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Essay about The Physics of Pitching

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The Physics of Pitching

I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the batter, that the only thing I knew about pitching was it was hard to hit. ... Tim McCarver, St. Louis Cardinals catcher, 1972. Most people do not understand pitching, the mechanics, the situations and the how’s and why’s. Today we are going to talk about a few of these.

When most people think of pitching they think of a person hurling a 5 oz. ball with 216 red stitches as hard as they can from 60’6”. Well they are right, but there is so much more to it. When I looked at pitching I saw situations, fastballs, curveballs, and change-ups. When physics was introduced to me I saw much more to baseball. I see
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This whole wind-up is an inelastic process where kinetic energy is lost in the form of the ball leaving the hand. So we have this transfer of energy from the body to the ball. The ball leaves the hand on a 90 mph fastball at 97 mph. There is definitely a transfer of energy as the ball is in motion.
Newton’s third law states; for every action on an object there will always be an equal and opposite force exerted by that object. This beckons the question of what forces act against a ball? There are 3 forces acting upon a ball once it is released; velocity, drag, and gravity all act upon the ball. Here’s how, velocity is the force pushing it forward it is generated by the person throwing the ball, drag is the air resistance which pushes back against the velocity, and gravity which is constant and pushes the ball down against the upward velocity. Those forces for sure are slowing the pitch, yet it is not an equal force of the energy but into a pitch. When a bat connects with a ball there is a collision and a transfer of energy. When the ball makes it to the catcher then there is another collision and energy is conserved. In a nutshell here is the transfer of energy, a pitcher puts a force on a baseball, the baseball travels through the air with air resistance, gravity, and velocity acting upon the ball, when the ball travels 60’ it will transfer its energy completely by either being hit or being caught by the
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