Effects of temperature on a baseball pitch.
Temperature alone can shape the outcome of a baseball game as well as the performances of each participant. Suppose a team has been in its home environment for a home stand that is to last nine games. Assume the temperature has remained at 90 degrees for the first two series, or six games. Assume also that the final three games are with a division rival who is arriving to this team's stadium having come directly from a series in cooler temperatures of, say, 60 degrees. What the home team has been experiencing in 90-degree temperatures versus what the visiting team has been experiencing in 60-degree temperatures is depicted on the representation. This is the difference in ball movement on a pitch when 30-degree-cooler air is afforded the pitcher, all other factors being the same.
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This difference does not look or sound as though it would be diffult to adjust one's hitting to. Consider the following:
1) A baseball flying at over 90 mph reaches the plate in less than 1/2 second from the pitcher's release;
2) the hitter must put his body in position to swing while the ball is still at least 30 feet from the plate, and before he has determined if it will be a ball or strike;
3) if the pitch is a fastball, then its movement will be an upward deviation, which is an opposing force to the weight of the bat;
therefore, the hitter must deliberately begin his swing higher than for the pitches he has been hitting for the past several days. If his visual memory does not tell him to begin his swing higher, then it will take some time for him to adjust to even a 1/8 inch additional movement.
This representation was provided to Clifton Neeley by Paulin Research, Houston, Texas, Mr. Tony Paulin, PE. The program utilizes physics formulas from the Physics of Baseball by Dr. Robert Adair, as well as studies by doctoral program students and known formulas in the engineering and aeronautics industries. The depiction is similar to a point to point launch of a ballistic missile or other projectile, converted to match the cover, weight, shape, density and circumference of a spinning baseball projected through the properties of natural air. Sincere thanks to Mr. Tony Paulin.