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The Physics Behind Catching a Baseball

The beauty of baseball is the fact that any single detail of the game to can be analyzed way more than most people want to know.  Everything from the moisture of the grass to how a player catches a ball can play huge roles in a game.  Even in something as small as catching a ball, physics can be found in not only the method of catching but in the actual construction of the baseball glove.  During a professional baseball game, players routinely throw the ball at speeds approaching 100 mph and can

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Back to Baseball (Why Derek Jeter's Jump-throw is so Impressive)

(49 short days until game #1) Today was a very eventful day in the baseball world.  Spring training started and Hannah and Derek Jeter announced the birth of their first child.  To celebrate both,  I thought I would break down the physics behind two of Derek Jeter's most iconic defensive plays.  The first play, commonly called the "jump-throw" is known across the world by almost any baseball player or fan.  It starts with a sharply hit ground ball towards the hole between Jeter and thi

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The Physics of Cruise Ships

Over the break, I took a 5 day cruise into the Gulf of Mexico.  Although there wasn't any internet connection for me to have Mr. Fullerton's videos grace my presence (I know what I'm going to be doing all day today), I was still thinking about physics the entire cruise.  One particular event that made me use my physics knowledge took place when we were walking down the pier in Progreso, Mexico.  Another Carnival cruise ship was leaving the port as we were about to get on our ship.  The boat back

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The Curveball

Baseball.  Often dismissed by many because of how "slow" and "boring" it is.  This being said, anybody who knows anything about physics should strongly disagree with these statements.  The truth is, every 15- 20 seconds, a ball flies towards the batter travelling 80+  mph and curving up to a foot in one direction all the while a batter is trying to hit that ball to distances exceeding 400 feet.  The most interesting piece of this intense chain of events is the movement of the ball, which require

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The Physics of Moving On :(

Well its been real Physics C.  Here I am, sitting here, writing my last blog post of high school (and maybe forever).  This class has been a huge undertaking, but also something that I am glad I attempted.  Although the work has been hard and I am far from even coming close to mastering some of these complex concepts, my time with Physics has been amazing and enlightening.  It has opened me up to a totally new way of seeing things, and I cant wait until I can put what I've learned into use while

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ajgartland22

The Physics of Taking a Baseball off of your Forehead

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

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The Physics of Bow Hunting

This long weekend, my family took a vacation up at my cottage near Watertown NY.  My father, brother and I all hunt and have been doing so since a young age and every fall we take time to spend some time in the woods with each other hunting for big game.  This time of year, bow hunting is the open season, and sitting in my tree-stand this past weekend, I thought back to a time when my brother and I were first learning about hunting and archery.  My brother, who was 11 at the time was enjoying hi

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ajgartland22

The Physics of my Job

62 days until the first Varsity Baseball game of the season (@ Arcadia if anyone's interested) My job is a pretty simple one: I work behind the snack bar counter at Lakeshore Hockey Arena and cook food for anyone who cares to buy it.  Its not hard and can be fun depending on who you work with but there is one thing that really aggravates me: the french fry bags.  The bags have perforated tops to make opening and pouring the fries out of them easy.  A major drawback is made very clear though

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The Physics of Tommy John

I thought I would do a quick post about some very interesting information I read about pitching and how it ties in with bio-physics.  As a lot of people know, Tommy John surgery is a dreaded operation that is used on mostly baseball players to correct the mother of all baseball injuries: a UCL tear.  The UCL, or Ulnar Collateral Ligament is a small ligament on the "pinky side" of your elbow.  Its main purpose is mainly to hold back all the torque generated by your arm when it goes into a whippin

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HBP

HBP- Hit By Pitch is a common abbreviation seen in every stat line in baseball.  It is something that looks a lot less painful than it actually is- especially in the majors when some guys just shrug off 90+ mph fastballs.  One interesting thing about getting hit by a pitch (which I have some good experience with) is the fact that there really is a wide range of pain associated with the event.  There are many factors that effect the pain factor for the batter.  Things such as location, pitch type

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STATCAST- When Physics Meet Baseball

Well if my last blog didn't get you interested about baseball hopefully this one will... Introduced to 3 pilot stadiums in 2014 and now in its 2nd full season of league- wide use, STATCAST is yet another way for baseball (and physics) fans to geek out about anything that goes on in between the chalk lines.  Essentially, STATCAST uses common methods of tracking and, with the help of computer and human input, creates powerful graphics, videos and analysis in a matter of minutes.  This system

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ajgartland22

Physics in Cleveland

Last night, in Cleveland, two landmark events happened in a city mostly considered the laughingstock of sports.  In one night, the Indians won game one of the World Series against the Cubs and the Cleveland Cavaliers hoisted their Championship banner on opening night of the NBA regular season.  With these stadiums right across the street from each other, it got me to think: with Cleveland fans so starved of sports success, they took full advantage of this opportunity to be loud and support their

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Checking Your Swing

The feat of checking a baseball swing is truly one that requires much physical power.  The majority of people compliment the batter's keen eyesight when he stops his bat mid swing, when in reality they should be complimenting his strength.  Thinking about it from a physics perspective, it is simple to see how much strength is required to stop a swing.  250 milliseconds after the ball is released, the batter starts his swing, generating all the force he can out of muscles in his arms, legs, hips,

