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The Physics of Baseball

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Nick Jacobson

on 28 May 2015

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Transcript of The Physics of Baseball

The Origins of Baseball
Baseball was invented in America as a hybrid between cricket and rounders.
The true creator of the game is unknown, however, Alexander Joy Cartwright is credited with creating the rules.
Legend states that Abner Doubleday created baseball but their is no real evidence to suggest this other than word of mouth.
How they work.
There is also an amazing amount of physics involved in the bat-ball collision.
Baseball bats flex upon impact with the ball (as shown with the picture to the right)
This flex causes a slingshot like force that shoots the ball back in the direction it came from
Newton's 3rd Law
This idea of the ball going back in the direction from whence it came explains the idea of Newton's 3rd Law.
Newton's 3rd Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Thus, the ball making contact with the bat applies a force to the bat and vice versa.
The speed at which a base runner makes his way to the next base is how many feet he ran divided by the number of seconds he took to get there (feet/second). In the graph on the right, the runner's speed is measured as 10 ft/sec across the board since he jogged a
The way a baserunner's body moves is in that of a parabola.
The center of their body does exactly that and the angle of their feet as they take each step follows suit. (Graph on the right) ------>>>>
This depicts Newton's 3rd Law stating that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Thus the foot and the ground follow this concept.
Baseball Bats
By Bertin Perez, Nick Jacobson, & Anthony Walters
The Physics of Baseball
Little did these men realize that the science of physics was all around this theoretically new game...
The physics of pitching is all in the rotation, or spin, of the baseball.
The pitcher has the most control over the spin of the ball than any other sport.
After leaving the pitchers hand the baseball is affected by three different forces: drag, The Magnus Force, and gravity

Arm Angle and Trajectory to Fool a Hitter
Forces In Action
As the ball is hit, the ballplayer begins his motion. He accelerates by pushing off the ground with his feet until his velocity is at a maximum. He then dives meeting the ball at the apex of a triangular path created by the movement of the ball and the fielder. During the dive, the air resistance and force of friction cause his velocity to decelerate down to a speed of zero. At this point, he gets up, opposing the force of gravity, and accelerates his arm forward, propelling the ball to the first baseman. One out.
What parts of physics are involved in baseball? What kinds of forces do you believe are at work in the game of baseball?
The Magnus Force
The Magnus Force determines the trajectory of the ball.
The Magnus force describes the imbalance of air flow passed a spinning ball, when a ball spins air is forced to move faster in the direction of the spin.
A faster flow results in lower air density and causes the ball to move in that direction

Drag Force
MLB Statcast
MLB Statcast is a brand new feature that professional baseball has implemented to keep more physics based stats. For example, Statcast can do things like calculate the distance a ball will fly based upon the trajectory of it's flight path. This along with many other stats, such as ball exit velocity off of a bat, hang time, and even curveball rotational speed, allow for a much deeper look into the sciences behind America's Pastime.
Tustin Baseball Pics
MLB.com explains their new system of Physics related stats. It's called Statcast. "Statcast collects the data using a series of high-resolution optical cameras along with radar equipment that has been installed in all 30 Major League ballparks. The technology precisely tracks the location and movements of the ball and every player on the field at any given time," writes Paul Casella.
Thank You

This is the air friction encountered by a ball in flight. Air acts just like a fluid which impedes the balls path.
As soon as the pitch is thrown, air works against the ball to slow it down.
The stitches on a baseball are not for decoration, they break up the air flow which reduces the drag and allows the ball to travel further.
Sounds complicated, but all you need to know is that a ball's flight path is determined by its rotation
The force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass.
What goes up, must come down!
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