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5000 fps Camera Reveals the Physics of Baseball

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the let's-go-tigers dept.

Science 144

concealment sends this quote from an article at The Physics of Baseball "This clip from Game 4 shows Marco Scutaro hitting the ball right near the tip of the barrel. The amplitude of the resulting vibration is so large that the bat breaks and the ball weakly dribbles off the bat. Note that the bat splinters toward the pitcher. The reason is that when the ball hits the barrel tip, the barrel of the bat bends backward toward the catcher and the center of the bat bulges forward toward the pitcher. That is the natural shape of the fundamental vibrational mode of the bat. Since the fracture occurs near the center which is bulging outward, that is how the bat splinters, as the wood fibers on the pitcher side of the bat are stretched to the breaking point. If the ball had impacted the bat near the center, the center would have bulged toward the catcher, as in the Yadier Molina clip. Had the vibrational amplitude been strong enough in the Molina case, the bat would have splintered toward the catcher."

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144 comments

Isn't the game long enough already? (5, Funny)

lewscroo (695355) | about a year and a half ago | (#41727815)

Great, way to make the game orders of magnitude longer.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41727855)

Baseball: (n) A game invented by people who thought cricket was too boring, but who then somehow managed to create a game that was just as long, just as involved, just as complex, and just as boring.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (4, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#41727961)

Just as long? Show me a five day game of baseball that ends in a draw. And if you are going to count "best of X playoff" multiple games as a single game, then cricket has the 5 test series, for 25 days of playing also ending in a draw.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1, Offtopic)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728083)

you miss the point, subjectively a baseball games seems like SIX days, to a victim in the stands entrapped in a baseball game of reference.

baseball, even more boring than fucking golf.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41728307)

baseball, even more boring than fucking golf.

Regular golf is indeed boring..... ......but this variation you speak of .... tell me more about this "fucking golf". It sounds like an intriguing sport.

Is it televised?

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41728763)

I'm with you.... but 18 holes, wow.... I'm not sure my 9-iron is ready for 18 holes in one round.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41728303)

What do you think the baseball pros do in Heaven all day?

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41728395)

Play with their balls?

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (2, Insightful)

seyyah (986027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728493)

Just as long? Show me a five day game of baseball that ends in a draw. And if you are going to count "best of X playoff" multiple games as a single game, then cricket has the 5 test series, for 25 days of playing also ending in a draw.

What's so bad about a game ending in a draw? Seems like is an obsession in American sport that a winner be declared. Just look at what they did to hockey.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (2, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728639)

Sport = Competition = Winner/Loser
In what backwards world do people live in where competition is not to decide winners and losers?

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1, Insightful)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728769)

Pity the person who is incapable of only seeing two out of three possible outcomes in a competition.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (2, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728865)

There is no equality in competition.
There are only Winners, Losers and being unwilling to put in the work to see which is which.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (3, Insightful)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729159)

If the competitors are equal, then there is equality in competition.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1, Interesting)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729273)

Nothing is equal.
Put 2 5lb bags of sugar on a scale.
One of them is heavier. Just because you do not want to invest in a scale that can tell the difference does not make them equal.
The truth is when you get to the level of professional athletes they are all so good you could just call them equal. We do not though.
We test them. A test which shows them as equal is a failed test.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729395)

How do you know they are both 2.5 lb bags of sugar?

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41730813)

If you know there are two bags of sugar, then they can't be the same.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41731213)

You seemed credible until you used imperial measurements. Get over it, hipster America. You and Liberia can join the rest of the world - we all did it.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year and a half ago | (#41730779)

There are only Winners, Losers and being unwilling to put in the work to see which is which.

Much of the time, the "winner" of a close competition is clearly decided by nothing more than a tiny variation in a random bounce.

So obsessing over the distinction is rather pointless. It's like getting all uptight about a coin toss: "Oooh! It came up heads! The team from my geographic region rulezzz!"

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#41732273)

So what do you propose for say a boxing in match in which both boxers king hit each other at the same time and both are knocked out? Declare the guy who gets up first (even if it is in 2 minutes time) the winner? Wake them both up and have at it again? Both of those are making the decision on something that isn't supposed to be part of the sport, might as have them play a game of chess to decide.

In a two person swimming race both competitors drown, do you declare the guy who swam further the winner?

In cricket the idea isn't just to see who is best, you also have be able to get the other side out. So you can be better than the other team but not good enough to win. If your bowlers aren't good enough to get their batsmen out then it doesn't matter if your batsmen are far superior you still don't win.

