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The Physics of Taking a Baseball off of your Forehead

ajgartland22

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56 days....

Getting hit by the ball in baseball is just a fact of life.  Many plays in a game consist of players simply knocking the ball down with their bodies in order to better control it or keep it from getting past them.  Usually the ball impacts a part of the body that can take a good amount of force without too much pain (like the torso).  Rarely, and usually by error of the fielder, the ball can find its way to less ideal areas of the body.  In my case, playing the awkward bouncing grounder on old indoor turf the wrong way resulted in the ball settling on a spot right in the lower part of my forehead.  When the batter hit the ball, it took one high hop and I moved backward to catch the ball at the apex of its second hop.  When the ball hit the ground after the second hop, its rotational velocity was very high, and the turf provided the perfect surface for the ball to grip the ground and convert that rotational energy into translational energy, therefore increasing the speed of the ball.  I was not ready for this sudden speed increase and so when the ball got to me the glove was to low, so it bypassed my glove and continued straight into my face.  

Currently on my forehead, one can see the stitches imprinted into my skin and also broken skin where the speed at which the stitches were rotating caused them to damage the skin in certain places.  

Using physics to think through the situation helps me understand why that second hop on artificial turf is always so annoying. 




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