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Thread: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

  1. #1
    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    Did anyone catch this? It was pretty interesting. They tested the following baseball "myths":

    *Whether corked bats actually hit a ball farther
    *Do balls stored "dry" travel farther than balls stored in a humidor
    *Can a fastball actually "rise"
    *Is it faster to slide into a base you can't overrun
    *Can a ball be hit so hard its cover is torn off

    Actually, the testing of the myths may've been more interesting than the results. Still, a good show.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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  3. #2
    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    that's a fun show, but I missed this episode.

    So, Nate, what were their conclusions?

  4. #3
    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    Do tell indeed.

    I'll still try to catch it this weekend.

    Boo bad pun.

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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    I love MythBusters - a great Sunday afternoon game to watch before/after a Bengals game - or when they are getting their butts kicked.
    I will be on the look out for this one.

  6. #5
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    Did they test the "myth" that chicks dig the long ball?

    I personally think they prefer rich ballplayers more...
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    -Humidors have a great effect in how far it travels (why that isnt cheating is beyond me)
    -Corking a bat gives you exactly half the pop off the bat as a normal bat (the cork absorbs the shock)
    -Sliding is faster than trying to run and stop
    -A baseball can't rise as there isnt enough lift against gravity
    -The cover can only come off if the ball is traveling near 400mph+

  8. #7
    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    I didn't want to "spoil" the results for anyone who hadn't seen the show so the answers will be after this image of Bill Evans:



    *Whether corked bats actually hit a ball farther

    BUSTED. Its basically a waste of time to do this because the corked section of the bat actually ABSORBS the impact and reduces momentum. They built a testing rig and found that an uncorked bat hit an incoming 80 mph pitch back out at 80 mph. The corked bat hit the same pitch back out at 40 mph.

    *Do balls stored "dry" travel farther than balls stored in a humidor

    PLAUSIBLE. They did a test with "humidified" balls, normal balls and then balls stored in an "arid" environment. Then they built a rig to hit the balls. The "arid" balls went farthest as a group, then the normal balls and finally the "humid" balls. The grouping was very clear.

    *Can a fastball actually "rise"

    BUSTED. Basically, for this to happen an inordinate amount of backspin has to be imparted on the ball. Humans just aren't capable of generating enough to make the ball actually rise. They _can_ give it enough backspin to keep it aloft _longer_ but not actually rise.

    *Is it faster to slide into a base you can't overrun

    PLAUSIBLE. They timed themselves sliding into 2nd several times and the result was if you didn't have to slow down to avoid overrunning the base, you would get there more quickly.

    *Can a ball be hit so hard its cover is torn off

    BUSTED. This was one of the coolest ones. They used the same rig they used to test the corked bats and dialed it up so that it was "pitching" at 400 mph! At _that_ speed, the cover could be torn from the ball. However, at even the best pitching speed, a human would be incapable of doing this.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  9. #8
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by smith288 View Post
    -Humidors have a great effect in how far it travels (why that isnt cheating is beyond me)
    -Corking a bat gives you exactly half the pop off the bat as a normal bat (the cork absorbs the shock)
    -Sliding is faster than trying to run and stop
    -A baseball can't rise as there isnt enough lift against gravity
    -The cover can only come off if the ball is traveling near 400mph+
    It was a pretty good episode. The batting robots were pretty cool.

    The humidor question is a good one. I actually approve of the use of humidors, if only because it can aid in standardizing the effect humidity has on the ball in different regions. In addition to Coors Field's altitude effect, dry air also has an effect on the ball. The experiment showed that drier balls fly the farthest, followed by balls kept in moderate humidity, with balls kept in high humidity flying the least. If you think about it, places out west like Denver and Arizona are much drier in the summer than the humid cities of the Midwest and the South. They've supposedly approved use of humidors in all cities this season, and the reason I suspect has to do with a desire to keep balls at a consistent humidity across the country. It might help lessen the difference in park effects, at least for some cities.
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  10. #9
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    Wasnt there a massive thread debating sliding v running through a base a ways back? I tink someone called it the Redszoniest thread ever.