It also adds an extra factors to the strategy: do you keep batting and ensure a draw, or do you declare your innings over early and risk them winning in order to have a chance to win yourself? Do you bat safely aiming for the draw, or do you risk getting out an losing in order to try and win?

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

BeanThere (28381) | about a year and a half ago | (#41732409)

I challenge you to indefinite rounds of Tic Tac Toe to test that theory.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731955)

Pity the person incapable of seeing a tie as a fourth possible outcome.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41729987)

Almost every sport has draws or tied matches. In cricket there is even a distinction between the two (in test matches at least). How can one not see the inherent competition between an underdog holding the line against a superior attacking force? A draw in football (the real kind) can be an amazing spectacle to watch, as the defense heroically and desperately holds out. Or watch the end of a test match where the last pair of batsmen have to hold out against the fielding side - two against an army without a hope of winning, but with a chance to stay undefeated. A rearguard action with the possibility of stating "You may be better than me, but you're not good enough to beat me."

Sport isn't about just putting an order on teams and individuals - it can be about guts and determination, an unwillingness to give in. I've played many matches to draws - being held out in some cases, and the hold-out in others. If all you want is winners and losers, you're missing out on a lot of what makes some sport great.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41730091)

"You may be better than me, but you're not good enough to beat me."

Better than equals better than.
Play more and see what side goes down first.
I am not saying that there is nothing to competition other than Winner/Loser.
You can be the Loser and have battled hard and with honor.
But the two sides are not equal. They are just not willing to find out who is the best.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41730295)

You really don't understand sport, do you? Here's a hint: It's NOT a one dimensional measure; there is NO ordering. Try Rock, Paper, Scissors for a child;s example, and work out why you can't say that Rock > Scissors > Paper > Rock...

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41730449)

Were you brought up in one of those schools that give out participation awards?

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731631)

No, we actually played sports. We understand that the "better" team can win 9/10 times. But then, if you only see the 1 game, then you can see the worse team beat the better team. Comparing teams from one game may give an indication of ordinality, but it certainly isn't definitive.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731257)

You really haven't worked out that if you amplify a level signal enough, all you'll get is noise, have you?

And you appear to believe that everything is infinitely divisible.

You really aren't in touch with the real world at all, are you?

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731357)

The purpose of a competition is to find the winner.
Noise level be damned.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729701)

Look what they did to hockey? The Europeans are the one's who screwed that one up. NHL hockey (in the playoffs) used to be over time until somebody scored. The Europeans and Olympic hockey use to go into a shootout after a period of overtime. The big problem came once shootouts were introduced into NHL hockey.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731421)

"Men, all this stuff you've heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost, and will never lose a war... because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans."
-- Patton (1970)

"Here's my strategy for the Cold War: We win. They lose."
-- Ronald Reagan

"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur."
-- Barack Obama

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41732463)

Quotes by two gung-ho assholes and a president willing to soberly reflect on the situation. What's your point?

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731899)

There is nothing bad about it, in fact a side struggling to hold on for the draw is where the game is at its best.

But you ignore that when trying to win a "my sport is more boring than your sport" argument.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (2)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728089)

I caught a few games during the playoffs and I will admit that I found them fun to watch, but I'd attribute that to the fact that there was something at stake. In game 48 of a 160+ game season the sport is mind-numbing.

It's why I'll never understand Americans who argue that soccer is boring. Compared to what? A bunch of guys standing around in an open field waiting for a ball to fly their way? Or the ponderous stop-start stutter of football? I'm not knocking those sports, but I do think people need a bit of perspective.

But it's a safe bet that physics will make anything exciting.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41728311)

Most Americans have played baseball as children. And the game is pretty fun to play. You never break a sweat and everything else is precision plays. It has a lot in common with golf or playing Super Mario Bros. In fact I would say that the complexity of the rules and the stat keeping is part of why it is fun. Watching the game is like reliving your childhood while being able to eat a hot dog and drink warm beer from a plastic cup.

As far as American football is concerned, it is a far more strategic sport than football (soccer). While there is athleticism, it isn't usually won based on that, unlike football (soccer). I don't know why American football hasn't taken off around the world. It is a brilliant game with levels of tension that exceed almost any sport.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41728491)

For our European readers: beer is served cold in the U.S., thus drinking warm beer from a plastic cup is more about nostalgia than any real enjoyment of the beer itself.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728503)

Even though the following is apparently *not* due to John Cleese -- as I thought before I g**gled it just now -- I would submit to you the following:

You should stop playing American football. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American football is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays American football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders,your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called rounders, which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41728877)

...'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America.

