, the penny will fly off. It's the same thing that can happen if you are riding a merry-go-round. To explain this phenomenon, people made up centrifigal force --- a force directed away from the center of rotation. It's a ficticious force since it isn't a force at all that causes the motion, but is rather a product of moving in a circle. The force that actually keeps you moving in a circle actually points towards the center.

buehrle4cy05

04-22-2006, 10:55 AM

This thread has completely gone over my head.:wink:

0o0o0

04-22-2006, 11:32 AM

This thread has completely gone over my head.:wink:

Must have been a rising fastball then :cool:

VivaOzzie

04-22-2006, 05:35 PM

The angular velocity of the ball is the speed at which a reference frame at the ball's center is rotating, measured in radians or degrees per second or revolutions per minute (rpm). Other points on the ball have two components of velocity, normal which is directed towards the center of the ball, and tangential which is perpendicular to the normal direction (tangent to the direction of the curved surface of travel) as shown in the figure.

If you think about a rotating wheel (or a vinyl record for you old timers which played at 33-1/3, 45, and 78 rpm), its angular velocity is the speed (and direction) at which it is rotating. Points away from the center of the wheel have to move at speeds which always keep them the same distance apart. If you think about some points along one spoke of the wheel, this means that a point on the rim has to have a greater tangential velocity than a point closer to the center. Tangential velocity is given by v_t = r * w, where r is the distance from the wheel's center to the point in question and w is the angular velocity of the wheel. Since a point nearer the rim has more distance to travel in the same amount of time to "keep up" with the other points on the same spoke closer to the wheel's center, it has to have a greater velocity as shown by r * w, where r increases as you move away from the wheel's center.

If you've ever placed a penny on a vinyl record and turned it on to 78 rpm, the penny will fly off. It's the same thing that can happen if you are riding a merry-go-round. To explain this phenomenon, people made up centrifigal force --- a force directed away from the center of rotation. It's a ficticious force since it isn't a force at all that causes the motion, but is rather a product of moving in a circle. The force that actually keeps you moving in a circle actually points towards the center.

That normal velocity in the diagram should actually be normal acceleration. If there were 2 vector components of velocity like that, the result would be a diagonal veocity, between the two vectors, in a straight line. For circular motion, there is a tangential velocity and an inward, contstant, acceleration.

SBSoxFan

04-24-2006, 09:52 AM

That normal velocity in the diagram should actually be normal acceleration. If there were 2 vector components of velocity like that, the result would be a diagonal veocity, between the two vectors, in a straight line. For circular motion, there is a tangential velocity and an inward, contstant, acceleration.

Yep. Thanks for correcting me. :redface:

I vote we submit this thread to wikipedia! :D:

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