Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Can a baseball pitcher throw a true riser?

  1. May 25, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I have heard a couple of angles on this...so to speak. Is it possible to throw a baseball in such a way as to cause the ball to fall, and then rise due to aerodynamic lift? Baseball players will swear that they do.:wink:
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2003 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Can't be done. I remember a study done which calculated just how much spin/velocity it would take for a true "riser", and it is beyond human limits to through one. It is an opitical illusion. The batter's mind tends to "straighten out" the path of the pitch as it drops. When a Pitch is thrown that doesn't drop quite as fast, it appears to "rise".

    Another myth is that a ball hit with top spin will pick up speed when it hits the ground. What actually happens is that the ball just loses less speed than it normally would, again fooling the eye.

    Another good one is the idea that a corked bat will increase batting power.

    Some tests where done with corked and non-corked bats. It was found that in order for the extra springiness of the cork bat to do any good, the bat had to be securely clamped in a vise much more rigidly than it could be held in a human grip.

    The conclusion was that the advantage of the corked bat was simply in weight. The lighter bat sped up the swing of the batter, allowing him to wait longer on the pitches. He would have done just as well by just choosing a lighter bat.

    This doesn't mean I think batters caught using corked bats shouldn't be punished. After all, they did do it thinking that it was giving them an unfair advantage.
  4. May 25, 2003 #3
    Cool, I like that explanation!
    I'm taking your word for it 'cause I haven't any knowledge on this topic, though I had pondered over it a few times in the past. I had always heard that the players would swear it happens, and the physics-folks would swear it didn't happen. Much swearing seemed to be going on!
    My question is; surely these pitches have been filmed, what does the film show?
  5. May 25, 2003 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'd put my money on what the physics-folks are saying...
  6. May 25, 2003 #5
    Hehe, yes, I can see how my post gave the impression I doubted. I would definitely bet on the physics-folks rather than the eye of the player. Because I have only seen one or two baseball games in my entire life I was curious if such a thing could be seen on a monitor.
  7. May 25, 2003 #6
    Re: Re: Can a baseball pitcher throw a true riser?

    Depends upon how fast it is thrown.

    I can basically drop a ball on the ground and get it to move through spin.

    There are objects that you can get to dip and then rise.
  8. May 25, 2003 #7
    I mostly want to see what it looks like up close, if possible, and see if the camera catches the same view as the player. I was told that the raised edges of the baseball (where the stitching is) are what enables certain actions to take place. What can be done with a baseball?
  9. May 25, 2003 #8
    The truth reveals that it's not what can be done so much as what it can appear (to the batter) is being done.
  10. May 27, 2003 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There is no trouble with asking for experimental verification. That is the root of the scientific method. I would have to believe that such things have been filmed. Though it may take a high speed camera to catch the motion in detail.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Can a baseball pitcher throw a true riser?
  1. Is it not true (Replies: 7)

  2. Is this true? (Replies: 3)