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 Post subject: Physics or geometry?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3135
Location: Albuquerque, N.M. USA
The game-winning hit by David Eckstein the other night went off the tip of the glove of the Detroit left fielder. On the replay, Tim McCarver pointed out that the fielder took a direct route to the ball rather than going back on an angle, suggesting that he might have had a chance to catch it if he had run on an angle.

It seems to make sense at first, and most fielders naturally take off after a ball on a 45-degree angle. But in this case, it seems that wouldn't have helped. It might have helped him cut off the ball on one hop, but the mere fact that he leaped and touched the ball suggests that's the closest he could have gotten to it. If he had taken the angle, wouldn't he have had to run faster to catch up with the ball and make the catch?

Is there a calculation that could be done to figure this out? Could we fit three major league ballplayers in Dominedtrix's test kitchen? Why do I have a hunch the answer to the latter question is already known?


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 Post subject: Re: Physics or geometry?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1775
Location: Baltimore
jjmoney62 wrote:
If he had taken the angle, wouldn't he have had to run faster to catch up with the ball and make the catch?


The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. You are correct.

If the fielder had been able to run faster, he would have made the catch with the path he took.

Taking an angle, whether in the outfield or infield, is a luxury the outfielder didn't have and was wise to avoid. You take an angle to set yourself up for a favorable hop or to make a strong throw. It takes more time, which is the enemy of anyone desperate to reach a drive in the air.

Captain Obvious, over and out.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2003 1:01 am
Posts: 741
Location: The Empire State
I can't argue with JJ, Wayne or Tim McCarver on this one. (Is this the Craig Monroe full-extended-body dive we're talking about? I didn't see that play, just read about it.)

What JJ and Wayne made sense, but what McCarver said could make sense too. Remember when a few years ago physicists said (source unknown, and this is a paraphrase) that curveballs don't actually curve, but millions of TV viewers and baseball players could tell the physicists were wrong? This could for all I know be a similar case, where the baseball wisdom (approaching the ball at an angle is more efficient) trumps reality (the shortest route is a straight line).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 7:51 pm 
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Location: Baltimore
It's rare for anything to trump reality.

The physicists who said there's no such thing as a curveball are descendants of those who said airplanes couldn't fly. Their theories were flawed.


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