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Physics of Baseball - Part 4 of 4

Much of the research into the Physics of Baseball relies upon the statistical analysis of a wealth of data provided by the open-source StatCast program (see https://baseballsavant.mlb.com). The statistical aspect of this research is what interests the authors of the Five Thirty Eight website. The website is built on the premise that statistical analysis of reliable data leads to insightful conclusions in the fields of politics, sports, science, health, and more. When it comes to statistical analysis, Five Thirty Eight is one of the major players in town. And so what better source for understanding current trends in baseball that have a scientific underpinning.

In our final post of this Physics of Baseball series, we feature an article from Five Thirty Eight proposes a statistical model for success in hitting. Titled "The New Science of Hitting", the article looks at the role of bat exit speed and bat exit angle in optimizing a hit ball. Enjoy the analysis at ...

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-new-science-of-hitting/
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Physics of Baseball - Part 3 of 4

In the last post of our 4-part Physics of Baseball series, we pondered Dr. Nathan's explanation of the observed and dramatic increase (24% more) in home runs during the first half of the Major League baseball season. Nathan's studies of the data ruled out possible atmospheric effects and attributed the increase to a rather small increase in the exit speed of the ball off the bat. The exit speed increased approximately 1.5 mph, leading to a greater percentage of balls clearing the outfield fence. Of course this data has led many baseball enthusiasts to ponder the possibility of a "juiced ball" phenomenon. In fact, Ben Lindbergh and Rob Arthur ponder this question in their article "Are Juiced Balls the New Steroids." Enjoy their take on this ongoing debate at ...

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/are-juiced-balls-the-new-steroids/
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Physics of Baseball - Part 2 of 4

Now here's a good one for baseball fans and physics fans alike. The number of home runs during the first half of the 2016 Major League Baseball season showed a noticeable increase. This increased caused many researchers to ponder the reason. Baseball researcher and physics professor Alan Nathan from the University of Illinois takes a deep dive into the reason for this "out-of-the-park" statistic. His claim is that "this increase can mostly be accounted for by an increase batted ball exit speed for balls hit in the angular range 200-350, the 'sweet spot' for home runs."

Of course this observation only leads to the question as to why was there such an increase in batted ball exit speeds? Dr. Nathan rolls up his sleeves and tackles this question in his article published in Harball Times on July 18, 2016. See what Dr. Nathan has to say at ...

http://www.hardballtimes.com/exit-speed-and-home-runs/
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Physics of Baseball - Part 1 of 4

It's not exactly the time of year to rev up an interest in baseball. But with the World Series approaching and a new school term starting, baseball offers physics teachers great opportunity to call attention to the "Physics is Everywhere" theme. When you watch a game of baseball, you are watching a display of physics. Whether its the curve of the ball, the smack of the batt on the ball, the flight of the ball through the air, or the path of the runner around the bases, the sum of all activity in baseball is a display of numerous principles of physics. And that is one reason why we find so many Physics of Baseball sites on the Internet. So over the next couple of weeks, we will run 4 posts that pertain to the Physics of Baseball.

Today we feature one popular Physics of Baseball site ... a site developed by educator and physics researcher Professor Dan Russell. Dr Russell is a professor of acoustics (the physics of sound) and one of his research interests is the physics of the ball-bat collision. His website is filled with summaries of his numerous research projects and understandable data-based discussions of a wealth of questions. We think that pages provide a great opportunity to expose our physics teachers to interesting inquiry questions and the value of scientific research to answer them. Enjoy Dr. Russell's work at ...

http://www.acs.psu.edu/drussell/bats.html
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The Physics of a Phenom

In 2010, The New York Times published a short infographic on the physics of Washington National's pitcher Stephen Strasburg's fastball and curveball. The infographic communicates the mechanics of the pitch. Enjoy at ...

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/07/03/sports/baseball/0703-physics-of-strasburg.html
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Physics of Baseball Part 4 of 4 - The Science of the Swing
 
A lot can happen in 150 milliseconds - that's 15/100ths of a second. That is the amount of time it takes a baseball thrown by a typical Major League Baseball pitcher to travel from the pitcher mound to home plate. During that fraction of a second, the batter must look, think, decide, act, and make contact with the ball in order to have any chance of success. That's a short amount time to do a whole lot of thinking, deciding and executing.
 
Today's post features an audio file of a presentation given by Professor Robert Adair given at the Science of Baseball Symposium. The Symposium was part of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in February 2000. Dr. Adair discusses the process whereby a batter observes, processes, decides, and swings the bat. Adiar is the author of the well-reputed book The Physics of Baseball and is recognized as one of the premier experts on the Physics of Baseball. As you listen to Adair's intriguing presentation, enjoy the included infographic, courtesy of the New York Times.
 
http://baseball.physics.illinois.edu/audio/AAAS-Adair.mp3
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Physics of Baseball Part 3 of 4 - The Crack of the Bat
 
Did you know that a baseball outfielder uses acoustic signals to help make judgements regarding how far the ball is hit? They do! The moment a baseball is hit, an outfielder will respond to the sound of the bat before they respond to the sight of the ball. Today's featured article from the New York Times discusses the importance of the crack of the bat to the success of an outfielder. Enjoy the article at ...
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/26/science/the-crack-of-the-bat-acoustics-takes-on-the-sound-of-baseball.html
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Physics of Baseball Part 2 of 4 - The Fastball
 
Visual artist Charles Apple does an exceptional job using computer graphics to illustrate difficult science concepts. And in today's featured article, Charles hits a home run on the topic of the physics of the fastball. Enjoy Charles' infographic at
 
http://www.charlesapple.com/2013/04/how-to-throw-a-fastball/
 
The infographic originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal's article leading up to Opening Day of the 2013 baseball season. That article can be found here:
 
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323419104578376793663086624
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The Physics of Baseball - Post 6 of 6

This is our final post in our series on The Physics of Baseball. This post features the work of Dr. Alan Nathan, baseball enthusiast and Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois. Dr. Nathan is perhaps one of the premier researchers in the field of baseball physics. His research is devoted primarily to two areas: the nature of the bat-ball collision and the parameters affecting the flight of the ball through the air. His website is full of a collection of understandable and intriguing resources that pertain to these topics. Such resources include published articles, high-speed videos, software to analyze the flight of the ball, PowerPoint presentations, a lengthy playlist of short video clips from YouTube, and much more. Whether interested in physics, baseball, or both, Dr. Nathan's site is sure to please. We are glad to feature it in our final post on the Physics of Baseball:

http://baseball.physics.illinois.edu
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The Physics of Baseball - Post 4 of 6

Dan Russell is an Acoustics Professor at Pennsylvania Sate University. One of his many specializations is the Physics of Baseball Bats. He has conducted extensive research that sheds light upon a number of questions that baseball fans of undoubtedly wondered about. Questions like ...

How large are the forces between bat and ball?
How does bat weight affect swing speed and ball velocity?
What (and where) is the sweet spot of a bat? 
What do aluminum bats ping and wooden bats crack?
Why do aluminum bats outperform wood?
Should Metal Baseball Bats be Banned because they are Dangerous?
Are composite bats better than aluminum?
Why are Titanium bats illegal?
What about corked wood baseball bats?
How are baseball and softball bats different?
Do flexible handles affect the performance of a baseball or softball bat?
Why is Doctoring a Bat Illegal?

Learn what physics has to say about these questions and more at Dan Russell's Physics and Acoustics of Baseball Bats website.

http://www.acs.psu.edu/drussell/bats.html
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