The Dominican Republic, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, the Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela, Japan, and South Korea would beg to differ.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41730677)

Yes, just look at all those non-US teams competing in the World Series! It's almost like you have to be in a US league to get in or something....

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41731519)

It's not like a non-US baseball team could possibly win.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (2)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729023)

Funny to hear a stuffy European talk about "nancies" when their favorite sport involves the regular faking of injuries to draw fouls.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731207)

I can assure you that here in the north of Europe we're thoroughly ashamed of the southern Europeans and their appalling acting skills. Not that the south Americans are any better.

In England, true Englishmen hold their head up high, bite their lip, and carry on:
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/10/15/article-1220638-06D4E40F000005DC-550_306x356_popup.jpg

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

dthx1138 (833363) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729371)

This paragraph sounds like it was written in 1956.

There are millions of American kids playing soccer (sorry, futbol) at this very moment in 100,000 schoolyards across the country. Oh, and dudes happily play with "the girls"; if you haven't noticed, ours are the best female soccer players in the entire world. Just ask team Japan.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (4, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729699)

As someone who played soccer/football in children and youth leagues and then later officiated the sport for several years, I have to say that I find it boring to watch skilled players on TV or from the stands. And it's not for lack of action, since there is plenty of that. The problem with it is one of pacing and difficulty in appreciating what's going on.

The athleticism and skill on display can be incredible in the sport, and when you're close to the action, it's fun to watch. But when you're up in high the grandstands or watching a zoomed out view on TV (which are the only ways most Americans have ever seen it), you can't appreciate the footwork that's being done, which is what makes the game so compelling to watch on a minute-to-minute basis. That leaves you with just the bigger plays, like breakaways, and the game doesn't hold up so well at that level when it comes to entertainment value. It basically boils down to sustained action for extended periods of time, interspersed by highlight-reel plays that are difficult to see, with very little of it actually amounting to anything. And with the ball changing sides so often, it's difficult to have a sense of when you'll see some hard pressure being applied or something important will happen. That's poorly paced as a source of entertainment and rather tiring to watch, kinda like a suspense movie that sustains the suspense for too long instead of raising and lowering it.

I have similar problems with watching hockey, but at least hockey has people smashing into each other regularly, which has an appeal as a darker form of entertainment (i.e. the same thing that draws NASCAR viewers...which I still don't understand). That's also a mark against soccer/football, since its players are oftentimes prima donnas that fall over in an unsportsmanlike manner at the slightest touch. No one likes seeing that.

Baseball has some similar issues as well, though it does have some advantages. It's easy to nerd-out on baseball since there are loads of statistics that actually matter and can make it far more interesting for those who are so-inclined. And as you get more runners on the bases, the tension steadily mounts, oftentimes culminating in a series of entertaining plays, with its natural breaks giving you time to read the situation and figure out where you should be looking for those plays. Of course, as the game reaches its end, you usually already know who the winner will be well in advance, thus undermining its enjoyment, and those highlight-reel plays are easy to miss for people who aren't as familiar with the sport, while much of the rest of the game is rather rote and boring.

In contrast, while I'm not an American football fan, I do appreciate it as being a well-crafted form of entertainment. The entire game is structured so that it has rising and falling tension, regular opportunity for highlight-reel plays that happen at prescribed times and can be easily understood from a distance, natural breaks that allow you time to appreciate the players' tactical positioning and movement, and a sense of progression as the play methodically moves back and forth on the field in a massive game of tug-of-war. It's a game that you can go pretty deep into thought on, as strange as that might seem for such a brutish sport.

Long story short, I do think that some games are inherently more entertaining than others, but I don't think that in any way establishes them as being superior. Personally speaking, while I'm not a fan of any of the sports I discussed, I'd rather go to a baseball game than the others, simply on account of the ambiance that is present at those games and the fact that there tends to be a stronger sense of good sportsmanship as a result of it being "America's pastime". The games tend to be laid back social outings, as opposed to the higher-energy (and sometimes downright aggressive) crowds you have in those other sports. My enjoyment of it is independent of the game's entertainment value.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (2)

Cederic (9623) | about a year and a half ago | (#41730797)

watching a zoomed out view on TV (which are the only ways most Americans have ever seen it), you can't appreciate the footwork that's being done,

How many decades is it since you watched football on TV?

