Baseball Pitch Designed in the Lab

Posted on December 16, 2006  Comments (3)

Pitch Perfect

Five years ago, computer scientist Ryutaro Himeno was testing super-computers by modeling the fluid dynamics of airflow around baseballs. Himeno’s deconstruction of existing pitches led to a strange new one—whirling clockwise as it flew forward, the virtual ball curved as abruptly as its closest relative, the slider, but without sinking. Himeno met with Kazushi Tezuka, who runs baseball training centers in Tokyo and Osaka, and they ironed out the pitch’s mechanics.

As detailed in the books the pair has since authored, a gyroball calls for a complex flip of the fingers during release, ending with the thumb pointed down. At its most effective, the pitch breaks horizontally as it nears the batter, as though shrugging off gravity.

Gravity-Defying Baseball Pitch Ready for U.S. – an update on the article above. Details from the scientist (pdf)

3 Responses to “Baseball Pitch Designed in the Lab”

  1. CuriousCat: Engineering Sports at MIT
    April 29th, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

    “The MIT Sports Innovation program, though, was designed to give undergraduates hands-on research experience away from textbooks and classrooms…”

  2. Curious Cat: Science Based Triathlete
    July 24th, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

    “In a break with training orthodoxy, Potts and his coach have created a regimen called feedback training in which the training plan is reassessed every 24 hours based on the constant monitoring of three variables…”

  3. Darren
    July 25th, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    The gyroball has since become a source of lore within baseball. A few pitchers claim to throw it consistently, but there is no consensus that anyone ever has. Red Sox pitcher Dice-K Matsuzaka has been said to throw the pitch accidentally from time to time.

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