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Additionally, the batter's momentary decisions on speed, location, spin, and game situation are further complicated by his having already built up a precise image of the strike zone, or whether the pitch will be called strike or ball if he doesn't swing. It's a matter of centimeters in the brain's visualization.

Spin is analyzed by noting the movement of the narrow red seams (stitching) on the ball. Good batters can tell if it's a 2-seam or 4-seam fastball, cut fastball, split finger fastball, hard or soft slider (including the back door variety), hard or soft curve, or even a knuckleball, which may or may not be spinning at all, or going backwards. Clear?

Further, the batter must not be impeded in his movements by the hard plastic cup protecting the family jewels, which is why the batter often "adjusts" same. and while it is essential to have a moist mouth, too much moisture can affect the concentration, thus the infamous spitting.

In the old days, getting rid of excess chewing tobacco juice before stepping into the box was essential. It is now absurd to watch grown men, especially with Boston Beards stolen from the Amish, blowing pink bubbles. But that's another story.

Spitting on the catcher's spikes (shoes) was not illegal, although the next pitch was likely to be sent at your head (Chin Music). Thus the catcher's spikes remained free of tobacco juice.

Ummm, almost forgot. The batter also carries images of the particular pitcher's different pitches in his brain... as well as strategic tendencies.

and some players hit better under artificial lighting in night games as opposed to traditional day games, and verse vica.

Also, the batter is blocking out the fans behind the plate yelling, "Swing, rabbit ears!"

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 03:26:48 PM EST
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Of course, that's not all. some pitchers throw with the right hand, and some with the left. Changes everything.

Also, some pitchers can throw different pitches from the same arm angle and release point. Or they can vary the arm angle.

I forgot to mention the change-up, which is a ball thrown from the fastball position but isn't fast. In fact, it's 20-40 kmh slower. has been known to upset timing.

Also, fastballs can appear to rise, or hop. they can also tail away. they can also hit you. hard.

Heavy fastballs can sink. There is no evidence that fastballs can violate the laws of physics by increasing speed, but those that do in the batter's eyes, are called "exploding" fastballs.

And for those readers not yet glazed over, don't forget that every swing is not at all the same, as the batter's hands are changing the swing to meet the changing point of impact at some appropriate moment. Pitchers like to get "under" a batter's hands.

Plus the pitcher is sending brain voodoo to the batter up to the release point and beyond, which is hard to study empirically. While the batter is telling the pitcher he's got him, "Bring it, Meat."

Plus the swing and appropriate batted ball trajectory has to impress The Baseball Annie sitting in the 7th row of section 132.

It's all so damn complicated.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 04:02:19 PM EST
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Now officially 4 hours until first pitch of Game Six of the World Series including the US and Toronto. Perhaps i should undertake to investigate the number of baseball players who were good at chess.

PS. I have always said that baseball is the supreme mixture of chess and athleticism, with a dollop of ballet thrown in for the graces. Plus, it's played on the perfect diamond sutra.

we'll see if they still pitch to Ortiz tonight.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 04:12:01 PM EST
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The good thing about baseball is there's 100 years of statistics to go back and argue about...
by asdf on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 04:18:20 PM EST
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And the game is better because of Sabrmetric analysis, fersure. (Like your swing rate analysis, which is partly due to laser positioning and analysis of every single damn pitch.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 04:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sailboat racers say the same thing. "Ooh, the rules are so complicated, and you have to have a good strategy." "And the actions of the other boats mean you have to make instantaneous tactical decisions based on many factors." "And you have to be an athlete."

Baseball is mostly about standing around in the summer sun...

by asdf on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 04:22:00 PM EST
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"Baseball is mostly about standing around in the summer sun..."

so there's time to analyze what you're going to do on the various possibilities with each pitch, at the plate or in the field, fixing the possibilities in your head, and then being ready to explode.

the fielders' short twitch muscles are already moving just before the crack of the bat, after analyzing pitch and swing (and runner's potential speed) from the field.

Plus, that gives one time to mark his/her scorecard, and have another swig.

enjoy the game 6 tonight, asdf. 1:07AM first pitch. wheee.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 04:49:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Maybe it's time for a baseball diary ? :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 04:54:26 PM EST
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"The fielders' short twitch muscles are already moving just before the crack of the bat, after analyzing pitch and swing (and runner's potential speed) from the field."

Well, or they are standing out there lounging around for 15 minutes while the pitcher and batter try to outwit each other...

by asdf on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 05:24:36 PM EST
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Haha Red Sox FTW!
by asdf on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 11:31:33 PM EST
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