There are multiple cameras at most televised games these days. You get close up footage of individual moves, sometimes during live play and always on replays.

You don't even need them to see the legs of the little men moving, and realise and appreciate the skill and agility they're displaying.

You need the wider tv view, and the seat midway up the stand in the stadium, to appreciate the work being done by the team, the off the ball runs and movement, the opportunities and possibilities.

with the ball changing sides so often, it's difficult to have a sense of when you'll see some hard pressure being applied or something important will happen

Sorry, hadn't realised you were attention deficit.

There's something happening all of the time the ball's in play. The most innocuous pass could go wrong, lead to a break and a scoring chance. The man casually stood in the centre of the pitch could be waiting for that run in from the wings behind the defence so that he can play an inch-perfect long ball into the stride of the runner for a first-time shot into the goal.

You can only see the runner if your TV isn't zoomed into the player, or if you're sat in a stand watching from a distance. You can only appreciate the quality of the pass in its context. You can only experience the awe of his vision and skill if you were watching what otherwise may have been a seemingly unthreatening position.

There's a ton of stuff happening in a football game. Your inability to understand it probably reflects your focus on the immediate, on the specific interesting between opposing players at the point of the ball, as a result of your officiating.

Football is a team game. It's about pressure, momentum, movement, aggression, composure, and sometimes about skill with an air-filled bladder.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#41732185)

There are multiple cameras at most televised games these days. You get close up footage of individual moves, sometimes during live play and always on replays.

The zoomed in views in replays are not the same as being able to see that view live and in context, but to see those zoomed in views live, you run into the issue you discuss later about not being able to see the team. It's a Catch-22.

You don't even need them to see the legs of the little men moving, and realise and appreciate the skill and agility they're displaying.

Sure, I may know that something really cool just happened when I see someone left in the dust during a breakaway, but there's a big difference between knowing it happened and actually seeing the footwork that made it happen as it happens. Even you have to realize that the latter is more entertaining, and entertainment is what I was talking about. That's all I was getting at. Nothing more, though I do think I could have been clearer on that.

There's something happening all of the time the ball's in play. The most innocuous pass could go wrong, lead to a break and a scoring chance. The man casually stood in the centre of the pitch could be waiting for that run in from the wings behind the defence so that he can play an inch-perfect long ball into the stride of the runner for a first-time shot into the goal. [snip] There's a ton of stuff happening in a football game.

I acknowledged this fact in my last post, but I think that's actually a problem with the game as a form of entertainment. That aspect of the game makes for great athleticism and sport, but not for great entertainment. As I said, it's like a suspense film that doesn't know how to properly build and release rather than build constantly. I wouldn't change the constant back-and-forth, since it is the nature of the game and what makes it so great as a sport, but I do acknowledge that it lessens the inherent entertainment value of the sport.

Your inability to understand it probably reflects your focus on the immediate, on the specific interesting between opposing players at the point of the ball, as a result of your officiating.

It's not a lack of understanding. As I said, I was focused on the inherent entertainment value of the sport. Football is a great sport. Its players are extraordinarily skilled, and they use those skills abundantly in every single game. And I do appreciate it at the team level as well. If what you want to do is appreciate athleticism and teamwork, you won't be left dissatisfied with football. But those ideas are not synonymous with entertainment. Towards that, I'm looking at more traditional principles of entertainment, such as building towards a climactic moment or astounding the viewers with something incredible. Football doesn't do those as well as some other sports. Would I change it, however? Not one bit.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

Cederic (9623) | about a year and a half ago | (#41732467)

actually seeing the footwork

I find that I can see a lot of detail, even on the 'zoomed out' views.

For me though, the back and forth "nothing much happening" is an essential part of the game. There's a lot going on there, and it's not all just filler between the 'exciting' moments. I watch the whole game because I want to see it, see the runs being made, see the way the players are interacting, see whether the midfielder is passing forward, sideways or back to the defence, whether the fullbacks are getting forward (and whether the wingers are covering back).

That's essential for assessing the team and player performance, and why a match highlights reel is unfulfilling even if it is highly entertaining.

Re:Isn't the game long enough already? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731715)

Americans are trained for bite-sized sports. Basketball/hockey are about the most continuous sports the US has. In fact, as I think about it in those terms, the less continuous the sport, the more it is liked by Americans.

