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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 is a huge step up from the PITCHf/x technology because of the sheer number of variables it can cover.  Now not only pitches can be monitored in depth, but the entire field of play, including every player and baserunner, who can be analyzed for what could be eternity.  Everything from reaction time, top speed or even vertical jump can be extracted from any play and for any purpose.  This amazing tool is made possible by the Doppler effect and the utilization of that property through Doppler radar.  The waves sent out by the sensor rebound off of the object in question (such as a player, bat or ball) and through the conclusion that altered wave lengths reveal how fast and in what direction the object is moving,  the waves coming back can be analyzed and turned into stats with amazing detail and accuracy.  Not only is the Physics really amazing, but the sheer ability and skill of these athletes are now being brought to light. Any fan can now routinely see a player track down a fly ball and notice that he is running almost as fast as a world class runner.  Seemingly small stats like these open up a whole new layer to an already complex game and help fans develop an even deeper appreciation for the athletes that play our national pastime.

Here is a video of STATCAST being put to great use in a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals.  Enjoy!


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