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The Crowhop

Keeping with my outfield theme, Crowhops are critical to the outfield position.  A crowhop is a shuffle-step like movement that allows a fielder to throw the ball with greater initial velocity and therefore more distance.  Although I've been around the game for over a decade, the physics behind the crowhop never really seemed interesting until you take a deeper look.  Standing still, a player can still throw a ball with tremendous speed.  All of this velocity is coming from the muscles in the ar

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Wood Bats

This Christmas I was lucky enough to get my 4th wood bat from my parents. (Sorry dad for breaking the last 3)  As I was holding it in my hand I noticed it felt lighter than my previous bat, but what confused me was the fact that both had the same length and weight.  Using my ever-expanding knowledge of physics, I got to thinking about it and a few minutes later it dawned on me that its really not that confusing at all.  Despite how un-exact of a science you may expect making wooden bats may be,

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ajgartland22

The Physics of a Broken Spoon

In spite of the title above, this blog post will NOT be about the unfortunate event in which your trusty spoon just cannot take the weight of all that cereal.  This is going to be about my unfortunate brother, Chad, who is affectionately known as Spoonhead (or Spoon for short) due to the fact that his small head bears an uncanny resemblance to that of a spoon.  Last night, Chad started in his 22nd Varsity baseball game (hes a sophomore) but only lasted about 3 innings because he went down with a

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ajgartland22

Baseball Bats Part 2

Today we were hitting in the field house as part of our practice and I decided to focus on something I always knew happened, but never knew why.  Every time a baseball bat rolls, it always does so in a circular fashion.  This can be really annoying especially when it gets set down and then all of the sudden it starts randomly rolling off in a circle and depending on speed, always goes in a different path.  The more I thought about it, the more I was amazed that it could be explained simply with

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ajgartland22

Safety Bases

A new development in baseball, especially in Little League, is the implementation of breakaway "safety" bases that rely totally on friction with the ground to stay in place.  The idea behind them was that younger players, who had not yet perfected sliding, were getting hurt when they slid into a immovable base and hurt themselves from the sudden deceleration of their body.  With their leg (mostly the knee and ankle) bearing the brunt of that force, it would make sense to take every precaution to

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Playoff Physics

In the short period of time I got to watch the Dodgers/ Cubs game before I started working on my physics, I noticed a strange game plan that the Dodger base runners were employing against Cubs lefty pitcher Jon Lester.  After a four pitch walk to lead off the bottom of the first, Dodgers player Enrique Hernandez started to bounce back and forth and side to side as he was taking his lead from first, trying to distract Jon Lester from his task of pitching.  To people who aren't familiar with the g

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The Physics of "What If".....

The past few days in Physics, a lot of people have been talking about space, time, dimension and how all three of those things are very fluid in reality.  Since the tiny lecture we had on it last week, I have been thinking about the endless possibilities that could arise if these notions become more widely accepted and studied. One thing that really got me interested was the theory of alternate realities.  The simple fact that there are endless universes, every one playing out every single possi

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ajgartland22

The Physics of Khalil Mack

I know this blog is all about baseball but sometimes special moments must be capitalized upon... and this is one of those moments.  In light of the great ball game my Raiders had today (hey Justin ) I thought I would do a blog post on the best defensive end in the league: Khalil Mack.  His tipped pass in the 4th quarter and strip sack later on pretty much sealed the game for Oakland and in particular I want to focus on the tipped pass.  Believe it or not, the physics behind this play are pretty

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ajgartland22

Fastball Physics

I have been wanting to do a post on the physics behind a fastball for a while... and because of the events that transpired early today I think this is a fitting time to do it.   Today, Yordano Ventura, 25 had his life taken in a car crash in the Dominican Republic.  He was a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals and was widely regarded as a pitcher that most announcers describe simply as "electric".  Usually I use physics here to bring to light how truly difficult baseball is and the skill of

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ajgartland22

The Physics of Yadier Molina

A common part of baseball is seen almost every pitch when the catcher moves his glove slightly when he catches the ball to try and convince the umpire the pitch was actually a strike, when really it was a ball.  This is called framing, and when one really looks at the process, it is easy to see how strong and skilled a catcher must be to execute it.  One of the best in the game at this is Yadier Molina.  In the video below, take a look at how Molina totally redirects the tremendous force of a ba

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ajgartland22

The Super Bowl

Today at 4:30 Eastern Time something magical will happen.  THE Oakland Raiders will take the field in a NFL Playoff game for the first time in 12 years.  There are a lot of questions surrounding the Raiders and their chances of even making out of the wildcard round.  Their chances are pretty good as long as they can overcome the Texan's defense, who is 1st in the league in the overall category.  Being the overconfident Raiders fan I am, I predict the Raiders are going to play not one, but two ga

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The Physics of Deshaun Watson

Thank God I'm a Clemson fan...   Saturday was an awful day for me watching the Raiders fall to the Texans; but Monday was a different story.  My Clemson Tigers won the College Football Playoff Championship with a thrilling victory over Alabama.  It was one of the most exciting games I have ever watched and was definitely well worth staying up till almost 1 on a Monday night.  Although I could talk about the physics of Deshaun Watson holding up the National Championship Trophy, that would be

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