The Physics Behind Baseball Essay Sample

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Not all sports have physics involved, right? Wrong, all sports have a science to them, but the hard part is understanding the physics. One specific sport has more physics than them all. Baseball is game that has been played since the 1700s and according to “The 10 Best of Everything”, a National Geographic book, the World Series is number 9 for world’s most popular sporting event below the Wimbledon. Baseball is a game of physics and skill. All positions have a science behind them such as pitching, batting, and playing third base.

On every major league baseball field, the pitcher’s mound is 60 ft. 6 in. away from home plate. The average pitch is around 90 mph. A complex mechanic to get the ball across the plate is fueled by the knowledge of physics. As said by “The Physics of Baseball: Pitching”, a Discovery Channel video, the first thing of pitching is called the sequential summation of movement which is the large body mass moving first followed by progressively smaller body masses. In the pitcher’s windup, or pitching motion, an average of 3 horsepower is generated. Out of those 3 horsepower, only 1.5 horsepower is given to the ball. After the ball is released, it slows down roughly 1 mph every 7 ft. One way to generate this power is to have a longer wingspan. In the pitching battle, the taller pitcher has the advantage because a longer arm means more angular momentum. More momentum results in a faster pitch, either striking the batter out or giving up a run.

The only way to hit the ball as a batter is to see the pitch swing. Stated by Charles Carlson, a writer who works with Exploratorium, by the time the ball has traveled about 12 ft., he has a good visual fix on the ball. He has also decided what type of pitch it is. This leaves the ball 48 ft. 6 in. away. If the batter is going to swing, he is to start when the ball is between 25 and 30 ft. away from the front of home plate. From there, the batter only has roughly 250 milliseconds until the ball reaches him. If the batter times the ball a few milliseconds off, it could result in a foul ball. Hitting a homerun isn’t all that easy as it seams.

Ninety-Five feet away from home plate is third base. According to “Sports Science: The Science of Third Base”, a show on Sports Center, the ball reaches home plate from the pitcher’s hand in about 395 milliseconds. The ball comes off the bat at 120 mph and reaches third base in half a second. That means that the ball leaves the pitchers hand and arrives at third base in less than a second. When the ball arrives at third base, the fielder has less than 5 seconds to field the ball and throw out the runner running 15 mph to first base 120 feet away. To get the runner out, the fielder must throw an 80 mph fling to get the runner out by an average of .15 seconds. That only gives the third baseman a less than 2 second margin for error. There really is an equation to throwing the runner out sprinting to first base.

Although some people may play many sports without knowing the physics behind it, there always is. Without physics, nothing would be pitched and nothing would be hit, there would be no sports. Everything that we do from playing with a yo-yo to launching a rocket into the air requires the laws of physics. No matter what sport we play or what we do there is no escaping the science of life.

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