That's why soccer is hated. You don't compress the action into 360 10 second sections in 3 hours of otherwise boredom. Instead, you get 90 minutes of action evenly distributed (well, other than some sections are more exciting than others, but on a time scale are equal). Football gives you time between all the plays to think, something Americans do slowly. It's like chess for Americans. 2/3 of a football game is non-action (3+ hours of game, one hour of time on the clock). As opposed to soccer. 90 minutes on the clock. 90 minutes plus only one break in the middle.

did somebody say "magnitude"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41727893)

pop-POP!

Wow, look! Stuff I don't care care about... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41727863)

at 5000 frames per second!

Re:Wow, look! Stuff I don't care care about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41727911)

Awww, come on there is a bunch of awesome physics stuff in there!

Re:Wow, look! Stuff I don't care care about... (3, Interesting)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728111)

Yup - if you've ever wondered how the whole "breaking concrete with your fist" thing works this is a good example. If the impact is hard enough the concrete (bat) takes most of the energy and converts it into heat and breaking electromagnetic bonds (AKA 'breaking'), so the ball falls away limply or your fist doesn't break. Hit it in the wrong place though, and the ball takes all the energy (home run) or your fist does (hospital run).

Re:Wow, look! Stuff I don't care care about... (3, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728501)

There's more to it than just chemical bonds, it has a lot to do with how the internal structure distributes the energy from an impact. Concrete without reenforcing is brittle, a surprisingly short length supported at each end will snap under its own weight. Wood is fibrous, it's much easier to split in one direction than the other, the fibers give wood a much greater ability to deform than concrete. Notice that none of the strongman stunts use plywood, cross-laminated timber doesn't split easily in any direction, structurally it's much stronger than either non-reenforced concrete or ordinary timber.

Re:Wow, look! Stuff I don't care care about... (2)

BeanThere (28381) | about a year and a half ago | (#41732461)

You're both wrong, it's all about how effectively you can focus your Chi, grasshopper.

Another nice high-speed video (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41727881)

I could not see the images (seems slashdotted), but recently I saw this very interesting slow motion video of light itself:
here [ted.com]

Re:Another nice high-speed video (2)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731157)

Those videos are interesting, but it's not quite taking pictures of light itself. Light's still too fast (and technology too slow) for that. What you see is a composite shot, of many repeats of the same experiment, with very high precision pictures taken of each particular instant.

http://web.media.mit.edu/~raskar/trillionfps/ [mit.edu]

They repeat the experiment every dozen nanoseconds. It takes an hour to take a picture of a nanosecond process. The inventors refer to it as "the world's slowest fastest camera".

More of the physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41727955)

From a real physics-type guy: http://www.acs.psu.edu/drussell/bats.html

Wrong about vibration (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41727993)

The bat doesn't break the way they describe.

1) It doesn't bend in the middle, it bends close to the fixed end (where it is being held).
2) What they describe is not the fundamental mode shape of a held bat. They are describing a free-free beam, but bats are usually held.
3) It does bend similar to its fundamental mode shape. But it's not breaking due to vibration. It's being deflected by an impulse load and breaking.

Simple engineering, and they got it wrong.

Re:Wrong about vibration (2)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728799)

Simple engineering, and they got it wrong.

You and your "real world". They are physicists.

Re:Wrong about vibration (2)

Odin's Raven (145278) | about a year and a half ago | (#41730849)

You and your "real world". They are physicists.

First, assume a spherical bat. In keeping with long-standing physics traditions, assume the spherical ball is a cube.

Re:Wrong about vibration (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41729193)

I'm the person who posted the video and made the comments. Some responses to Anon Cow

1. That's not the way I see it. Look carefully at where the two parts of the bat start to separate. To me, it certainly looks like it starts in the center and propagates to the handle.

2. For sure you are right that the bat does not satisfy free-free while being held. Nevertheless, there are normal modes and they really don't look all that much different from the free-free normal modes, since the shapes of the modes are largely determined by geometry (i.e., the length, shape of the bat). It is primarily the fundamental mode of that system (i.e., hand-held) that causes the large amplitude in the center of the bat that results in the breakage.

3. So you are agreeing with my previous point. For sure it is being deflected by an impulse load. But the load occurs at the impact location. For the rest of the bat to "feel" the impulse requires the local depression at the point of impact to propagate down the length of the bat. One can expand that motion into the normal modes of the bat (i.e., into different modes of vibration). It is the impulse that excites the vibrations.

I prefer to say that it is physics rather than engineering.