    Who was on the wrong side of that debate ?
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

  11. #10
    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    Wasnt there a massive thread debating sliding v running through a base a ways back? I tink someone called it the Redszoniest thread ever.

    Who was on the wrong side of that debate ?
    Was it about sliding into 1st instead of running through though? That's a totally different argument and worthy of RedsZonia...

  12. #11
    You know his story Redsland's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    I didn't see the episode, so maybe they addressed the following nit, but the corked bat myth has another component to it that doesn't appear to have been tackled.

    Yes, the cork interior would absorb impact forces and reduce the speed of the ball off the bat, all things being equal. I think we'd agree that this is intuitive. But the reasoning for putting the cork in there in the first place is to make the bat lighter in weight, and therefore allow a batter with a given amount of strength to swing the lighter bat faster than he could a heavier bat. The faster bat speed is supposed to allow the batter an extra split-second to make his swing/no swing decision, and allow more time to square up the ball. Also, the faster bat speed is supposed to compensate for the reduced weight of the bat, since F=ma.

    If the Mythbusters' rig swung the two bats at the same speed, then of course the corked one would hit the ball less far. The rig needed to be built in a such a way as to be able to take advantage of the weight difference between the two bats and swing one harder than the other in order to truly test this myth. If that didn't happen, then this myth really hasn't been busted or confirmed.
    Makes all the routine posts.

  13. #12
    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsland View Post
    I didn't see the episode, so maybe they addressed the following nit, but the corked bat myth has another component to it that doesn't appear to have been tackled.

    Yes, the cork interior would absorb impact forces and reduce the speed of the ball off the bat, all things being equal. I think we'd agree that this is intuitive. But the reasoning for putting the cork in there in the first place is to make the bat lighter in weight, and therefore allow a batter with a given amount of strength to swing the lighter bat faster than he could a heavier bat. The faster bat speed is supposed to allow the batter an extra split-second to make his swing/no swing decision, and allow more time to square up the ball. Also, the faster bat speed is supposed to compensate for the reduced weight of the bat, since F=ma.

    If the Mythbusters' rig swung the two bats at the same speed, then of course the corked one would hit the ball less far. The rig needed to be built in a such a way as to be able to take advantage of the weight difference between the two bats and swing one harder than the other in order to truly test this myth. If that didn't happen, then this myth really hasn't been busted or confirmed.
    I understand your argument and no, they didn't make a rig that used the same force to swing the two different bats. However, do you think the the faster swing of a lighter bat would make up for and exceed ('cos that's the point, really) the absorption of the cork?
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    However, do you think the the faster swing of a lighter bat would make up for and exceed ('cos that's the point, really) the absorption of the cork?
    I haven't seen the show or anything but bat speed is really the number one trait in a good swing. How do you think KGJ hit so many homers early in his career when he really didn't have too much upper body muscle? He had exceptional bat speed.

    I'm not really sure either how much weight it takes off but just from personal experience a 26 oz bat vs a 30 oz bat feels like a huge difference. I'm willing to bet that it exceeds the absorption of the cork pretty easily (but nothing scientific to back that up).

  15. #14
    You know his story Redsland's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    However, do you think the the faster swing of a lighter bat would make up for and exceed ('cos that's the point, really) the absorption of the cork?
    I would think that the ball would come off the corked bat "softer," but that the batter may be able to hit the ball more squarely/more accurately, due to the increased reaction time. Maybe. If that's the case, then a corked bat might help a Hal Morris-type hitter. Maybe.
    Makes all the routine posts.

  16. #15
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Mythbusters Baseball Episode

    I can't wait for one of the "I played the game" commentators to come in and say they're wrong about one of the things they tested.
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