Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Longest Home Run Ever

ESPN’s John Brenkus did some calculations that would seemingly making hitting a home run in major league baseball a virtual impossibility.  I would say something is missing from his calculations.  He might agree.

A pitcher throwing a fastball at 99 mph will get the ball to home plate in 395 milliseconds.  It takes 400 milliseconds to blink. 
A lot has to happen in those 395 milliseconds. It takes the first 100 just for the batter to see the ball in free flight and get an image of it to his brain. If a decision is made to swing, the batter generally has a grand total of 150 milliseconds to get the bat around and through the strike zone.
There's more:
And even if his timing is perfect, he still has to put the “sweet spot” of the bat within an eighth of an inch of the correct spot on the ball. To give you an idea of the margin of error, the width of an average pencil is twice as big as the margin of error on a major league bat.
Most pitchers don't throw at 99 mph, but you get the idea.  And it makes Mickey Mantle's feat of hitting a 565-foot homer on April 17, 1953 all the more mind-boggling.

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