Re:Wrong about vibration (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41729345)

In no way can this be considered as a cantilevered beam (which is what you're implying). The hands holding the bat do not come remotely close to providing enough reactionary force to be considered as a 'fixed' point. They are providing a load on bat (causing it to swing though space) in the same way that the ball hitting the bat causes a load. This article is properly modeling the bat as a free-free beam.

On the off chance that this was not the case, and the correct model was that of a cantilevered beam, the location of the break would adjacent to the 'fixed' point where the bat is the skinniest (i.e., where the cross-sectional area is the smallest and would have the highest associated tension/compression and shear forces) As the bat breaks in the middle, it is pretty clear this is not the case.

~An Experienced Mechanical Engineer

Re:Wrong about vibration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41729905)

I'm not claiming a cantilevered beam. It is much closer to free-free. So I certainly agree with you on that. I am not sure what article you are referring to. If it the short blurb on my web site, that hardly qualifies as an article. However, I have written many articles on various aspects of the physics of baseball: http://webusers.npl.illinois.edu/~a-nathan/pob//nathan-papers.html. The 2nd paper on the list, the AJP article from 2000, is the primary article that investigates the dynamics of the ball-bat collision, normal modes of the bat, etc. I should point out that while I know quite a bit about the topics addressed in that paper, I am not such an expert on the failure modes of wood.

I once did an experiment using a high-speed cannon to fire a ball at the barrel of a stationary bat that was clamped at the handle. After about 15 impacts, the bat broke just in the manner you said: a very clear break right at the place it was clamped. So, it would seem that we are agreeing more than we are disagreeing. Or do you disagree?

Re:Wrong about vibration (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731911)

On the off chance that this was not the case, and the correct model was that of a cantilevered beam, the location of the break would adjacent to the 'fixed' point where the bat is the skinniest (i.e., where the cross-sectional area is the smallest and would have the highest associated tension/compression and shear forces) As the bat breaks in the middle, it is pretty clear this is not the case.

Engineering doesn't work well with wood. That's why "wood" used in construction is almost always a composite of some kind, and when wood is not a composite, it is do massively over-engineered to make up for it that steel is cheaper, lighter and "stronger" for the same residential application, thought still used only sparsely because construction methods are slow to change.

The break was along the grain. The wood is weakest along the grain, and the location of the thinnest point is less relevant. Though, if you watch it again, note that it did "break" where the handle was thin, and then the break traveled up the grain. So, from my view, it looks like it did break at the narrow point, as you predicted it would with a cantilevered beam, implying that if your logic is correct, your conclusion is wrong.

The truth is that engineering fails because it only considers "fixed" or "free" and no version breakaway-fixed/inertia model, as would be applied here. Engineering also considers loads to be slowly applied, with impulses being approximated by slowly applied forces of larger magnitudes. The "engineering" solution to this would be to calculated the force needed to stop the ball, then apply that to the bat in a cantilevered scenario, and get a result essentially identical to what happened. Engineering is the art of combining 10 incorrect assumptions into one correct answer. (yes, I realize there are lots of engineers on here, most of which disagree).

Re:Wrong about vibration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41731439)

So should I trust a professor of physics, or an anonymous poster on the internet? Decisions, decisions.

5000fps? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41727999)

Yawn. There are cameras that capture a trillion frames per second to see actual light impulses propagating through space.

Bat bends toward ball? (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728043)

In some of the pictures, the bat looks like it is actually bent forward, toward the ball, when the ball hits it. Does anyone have an explanation for that? It's especially evident in the pic of the breaking bat. Is this just a motion thing that the camera doesn't catch well, or is there a physical reason that the bat would bend forward instead of backward? http://www.wired.com/rawfile/wp-content/gallery/fox-baseball/BROKEN-BAT.jpg [wired.com]

Re:Bat bends toward ball? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728155)

In some of the pictures, the bat looks like it is actually bent forward, toward the ball, when the ball hits it. Does anyone have an explanation for that? It's especially evident in the pic of the breaking bat.

If the end of the bat is pushed backward then the middle would naturally bulge forward. The article addresses your question.

Re:Bat bends toward ball? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41729229)

The shape of the fundamental mode of vibration is such that when the barrel of the bat deflects backward (due to impulse from the ball), the middle of the bat bulges forward.

5000bps hosting account reveals the slashdot effec (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728081)

Nuff said...

Re:5000bps hosting account reveals the slashdot ef (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728693)

The campus has plenty of bandwidth, but the server it's on is one poor little box over in the nuclear physics lab. I'm just across campus and can't even get to the main nuclear physics site.

