Author Topic: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics  (Read 1051 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online imref

  • Posts: 18850
  • 1B: The New Hot Corner
Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Topic Start: October 14, 2010, 06:47:28 PM »
Interesting article:

http://www.rdmag.com/News/2010/10/Physics-Breaking-curveball-too-good-to-be-true/
Quote
Curveballs curve and fastballs go really fast, but new research suggests that no pitcher can make a curveball “break” or a fastball “rise.”

Led by Arthur Shapiro of American University and Zhong-Lin Lu of USC College, the researchers reveal the illusion of the curveball’s break in a study in the journal PLoS ONE.

The study comes a year after the same group won the prize for best illusion at the Vision Sciences annual meeting with a demonstration of how an object falling in a straight line can seem to change direction (http://illusioncontest.neuralcorrelate.com/2009/the-break-of-the-curveball/).

That demonstration led to debates among baseball fans over the existence of the break in curveballs, breaking balls, and sliders.

There is no debate in the researchers’ minds.

“The curveball does curve, but the curve has been measured and shown to be gradual,” Shapiro said. “It’s always going to follow a parabolic path. But from a hitter’s point of view, an approaching ball can appear to break, drop or do a whole range of unusual behaviors.”


Offline PANatsFan

  • Posts: 37221
  • dogs in uncensored, nudes in gameday
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #1: October 14, 2010, 07:21:14 PM »
This means that kinesiologists should be able to design the perfect grip and arm angles for a give pitch outcome. I love quantifying things!

Offline The Chief

  • Posts: 30151
    • http://www.wnff.net
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #2: October 14, 2010, 07:39:39 PM »
I guess it's interesting from an academic standpoint, but from a baseball standpoint - who cares?  Obviously the illusion/fooling the batter is the whole point, so it doesn't really matter if the break/rise is "real" or not.

Offline PANatsFan

  • Posts: 37221
  • dogs in uncensored, nudes in gameday
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #3: October 14, 2010, 09:12:15 PM »
Damn, I guess you have me on ignore.

Offline The Chief

  • Posts: 30151
    • http://www.wnff.net
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #4: October 14, 2010, 09:34:58 PM »
? I don't see what your post had to do with mine.

Offline PANatsFan

  • Posts: 37221
  • dogs in uncensored, nudes in gameday
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #5: October 14, 2010, 09:39:27 PM »
? I don't see what your post had to do with mine.


If my theory is correct, you could create programs to teach people how to throw a certain pitch to a certain place. It could take the guesswork out of pitching. But yeah, it's probably theoretical at best. I'm not very practical :hammer:

Offline Nick the Pig

  • Posts: 319
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #6: October 15, 2010, 01:31:33 PM »
Seems like every few years another physicist claims that baseballs don't curve.  I always get a chuckle out of it.

The only way a baseball would follow a parabolic path is if it was thrown in a vaccuum.

They're right about fastballs not rising, though.  But the more backspin you put on it, the less it will drop, giving it the illusion of "rising".

Online blue911

  • Posts: 17470
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #7: October 15, 2010, 02:02:36 PM »
Not one of these eggheads ever faced Nolan Ryan  :stir:

Offline PANatsFan

  • Posts: 37221
  • dogs in uncensored, nudes in gameday
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #8: October 15, 2010, 02:05:39 PM »
Seems like every few years another physicist claims that baseballs don't curve.  I always get a chuckle out of it.

The only way a baseball would follow a parabolic path is if it was thrown in a vaccuum.

They're right about fastballs not rising, though.  But the more backspin you put on it, the less it will drop, giving it the illusion of "rising".


Again, they understand air resistance, etc., and can certainly solve the problem with graduate mechanics and describe the exact path. But the average reader needs to hear parabolic.

Online blue911

  • Posts: 17470
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #9: October 15, 2010, 02:16:09 PM »
Again, they understand air resistance, etc., and can certainly solve the problem with graduate mechanics and describe the exact path. But the average reader needs to hear parabolic.

I could go the rest of my life without hearing parabolic, thank you.

Offline PANatsFan

  • Posts: 37221
  • dogs in uncensored, nudes in gameday
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #10: October 15, 2010, 02:17:09 PM »
I could go the rest of my life without hearing parabolic, thank you.


Aren't you a Directv fanboy?

Online blue911

  • Posts: 17470
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #11: October 15, 2010, 02:17:45 PM »

Aren't you a Directv fanboy?

No. Tin foil on rabbit ears

Offline Nick the Pig

  • Posts: 319
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #12: October 15, 2010, 02:27:34 PM »
Again, they understand air resistance, etc., and can certainly solve the problem with graduate mechanics and describe the exact path. But the average reader needs to hear parabolic.


I'd sure hope that they understand air resistance, but they're throwing basic aerodynamics (lift & drag) right out the window.

The basic principles are the same as a golf ball in flight.  There's some great graphs here:

http://www.golf-simulators.com/physics.htm

Here's a parabolic path, with no aerodynamic effects:



Here's the path(s) a golf ball takes depending on the amount of backspin:


Offline Kevrock

  • Posts: 11955
  • Troll So Hard University
Re: Curveballs, Fastballs and Physics
« Reply #13: October 15, 2010, 03:04:45 PM »
This means that kinesiologists should be able to design the perfect grip and arm angles for a give pitch outcome. I love quantifying things!

If my theory is correct, you could create programs to teach people how to throw a certain pitch to a certain place. It could take the guesswork out of pitching. But yeah, it's probably theoretical at best. I'm not very practical :hammer:

Well, no two bodies, two arms, two hands are exactly the same. You can't clone pitching motions.

And, if you believe the NPA/Tom House/most pitching coaches nowadays, you can't try to clone arm action from one pitcher to another without increased risk of injury.

However, any attempt to quantify something like this sure would be interesting. Think about how much goes into a pitch:
-arm action/arm path
-arm speed
-wrist break
-grip, including position of the ball in the hand and pressure applied to the ball
-release point
-the angle of the elbow and wrist
-the physical attributes of the pitcher including height and arm
-and plenty I'm not thinking of

I have no idea how you could begin to quantify the perfect way to throw a pitch.

You'd also have to decide how to define a perfect pitch. The definition would likely change from pitcher to pitcher depending on the rest of his pitch arsenal. For example, a Mariano Rivera cutter is so effective because halfway to the plate everything has still looked like a Mariano Rivera fastball -- arm slot, pitch position, etc. If Stephen Strasburg threw a Mariano Rivera cutter, his arm slot would be different and batters wouldn't be fooled.