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The Physics Behind Catching a Baseball


ajgartland22

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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 hit the ball even harder than that.  Some of the power hitters in the league can produce batted ball speeds of 120 mph.  This is an impressive feat in itself not even considering the fact that there are men trying to pluck that ball out of the air and make a play to get that batter out.  The glove plays a huge role in allowing the fielders to handle such a force.  The pocket of the glove rests between the thumb and index finger and serves as a place for the ball to decelerate in a place that isn't directly over the hand and wont hurt the player.  Anybody who has caught an object with their bare hand knows that if traveling fast enough, it can deliver a pretty punishing blow.  The leather webbing pocket on a glove gives the ball a larger surface area to distribute its force upon and even expands to give the ball more time/ space to decelerate.  Following Newton's second law, if the ball is caught with the pocket of the glove, it is given more time to decelerate and therefore will have a smaller final acceleration.  With this smaller acceleration, the glove, and therefore the player, will have to deal with less force with a glove than without one.

  

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