Ummmmm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41728243)

You would THINK they would have added a video to the article.

Statistics (3, Insightful)

Machtyn (759119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728405)

Does anyone else think that the game of baseball survived the 50's and 60's simply because math and science could utilize it to teach their subjects? I don't see baseball as a game, but of a boatload of data and statistics.

Misleading (4, Informative)

Controlio (78666) | about a year and a half ago | (#41728461)

They may use a camera that can run up to 5,000fps, but that's not the frame rate that was being shot.

There is no reasonable way to shoot high frame rates at night in the lighting conditions that exist in ballparks. Remember that stadium lights only actually project light 60 times per second, and not all of them fire at the exact same time (different power phases, feeds from different transformers and substations, etc). So while in sunlight you can shoot at 5,000fps (though no one does because it's impractical with the limited amount of time you have between pitches to show a replay), in large-scale HID (et al) lighting environments you can't shoot much more than 600-1000fps and still achieve a reasonable image quality. (Note that a referenced article in TFA says they shot at 3,000fps, but I still have major doubts that the captured clips or even the original clip which aired on television was actually shot at 3k FPS.)

And it's not just the frequency of the light, it's the amount. Zoom lenses lower the light that hits camera CCDs SIGNIFICANTLY. We experiment with high-speed cameras at long distances (center field pitch follow) quite regularly, and the result is incredibly underwhelming in anything other than direct sunlight. Though I will say, watching the movement and flight pattern of the pitch at high framerate in daylight is pretty spectacular.

Here (pdf) [grassvalley.com] is an interesting whitepaper written by Grass Valley about the development of their super slow motion cameras, and the difficulties involved (flicker control, data rate, SNR, etc). The interesting reading begins on page 2. Note that this is NOT the camera used in the clips, the camera referenced is only doing 180fps - but you can extrapolate the complications presented in shooting 3000fps in HID lighting. (Side note: The referenced camera is the industry standard for smooth slow motion replay at 180fps. Ever notice that really smooth low-endzone NFL replay angle, or that definitive mid-1st MLB replay angle of the throw to first beating the runner? That's this camera.)

And in case you were wondering, the actual camera they used is here [visionresearch.com], though it was modified by a third party company to run at a higher frame rate.

Re:Misleading (2)

GlobalEcho (26240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729341)

Assuming the ball travels about 150 feet per second (~100mph), and traveled 5 feet during the top clip, the animated GIF in the article covers about a 1/30 of a second. The GIF contains 37 frames, which puts a lower bound of about 1000fps on the source video. This is at the upper limit of the 600-1000fps range you cite.

Of course, if they downsampled to make the GIF then they could have been well above 1000 fps. I'm curious what you think of their claims to be going over 10000fps for the world series.

Not that simple (2)

Controlio (78666) | about a year and a half ago | (#41730307)

The math is way more complicated than that. No 100mph pitch is ever 100mph when the ball hits the glove. The initial velocity is 100mph, but due to wind resistance and other forces it can slow 12mph easily before it reaches the mound, 60ft after its initial release. This is why before MLB's Pitchtrax system different radar guns always gave different readings - they would pick up the ball at different points on its journey and thus at different speeds (leaving out the variable of calibration). You can actually get some really amazing raw pitch data using MLB's "Gameday" webpage during games. It will show you release velocity, velocity at contact, and a lot of other cool pieces of info (inches of break, etc).

10k FPS is impractical from every standpoint... data storage, image quality, lighting, and most importantly - playback. It would take 166 seconds at 59.97fps to play back a single second of video. We're lucky if we get 25 seconds between pitches to show a replay, not including the time to cue the clip up, the replay wipe in and out, etc. It might be cool to look at and analyze at some point down the road, or for the "wow" factor for the camera company and the mod company, but for a broadcast it seems pointless. Not that it's the first piece of pointless technology I've ever seen forced on us......

However, I do work baseball, do live in Detroit, and will be working the World Series games here (3, 4, 5). I'm going to seek out some additional info directly from the guys who run it this weekend.

Re:Not that simple (1)

Pigeon451 (958201) | about a year and a half ago | (#41732015)

So the ball might be going 10% slower at the catcher -- the calculation still gives a number near 1000 fps, good for a ballpark figure. Also, they may have recorded at a very high rate, but skip frames during playback to show reasonable detail at a reasonable speed. They may use the full frames to analyze the motions that we cannot see from the videos they have posted.

Re:Misleading (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729347)

Why would the lights flicker at 60Hz? There are two zero crossings in every cycle, so why wouldn't they flicker at 120Hz? And if they are flickering, why doesn't that present a problem for regular TV? It seems to me there should be relatively stable, or slowly scrolling, black bars on the picture when the lights are 'out'. Or do they somehow manage to make the 'dark' period of the light fit entirely in the vertical retrace?

Re:Misleading (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#41730955)

because the filament doesn't completely cool to dark in every crossing either. it's more of a very slight throbbing then a complete strobe.

Re:Misleading (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year and a half ago | (#41731201)

Filament? I thought stadiums used some sort of arc (metal halide, sodium vapor, etc) lamps.

And I am still not seeing why flicker is a problem at high speed, but not a normal TV speeds. A high speed camera may record flicker as whole frames with different levels of lighting, but a regular TV camera is going to have some artifact from the flicker (brighter and darker bands, etc).

I would think that either the lamps are not flickering at all, or are flickering at such a high rate (much higher than 60Hz) that the cameras can't distinguish it.

Re:Misleading (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41732101)

Some video at 240Hz seems to indicate that indeed, my 50Hz electricity supply causes 100Hz flicker in an incandescent bulb. Which is good, as the science you mention would support that prediction:
http://fatphil.org/images/winks/bristol@240.mov

Re:Misleading (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#41730035)

And in case you were wondering, the actual camera they used is here [visionresearch.com], though it was modified by a third party company to run at a higher frame rate.

One thing I had noticed is that TBS and Fox did not use this camera on the wild-card or division series. It was very much missed, as my regional sports network does use this camera for every home game (and a few away games), and I had gotten use to freeze frames with no visible motion. The 180fps cameras can't come close to resolving a 3-inch baseball that moves 1500 inches per second.

Not so misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41731797)

I'm one of the camera designers (posting as AC 'cause i have no /. account).

The shots aired were at 5kfps during the day and 3kfps under lights. Anything much lower would not have really shown the bat bending etc. The actual impact would have looked better at 10kfps or more,

Yes, it's really the lighting that limits the speed, but these cameras are pretty sensitive; and they were used with fast (f2 or f2.8) lenses.

If you look closer, especially at the blurred background, you can see there is quite a bit of noise there - that shows the sensitivity was cranked up.

*Yawn* (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41729089)

Don't we have trillion FPS cameras in development that can literally record light moving?

Re:*Yawn* (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year and a half ago | (#41730903)

No. We have cameras that given a repeatable event (say a pulsing laser) can take pictures of successive events with a very small offset in timing, giving the appearance of taking a video of a single event at a trillion FPS. Fire laser, take picture. Fire laser again, wait 1nS, take picture, etc. Very different than capturing a one-time event.

This isnt science or revealing. (5, Interesting)

xZoomerZx (1089699) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729617)

Not only is a variable being ignored its nearly the central reason for all the hoopla in this story. For all the millions of dollars wasted on major league players you would think that holding the main tool of the game properly would be a given but its not. Old timers from the dawn days of baseball knew this but it seems to have been forgotten sometime in the past 50 years. If these yahoos that call themselves pros really wanted to pound the ball they would learn how to hold the damn bat properly and not in such a way that it flexes excessively or breaks, both of which is an incomplete transference of the energy from batter to ball. The bat has a grain like all wood and this grain runs along the side of the bat at 90 degrees to the label. Holding the bat with the label up or down causes this area of bat to be the main contact area. "With the grain" the bat is much stronger and stiffer transferring more of the batters' energy to the ball and of course flying further. "Across the grain" the wood is weaker and more likely to flex or break as the fibers deform. No one has ever broken a bat "with the grain." In the bat breaking sequence you can clearly see the label is nearly square on to the direction of the pitch. The other vids aren't as easy to see the orientation of the bat but the excessive flex is telling. This "researcher" needs to find a player who knows how to hold the bat properly and repeat said observations. Then he will discover what the old timers who played in cornfields knew a century ago.

Old timers using maple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41730297)

Correct me if I'm wrong (although that would seem to go without saying), but what does an old timer using (most likely) an ash bat have to do with a young whipper snapper swinging maple? Don't they, I don't know, have different structure?

Could not use the Yankees (5, Funny)

transcender (888893) | about a year and a half ago | (#41729769)

The author originally wanted to use the New York Yankees as the focus... However, he was unable to capture enough examples of Yankee batters making contact with a baseball during the ALCS to complete the study.
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